Collins: Feel free to fantasize about Trump behind bars

In this Dec. 31, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump arrives on the South Lawn of the White House, in Washington. New York prosecutors have convened a special grand jury to consider evidence in a criminal investigation into Trump's business dealings, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Tuesday, May 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

So many investigations, people.

"This is a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history," Donald Trump said, complaining about the multiple probes into his business practices.

That was in an online statement practically no one seems to have read. Truly, of all the former president's problems, his greatest woe has to be that Twitter ban.

But Trump is getting a lot of attention on the non-fan front. Here in New York he just lost an 18-month battle to keep the Manhattan district attorney from peeping at his financial records. As we all know, Trump is an absolute shrinking violet when it comes to his tax returns, and he made two trips to the Supreme Court trying to keep them out of the hands of anybody with the power of subpoena.

In Georgia, prosecutors are investigating Trump's post-election call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. You'll remember the one in which he asked Raffensperger to "find" him some more votes. It does seem possible the Donald is going to spend the rest of his life struggling to stay out of jail, doesn't it?


The Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance Jr., has reportedly convened a grand jury that'll be looking into Trumpian ... issues. The whole probe could take six months and readers, I want you to send out a couple of good thoughts every now and then to those grand jury members. How many times have you rejoiced that you don't have to think about Donald Trump every single day anymore? How would you feel about half a year of constant contemplation?

Vance is now working with the state attorney general, Letitia James, who has been investigating - among multitudinous other things - a $25 million tax deduction Trump took for a failed housing development project in California.

If Trump has any genuine business acumen, it's been his ability to simultaneously present himself as a real estate genius for the purpose of bank loans while also claiming massive business losses when he's dealing with the Internal Revenue Service.

But be fair: You could certainly make a lot of good arguments for Trump's being a loser. If any of his business has survived, it's at least in part because you the taxpayer were helping to bail him out by paying Trump properties for rooms the Secret Service rented while guarding the Trumps.

It's possible that the only part of the real estate business Trump is actually any good at is finding ways to bill the taxpayer for this kind of stuff. But once the poor grand jury finishes its labors we may know a whole lot more. Some of his minions are apparently jabbering to investigators like cicadas.

Here in New York, besides all the investigations, the city has been trying to can the Trump company that runs its public golf course in the Bronx. The family - led by son Eric - is demanding $30 million in return.

Experts say this fight could go on for years. Meanwhile, north of the city, concerned citizens have been trying to erase Trump's name from a state park, located on land he donated after the collapse of his original plan to build a golf course. The Trump Organization says it may go to court if there's a change. Lots of ways of getting around this, but I do like the one proposed to PolitiFact by a legal expert, who mentioned the possibility of a sign saying, "Unnamed State Park, next right."

It'll be a long while before we find out how these investigations turn out. But it's already crystal clear that if you took a sweeping view of Trump's empire, the two perpetually recurring motifs would be "golf" and "failed development."

This gives me the opportunity to note that during one of those early real estate disasters, I wrote a column referring to him as "an extremely well-dressed pile of debt, wearing an unusual haircut." That was in 1992, and next year I want you to remind me to celebrate my 30th anniversary of making fun of Donald Trump.

The New York Times