A greater legal threat than Mueller
The prosecutors who pose the biggest legal threat to President Trump may not be working for special counsel Robert Mueller, said Darren Samuelsohn. As Mueller continues to dig into evidence of Russian collusion, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) is aggressively pursuing several broader investigations into Trump’s activities. The SDNY, which has been nicknamed “the Sovereign District” for its feisty independence, has jurisdiction over Trump’s New York–based campaign operation and businesses—“subjects that aren’t protected by executive privilege.” In an investigation of Trump’s pre-election payoffs to a porn star and a Playboy model, the SDNY has already stated in court papers that the president took part in a crime. It recently demanded the financial records from Trump’s inaugural committee, as prosecutors explore whether there were illegal foreign donations or an exchange of favors for money. The SDNY has recruited a “perfect storm of witnesses,” including Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, and deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates. Trump has reportedly raged to his aides and lawyers about the SDNY, but is largely powerless to stop them. He has good reason to be worried.