This week has already delivered two new developments in the galaxy of alleged and demonstrated criminality that surrounds former president Donald Trump.
This expansion of the Trumpworld legal universe pales in comparison to last week’s dramatic development, of course: the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. But it’s a reminder of the scale of alleged and proven criminal conduct that has surrounded Trump since he first announced his candidacy in June 2015.
The scale is large enough that it’s useful to set some boundaries should one hope to map that universe out. So let’s set aside Trumpworld figures like Dinesh D’Souza, whose 2018 pardon from Trump was less a function of adjacency to the president than involvement in the broader conservative ecosystem. Let’s also ignore Trump backers who’ve faced prosecution, like early supporter and former congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif).
We can even set aside people closer to Trump who received pardons, like Jared Kushner’s father or Kushner’s former business partner Ken Kurson. Nor will we include those accused of aiding Trump’s effort to retain power after his 2020 election loss like attorney John Eastman or former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark. They may yet face charges, but the Justice Department’s seizure of their phones may not herald an imminent indictment.
That leaves us with 14 figures from Trumpworld — including the president — who have been charged with crimes, are the subjects of investigation, have been convicted or pleaded guilty and/or have been pardoned by the former president.
Let’s review the cast of characters, starting with the man at the middle …
Donald Trump. President. Focus of at least one federal investigation centered on his retention of government documents. No current indictments.
The 2016 campaign
Stephen K. Bannon. CEO of Trump’s 2016 campaign. Accused of defrauding donors in a border-wall construction scheme. Later convicted on contempt of Congress charges. Pardoned by Trump on fraud charges. Awaiting sentencing on contempt.
Rick Gates. Deputy chairman of the 2016 campaign. Pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and conspiring to conceal millions of dollars earned through foreign lobbying. Sentenced to 45 days in prison, suspended early in the pandemic.
Corey Lewandowski. Manager of the 2016 campaign. Charged with battery after grabbing a reporter at a Trump property in Florida. Charges were dropped.
Paul Manafort. Chairman of the 2016 campaign. Convicted of fraud by a jury. Pleaded guilty to two federal conspiracy counts. Served less than two years in prison before being released during the pandemic. Pardoned by Trump after the election.
George Papadopoulos. 2016 Campaign adviser. Pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators. Sentenced to 14 days, which he served.
Michael Cohen. Attorney for Trump. Pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, lying to Congress and fraud charges. Sentenced to three years in prison. Served a year before being released to home confinement during the pandemic.
Michael Flynn. Trump’s first national security adviser. Pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators. Pardoned by Trump.
Peter Navarro. Former Trump administration official. Indicted on contempt of Congress charges. Awaiting trial.
If the past two weeks have taught us anything, it’s that this list should not be considered final.