RICO… Four Letter Trump Should Fear the Most
One of the main sources for the following content is Andrew McCabe’s book The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, which I highly recommend for everyone to read.
RICO stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which was passed by Congress in 1970 and made it easier for law enforcement to prosecute organized crime and prevent it from infiltrating legitimate businesses. It is especially important because it allows for the leaders of organized crime to be charged for the crimes they ordered others to commit. For example, if one of the head of the Five Families orders someone to be killed, both the killer and the head of the family who gave the order can be indicted for the same crime. Prior to the passage of RICO, it was very difficult for law enforcement to target and arrest those at the top of the mafia families and other elements of organized crime. Al Capone was put in prison for tax evasion, not murder. As Andrew McCabe stated:
“Each member of a group who participated in a pattern of racketeering activity could bear the full weight of responsibility for all the acts conducted by the organization That law was why Rudy Giuliani was so effective when he was with the SDNY targeting Cosa Nostra in the 1980s, which is also one of many reasons why Trump keeps Giuliani so close to him now, especially now that State of New York can see his taxes and financial records.
While criminal investigations usually target people and individual criminal charges, RICO allows for an entire organization and enterprise to be prosecuted, which is why all RICO cases must be approved by the Department of Justice given their severity. Given the Trump Family’s longstanding ties with the mafia in the United States and organized crime around the world, it is at least worth asking and speculating if the Trump Organization is under such an investigation with or without Attorney General William Barr’s obstruction efforts.
One of the key components is establishing that such a criminal enterprise and organization exists, which investigative methods like surveillance, talking to witnesses, and using human sources on the ground to gather information. Unfortunately for Trump, the Trump Organization is right there for all to see if it is the target of such an investigation. Should the Trump Organization be involved in activities such as money laundering, which will be discussed in future blogs, Trump himself can be held responsible. Two great agencies that handle RICO cases are the SDNY, which William Barr has tried to obstruct countless times, and the FBI whose agents Trump has referred to as “scum” (as all innocent people with no connections to organized crime do).
Once proof that the enterprise exists is established, the next step is to prove each member participated in some type of racketeering crime. Examples of such crime include bribery, counterfeiting, money laundering, tax evasion, robbery, drug trafficking, and murder.
In 1998, Andrew McCabe’s FBI team became one of the first to use RICO against Russian organized crime (in case anyone was wondering why Trump targeted McCabe so aggressively and desperately). In 1999, the FBI helped shut down a Russian money laundering scheme that operated through the Bank of New York and was worth around seven billion dollars. Another Russian gangster tracked down was by McCabe was Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, who was later indicted by the SDNY under Preet Bharara for running an illegal gambling operation out of Trump Tower. The gambling ring had over $100 million in laundered money and Bharara was fired from the SDNY by Trump shortly after his inauguration. Tokhtakhounov was also a VIP guest at the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.
The potential for RICO charges to be brought by prosecutors against Trump and the Trump Organization is real and Trump losing today vs the State of New York and the House of Representatives eventually being able to see his taxes will show not only how deep Trump was tied to the very same Russians who attacked our democracy in 2016, but whether the operation was expansive enough with organized crime to bring RICO charges against him and potentially his three oldest children. Why Ivanka signed a proffer agreement with Mueller or even talked to Mueller remains to be seen, along with why he keeps Kushner in the White House remains the mystery. But as the truth slowly comes out, RICO will be four letters that every American should keep their eyes on and pay attention to because when organized crime took over our democracy in 2016, it took all its illegal activities and enterprises to Washington with it.
Ask yourself this, if Trump supporters were telling Muslims in 2016 that they should be willing to be entered into a database if they had nothing to hide, why should Trump not show his taxes if he has nothing to hide? Why is there a different standard on that issue?
We will find out all the answers soon. Justice is often slow, but it is coming and with a vengeance.