Trump & Pompeo Hit With Federal Criminal Complaint

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The government watchdog group known as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed a criminal complaint targeting former President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, alleging that all three were involved in violations of the Hatch Act. As explained by CREW, a “criminal provision of the Hatch Act prohibits public officers from using their official authority to interfere with or affect the nomination or election of a candidate for federal office,” but that’s exactly what Trump, Pompeo, and Wolf seem to have been involved with during the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election.

CREW cites incidents including Pompeo’s recording of a speech for the 2020 Republican National Convention while on official travel in Israel and Wolf’s involvement in a naturalization ceremony at the White House from which footage was later aired as part of that GOP convention. The ceremony, it’s worth noting, had been rescheduled to line up more closely with the Republican gathering. The Office of Special Counsel, which is an independent oversight agency within the federal government, has already concluded that Pompeo’s and Wolf’s actions violated certain provisions of the Hatch Act, but with their criminal complaint, CREW is seeking a determination of whether violations that could lead to criminal charges were committed.

As for Trump’s involvement in the matters, CREW notes that there’s “evidence suggesting that Trump likely used his presidential authority to effectuate Pompeo’s and Wolf’s breaking the law in order to promote his own reelection efforts.” As CREW President Noah Bookbinder put it:

‘President Trump laid the foundation for these and other Hatch Act violations by consistently refusing to hold top officials accountable for even the most flagrant and clear-cut violations. The actions that Trump, Pompeo, and Wolf took around the Republican National Convention were part of a broad-based effort to illegally use the powers of the government to secure Trump’s reelection.’

Bookbinder added that “Trump made a mockery of federal ethics law, and Mike Pompeo and Chad Wolf helped him do it,” insisting that if “the law is to have any meaning, it is absolutely essential that the Department of Justice take action to ensure accountability and prevent this from becoming a pattern for future administrations.”

The Department of Justice has, among other politically high-profile proceedings, been dealing with hundreds of criminal cases tied to the Capitol riot, including hundreds of individuals who’ve been criminally charged for assaulting and/or impeding police officers. It remains to be seen whether Justice Department officials decide to bring charges against ex-Trump official Mark Meadows for contempt of Congress after the House referred him for prosecution over his refusal to abide by a subpoena from the Capitol riot investigation committee. Read more here.