These are the eight federal laws Donald Trump may have broken that could land him in serious trouble

Tom Fenton

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These are the eight federal laws Donald Trump may have broken that could land him in serious trouble

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The reasoning for the FBI's raid on Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate may have been linked to a possible violation of the Espionage Act, but the alleged rap sheet against him may not end there.

Alongside the alleged federal crime of mishandling classified documents, the former US president could also be charged for abuses linked to the 6 January insurrection.

In fact, Trump may have violated as many as eight federal laws in total.

Credit: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

While it's not yet known how many he'll end up being charged with, the 76-year-old is being investigated for his alleged efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election - which he lost to Joe Biden.

The Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot have used public hearings to try and build a case that Trump violated at least five federal laws related to the 2021 incident.

Here are the eight violations that the former Apprentice USA star has potentially committed.


Violation of the Espionage Act

We begin with the most clearcut, as in the search warrant for Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, the Espionage Act was explicitly mentioned.

He will have violated this law if he is found to have gathered, transmitted, or lost information pertaining to national security.

Signed into law in 1917, the Act was introduced to try and protect US military secrets from falling into the wrong hands.

Since its introduction, Soviet spies, and most recently whistle-blowers like Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden have been charged under the Act for revealing state secrets. Anyone found guilty under the Espionage Act generally faces imprisonment.

Concealment, removal or mutilation of records

The Justice Department is also reportedly investigating whether Trump violated two criminal statutes in his alleged attempt to conceal or remove records.

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman had previously reported that Trump allegedly ripped up and flushed sensitive documents in the toilet.


Obstructing an official proceeding

One of the harder federal crimes to prove against Trump would be this, as prosecutors would need clear proof that he attempted to prevent the 2020 election from being certified on January 6.

They could potentially point to his pressuring of former Vice President Mike Pence as evidence of him trying to impede an official proceeding.


Wire Fraud

Under US law, wire fraud is committed if a person intends to defraud or obtain money through false pretences. This is what Trump and his team are alleged to have done in raising $250 million from supports for the 2020 presidential campaign.

In the House select committee on Jan 6, it was revealed in fundraiser emails that Trump's associates wanted to use that money to create a fund to legally challenge the 2020 election result.

According to Trump, US law enforcement was to blame for his absence at the Capitol riots. Credit: Alamy
According to Trump, US law enforcement was to blame for his absence at the Capitol riots. Credit: Alamy

Witness Tampering

Another incredibly serious potential violation of the law involves witness tampering. The January 6 committee asserts that Trump and his associates attempted to call a witness to the riot.

If proven, it would appear to be a cut and dry case of witness tampering.

Representative Liz Cheney, who is vice-chair of the Jan 6 committee, recounted what the witness told her: "What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I'm on the team, I'm doing the right thing, I'm protecting who I need to protect, you know, I'll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World."


Conspiracy to defraud the government

Another violation that would be tricky to pin on the former president is conspiracy to defraud the government, as prosecutors would have to prove that he knowingly tried to overturn a completely fair election in 2020.

Proving intent is always tough, although the Jan 6 committee claims to have proof that Team Trump did engage in 'a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States'.


Inciting a rebellion

The most outlandish charge that could be levelled against Trump is that he incited a rebellion on January 6, by tacitly - or otherwise - attempting to incite violence against the government.

For this to stick, prosecutors would need to prove beyond any semblance of doubt, that the former Commander-in-Chief knew well in advance that violence would occur at Capitol Hill that day.

A former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified before the January 6 committee that Trump allegedly knew his supporters were armed.

"I don't effing care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in," she alleges Trump said on the day of the insurrection.

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Topics: Politics, Donald Trump, US News, Crime, Joe Biden, Celebrity

Tom Fenton
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