A series of New York State Attorney Generals have weaponized the Office of Attorney General against Donald Trump, his relatives, and his businesses.

AG Eric Schneiderman, who ended up resigning in disgrace after sexual abuse allegations, made a name for himself by threatening Trump, as the NY Times reported just before Schneiderman resigned:

For the last 17 months, Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York, had held himself up as the anti-Trump: a one-man legal wrecking ball, taking on the president and his agenda in both the courts and the court of public opinion…

Some have even held up Mr. Schneiderman as a potential backstop to prosecute crimes should President Trump choose to pardon his associates in the continuing special counsel investigation led by Robert S. Mueller III. The president’s vast federal pardoning powers do not apply to violation of state laws.

Schneiderman’s interim successor, AG Barbara Underwood, continued the use of the Office of Attorney General to get a political enemy. Her press release reflected the full-blown attempt to take down a variety of Trumps:

Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood today announced a lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, and its directors, Donald J. Trump (“Mr. Trump”), Donald J. Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump. The petition filed today alleges a pattern of persistent illegal conduct, occurring over more than a decade, that includes extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Mr. Trump’s personal and business interests, and violations of basic legal obligations for non-profit foundations. The Attorney General initiated a special proceeding to dissolve the Trump Foundation under court supervision and obtain restitution of $2.8 million and additional penalties. The AG’s lawsuit also seeks a ban from future service as a director of a New York not-for-profit of 10 years for Mr. Trump and one year for each of the Foundation’s other board members, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump. The Attorney General also sent referral letters today to the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Election Commission, identifying possible violations of federal law for further investigation and legal action by those federal agencies.

All of the candidates for NY AG in 2018 pledged to use the Office to get Trump. As CNBC reported, candidate Letitia James was particularly aggressive in pledging to get Trump:

“The president of the United States has to worry about three things: Mueller, Cohen, and Tish James,” James told Yahoo News for an article published last month.

James won the Democrat nomination, and needless to say, the General Election. James, getting ready to take over the huge AG Office and all its power, pledged again to get Trump. NBC News reports:

New York Attorney Gen.-elect Letitia James says she plans to launch sweeping investigations into President Donald Trump, his family and “anyone” in his circle who may have violated the law once she settles into her new job next month.

“We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well,” James, a Democrat, told NBC News in her first extensive interview since she was elected last month.

James outlined some of the probes she intends to pursue with regard to the president, his businesses and his family members. They include:

  • Any potential illegalities involving Trump’s real estate holdings in New York, highlighting a New York Times investigation published in October into the president’s finances.
  • The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian official.
  • Examine government subsidies Trump received, which were also the subject of Times investigative work.
  • Whether he is in violation of the emoluments clause in the U.S. Constitution through his New York businesses.
  • Continue to probe the Trump Foundation.

“We want to investigate anyone in his orbit who has, in fact, violated the law,” said James, who was endorsed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

James campaigned on passing a bill to change New York’s double jeopardy laws with an eye on possible pardons coming out of the White House. James told NBC News she wants to be able to pursue state charges against anyone the president were to pardon over federal charges or convictions and whose alleged crimes took place in the state. Under current New York law, she might not be able to do that…

For her part, James said she thinks Mueller’s “doing an excellent job.”

“I think he’s closing in on this president,” she said, “and his days are going to be coming to an end shortly.”

That the state prosecutors office would weaponized against a political opponent in such a way is a truly frightening reminder of what I wrote about in August 2018, The value of Trump to the Trump voter is that he stands between them and #TheResistance:

The sharks clearly are circling all things Trump looking for a crime which, even if it can’t remove Trump from the presidency, will put a price tag on anyone associated with Trump….

Right now the value of Trump to the Trump voter is he is all that stands between them and the people who hate them every bit as much as they hate Trump.

Or if you want an even shorter version, “the Flight 93 Election never ended”:

2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees.

Except one: if you don’t try, death is certain. To compound the metaphor: a Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.

Trump voters are berated and belittled with the same ferocity as directed at Trump himself. #TheResistance doesn’t distinguish between Trump and his voters.

What’s at stake in 2020 is not just an election, it’s whether we will enable the open abuse of state power by Democrats.

 
 
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