On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that Donald Trump must face impeachment in a defamation lawsuit filed by E. Jean Carroll, a woman who says Trump raped her in the 1990s.
“The defendant should not be allowed to run out the clock on the plaintiff’s attempt to obtain a remedy for what was allegedly a serious wrong,” the judge wrote.
Trump has denied Carroll’s claim.
The ruling is the latest in a series of legal setbacks for Trump in recent months, which come even as the former president appears poised for a third presidential run in 2024.
* New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a massive civil fraud suit against Trump as well as his three oldest children, alleging that they “defrauded lenders, insurance companies and tax authorities by inflating the value of his properties using misleading appraisals, ” according to CNN reporting. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
* As of last month, the Manhattan district attorney’s office was still investigating the Trump Organization’s finances. “The investigation is ongoing,” District Attorney Alvin Bragg told reporters.
* The Justice Department is investigating Trump’s retention of various classified materials after leaving the presidency. As recently as last week, DOJ officials made it clear that, despite conducting a search at Mar-a-Lago in August, they do not believe they have collected all of the classified documents in Trump’s possession.
* The Department of Justice also continues to investigate the January 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol. Last month, the DOJ issued more than 30 subpoenas to people in Trump’s inner circle in connection with the ongoing investigation.
* Fulton County (Georgia) District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating Trump’s role in trying to overturn the 2020 election results in the state of Georgia. CNN recently reported that she could begin issuing charges related to the investigation as early as December.
It is, yes, a lot. If past is prologue, Trump’s approach will be to delay on all fronts – hoping to muddy the legal waters over time. Which means he could well make a decision about whether to run for president again with at least some of these legal issues hanging over his head.
The point: Trump’s political path to the next Republican nomination is far clearer than his legal one.