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The many investigations surrounding Donald Trump: Jan. 6, Mar-a-Lago, taxes and more

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Sept. 3.
Mary Altaffer
/
AP
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Sept. 3.

Updated September 22, 2022 at 4:48 PM ET

New York Attorney General Leticia James announced Wednesday that former President Trump and his children, Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr., are facing a civil suit alleging at least a decade of fraud.

James alleges that Trump has inflated his net worth by billions of dollars; she's asking that Trump and his children get restricted from doing business in New York and is seeking $250 million in damages.

The suit comes after a three-year long investigation and includes more than 200 examples of what James says is fraud. It's a civil case, but James also said she believes Trump violated state and federal criminal laws, and sent a referral to the Department of Justice.

Trump responded to the suit on social media, calling it "another witch hunt."

On top of that, there are still other ongoing investigations into Trump and his businesses.

Authorities have several open on the former president, including a Department of Justice criminal investigation regarding documents Trump held at Mar-a-Lago and his actions leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

These investigations brew as Trump weighs another presidential run. The political consequences of the probes are unclear, as are how, or whether, they will impact his decision.

Here are is a recap of some of the investigations involving Trump.

White House documents

The Department of Justice is conducting a criminal investigation into Trump's handling of classified documents. The FBI seized documents from his Florida estate in August. The legal back-and-forth has become more drawn out as a federal judge has agreed to Trump's request to appoint a special master to review the documents.

The investigation was somewhat on hold when the Trump-appointed judge, Aileen Cannon, ruled that the FBI could not access the documents for their investigation until the special master reviewed them. But the DOJ appealed that decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

On Wednesday night, a three-judge panel of the court ruled against Cannon and said the department could continue using the classified documents in their investigation.

Trump continues to insist that he declassified the sensitive documents, but the 11th Circuit court said there's no evidence of that.

The questions over how Trump has handled the documents goes back to February, when the National Archives and Records Administration said they retrieved 15 boxes of White House documents from Mar-a-Lago. They say it was a violation of the Presidential Records Act, since those records should have been at the National Archives. Attorney General Merrick Garland said at the time they included classified material.

There's also a potential violation of a federal statute that dictates how classified material is handled. The Washington Post reported that many of the records were taped together or arrived back at the Archives still in pieces. The records contained letters from foreign leaders like Kim Jong Un and the letter former President Obama wrote to Trump when he came into office in 2017.

The Jan. 6 Capitol riot and the attempt to overturn the 2020 election

The ongoing House Select Committee investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol riot has shown Trump's involvement in trying to deny the results of the 2020 presidential election and turn them in his favor.

While the House committee can't prosecute Trump, it can decide to make referrals to do so. The Department of Justice could, though, as part its probe into what happened on Jan. 6. So far, the department has charged more than 870 people, and it's investigating those who backed political rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack.

"We will hold accountable anyone who was criminally responsible for attempting to interfere with the transfer, legitimate, lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next," Garland told NBC News in July.

Also revealed in the House committee's investigation is that Trump and his campaign misled campaign donors who gave money to fight Trump's false claims of election fraud. The committee says the former president's campaign took in $250 million in donations for a legal defense fund that was never created. It's possible that Trump could face charges of wire fraud.

After taking part of the summer off, the committee will hold another hearing on Sept. 28, the ninth, and possibly last, hearing on its investigation.

Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) has said the they will release a final report by the end of the year. The committee is weighing whether to release an interim report in the meantime.

Meanwhile, Trump is facing another investigation on the state level. In Fulton County, Ga., the District Attorney Fani Willis is looking into whether Trump violated the law in attempting to overturn the 2020 Georgia election results, specifically when he called Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and asked him to "find" enough votes for him.

Republicans in other states, including Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, also sent in fake elector results and it could be another pathway that leads the DOJ close to Trump.

Trump's tax returns

The Manhattan District Attorney's office, as part of that criminal investigation, was able to obtain Trump's tax returns in 2021 after a lengthy legal battle.

Now, after years of requesting, the House Ways and Means Committee will also be able to obtain Trump's tax returns from the IRS, according to a court opinion. Trump may still appeal, but the committee says they are confident they will get the documents quickly.

It's not so much an investigation as a legal ruling, but Trump is the only president in the last 40 years to not release his taxes, and the documents have been sought after by legislators and voters since he announced his run for the White House in 2015.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Deepa Shivaram
Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.
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