12:35 GMT05 August 2021
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    On 1 July, a New York prosecutor hit the Trump Organisation and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, with a 15-count indictment, accusing them of "sweeping and audacious" tax fraud. What's behind the latest attack against the former president?

    The charges announced on Thursday are the first criminal indictment against the former President Donald Trump's namesake company since the investigation was launched by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance three years ago. Responding to the charges, Trump Organisation CFO Allen Weisselberg pleaded not guilty, while the ex-president denounced the prosecution as a "witch hunt."

    'Witch Hunt' and 'Hit Job'

    "'No one is above the law,' is a widely known American axiom that speaks to the heart of our justice system which is to be blind and balanced," says Marc Little, conservative political commentator and lawyer. "However, in the past five years, that axiom has eroded as we have witnessed open crimes by America’s political elites, like Hunter Biden and the Black Lives Matter mobsters, who not only escape scrutiny, but also escape prosecution. Justice in America has become political which is a dark omen for sustainability and anarchy."

    The lawyer points out that New York Attorney General Letitia James, who has partnered with District Attorney Cyrus Vance against Trump, "ran her campaign on the narrative that she would investigate and prosecute Donald Trump without first identifying whether a crime had been committed." This is clear evidence that the attorneys have weaponised their powers against Trump and anyone associated with him. 

    The attack on the Trump Organisation is yet another example of the US establishment's "hit job" attempts aimed to oust Trump from the American political arena, including groundless claims that he colluded with Russia and two impeachment proceedings, according to Pastor Mark Burns, an evangelical preacher and former Republican candidate for South Carolina's 4th congressional district seat.

    "This is really a witch hunt," Burns says. "The moment that President Trump declared his candidacy for president back in 2015 and I was there, this has been an unfair target against him and his family and any entity, including myself, simply for being close to President Donald Trump and his vision for America."
    Former U.S. President Donald Trump tosses out a hat during his first post-presidency campaign rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington, Ohio, U.S., June 26, 2021
    © REUTERS / SHANNON STAPLETON
    Former U.S. President Donald Trump tosses out a hat during his first post-presidency campaign rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington, Ohio, U.S., June 26, 2021

    As Trump emerges as the leading candidate to oppose the Democratic nominee for the 2024 presidential election, his political opponents are after him again, according to the pastor. The Thursday indictment came on the heels of Trump's Ohio rally and the former president's trip to the US-Mexican frontier amid the unfolding border crisis. The two events prompted a great deal of enthusiasm among his supporters, even though the ex-president has not yet announced whether he will throw the hat in the ring in 2024.

    "[The indictment is] 100 percent politically motivated, because the Left wants to take the focus off of how Joe Biden is destroying America with his weak policies and endangering American lives with open borders," echoes John Di Lemme, political commentator and founder of the Conservative Business Journal.
     In this Jan. 28, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump accompanied by, from second from left, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, White House press secretary Sean Spicer and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington
    © AP Photo / Andrew Harnik
    In this Jan. 28, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump accompanied by, from second from left, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, White House press secretary Sean Spicer and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington

    Trump & His Aides Have Been Chased Throughout His Presidency

    It is not the first time when the president and his associates have been targeted, Little highlights: "America’s far Left political leaders began their take-down effort when Donald Trump descended the escalator with his wife in Trump Tower in 2015." 

    He refers to the Trump-Russia investigation and, particularly, to the FBI falsification of documents to get a renewed FISA warrant to spy on Carter Page and through this link on the whole Trump campaign. The bureau also failed to hand over records of Page's conversations with the bureau's informer Stefan Halper to the FISA court, which could potentially exonerate the Trump aide, according to documents released by Just the News on 26 January.

    To complicate matters further the original FISA was largely based on uncorroborated ex-MI6 agent Chistopher Steele's "dirty" dossier. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation failed to confirm any of Steele's unverified claims and admitted that there had been no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

    FILE - This Tuesday, March 7, 2017 file photo shows Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who set up Orbis Business Intelligence and compiled a dossier on Donald Trump, in London
    © AP Photo / Victoria Jones
    FILE - This Tuesday, March 7, 2017 file photo shows Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who set up Orbis Business Intelligence and compiled a dossier on Donald Trump, in London
    "The presidency of Donald Trump has shed light on the politically motivated Department of Justice and state prosecutors who respectively raided the home and office of Roger Stone and former United States Associate Attorney General and former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani – both men were allies of the former president," says Little.

    Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was also caught in the FBI and DoJ's crosshairs. According to Flynn's legal team, the DoJ intentionally hid "exculpatory evidence" which could potentially exonerate the defendant of guilt.

    ​Flynn's lawyer Sidney Powell also exposed apparent attempts by FBI agents to edit records of their interview with Flynn in order to implicate him. As ex-FBI Director James Comey later acknowledged, he "sent" FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka to interview General Flynn in breach of all White House's protocols. 

    ​"That political agenda haunted the former president throughout his entire presidency with the disproven Russian collusion witch hunt while ignoring their own public crime of collusion in Ukraine with the current president Joe Biden. It is a sad day for justice in America where a political agenda tips the scales of justice," Little underscores.

    Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg is escorted as he attends his arraignment hearing in the New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., July 1, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
    ANDREW KELLY
    Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg is escorted as he attends his arraignment hearing in the New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., July 1, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

    'Trump's Name is Getting Larger'

    According to Reuters, the indictment could potentially undermine the Trump Organisation's relationships with banks and business partners, and hinder Trump's 2024 bid as the GOP resumes addressing rallies and prepares for a 2024 White House race.

    "If the probe is successful and reaches the former president personally, it could impact any calculation he may have to run for president again in 2024," admits Little.

    At the same time, however, observers are pinning hopes on the viability of Trump's brand: "If four years of investigation by the world’s most venerable intelligence agencies did not take the former president down while in office, it is highly unlikely that the levers of New York corruption will succeed either," Little suggests.
    Former U.S. President Donald Trump exits the stage after visiting an unfinished section of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border with Texas Governor Greg Abbott in Pharr, Texas, U.S. June 30, 2021.
    © REUTERS / CALLAGHAN O'HARE
    Former U.S. President Donald Trump exits the stage after visiting an unfinished section of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border with Texas Governor Greg Abbott in Pharr, Texas, U.S. June 30, 2021.

    "The president is clearly a cat of nine lives. I mean, he has more than nine lives. He has 20 billion lives because they've been attacking him from day one," echoes Burns.

    The pastor notes that despite vicious attacks by the mainstream media, Donald Trump "keeps moving forward" and "keeps ticking." According to Burns, the MSM attempts to vilify the president actually produce an opposite effect.

    "[Trump's] name is getting larger," he says. "The following is getting larger. We're expanding the Trump movement. It is not going to be larger than it was in 2016 because it is clear that the mainstream media and the machine, we call it the swamp here in America, has turned their target towards the Trump family. And again, this family, I believe, is the heart of America. They love Americans. They want all Americans to be successful just like they have become and they're utilising policies and to refute propaganda."

    Related:

    US Attorney General Temporarily Halts Federal Executions Amid Review of Trump-Era Policies
    Trump Organization CFO Expected to Plead Not Guilty
    Trump Organization, CFO Indicted in Tax Investigation
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    US, Donald Trump, New York, Letitia James, Indictment, Russiagate, Carter Page, Michael Flynn, FBI, DOJ
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