One of Donald Trump’s truly singular talents is his ability to consistently escape any and all accountability for the incredibly f–ked up s–t he’s done during his 75 years on earth. Well before his time in office, the guy was known as a massive con who didn’t pay his bills, discriminated against Black people, bragged about grabbing women’s genitals, ran a scam university whose company handbook literally had a section for what to do if a state or district attorney showed up, and regularly called reporters pretending to be his own spokesman, a.k.a. “John Barron.” Did it hurt him? Did he suffer any material consequences? Was he charged with any crimes? No, he was elected president. That experience apparently taught him that he could continue to get away with anything and everything, which would explain why, as POTUS, he threatened to extort another country for his own personal gain, lied about the threat of the coronavirus, lined his pockets with taxpayer money, shredded official documents, and tried to steal a second term in office. So you can probably see why the more cynical among us are skeptical of any of the bajillion investigations he is currently the subject of will actually result in a punishment befitting of the alleged crimes. But there is hope!
On Thursday, a New York judge shot down attempts by Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump to dodge subpoenas from the state attorney general, who has been probing the business practices of the Trump Organization for more than two years and has said she’s uncovered “significant evidence” of fraud. Having baselessly claimed for some time now that A.G. Letitia James is a corrupt politician who shouldn’t be allowed to probe the Trump Organization because she campaigned on holding Trump accountable, the former first family’s attorneys showed up to court today to repeat those and other, even less convincing arguments in an attempt to get Judge Arthur Engoron to agree the trio does not have to sit for depositions with the A.G.’s office. Apparently attempting to fill the shoes of former Trump attorney Sidney “The election was stolen by the ghost of Hugo Chavez” Powell, Trump lawyer Alina Habba claimed, for example, that the former president is part of a “protected class”—i.e. something that generally involves categories like race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc., and not just being a famous blowhard—and thus is being discriminated against by James. “If Ms. James has an opinion against him,” Engoron said, “he’s just a bad guy she should go after as the chief law enforcement officer of this state.”
Habba also put forth the argument that she doesn’t care how much hard evidence James has compiled against the Trump Organization because the probe is unconstitutional, telling Engoron, “It doesn’t matter if they find all sorts of incriminating evidence,” and later, “The evidence is irrelevant.” She also went on a rant about Hillary Clinton and apparently scored points by interrupting the judge on multiple occasions, at one point being reprimanded by Engoron’s clerk, who told her: “Counselor, when the judge speaks, you need to stop talking.”
In spite of such a brilliant legal performance, Engoron dismissed Team Trump’s claims, saying that the Office of the Attorney General had provided “thousands of documents” demonstrating “a sufficient basis for continuing its investigation, which undercuts the notion that this ongoing investigation is based on personal animus, not facts and law.” In fact, he added: “For OAG not to have investigated the original respondents, and not to have subpoenaed the New Trump Respondents, would have been a blatant dereliction of duty (and would have broken an oft-repeated campaign promise). Indeed, the impetus for the investigation was not personal animus, not racial or ethnic or other discrimination, not campaign promises, but was sworn congressional testimony by former Trump associate Michael Cohen that respondents were ‘cooking the books.’”
Engoron also noted that Trump, Don Jr., and Ivanka “have an absolute right to refuse to answer questions that they claim may incriminate them,” reminding the family and its lawyers that “Eric Trump invoked his right against self-incrimination in response to more than 500 questions during his one-day deposition arising out of the instant proceeding.” Which we have no doubt the rest of the gang will do too, though first they’ll probably appeal this thing about 85 times. (Alan Futerfas, the lawyer representing Don Jr. and Ivanka, told CNBC: “As we advised Judge Engoron there is a likelihood that we will appeal.” A spokeswoman for Trump did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment.)
Anyway, if we know the Trumps, and we think we do, they‘ll be shitting several bricks about this on Hannity very soon.
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