For reasons known perhaps only to him, President Trump today chose to ramble on across four tweets complaining about New York’s investigations of him, defending his charity which has been closed since December, and calling New York’s attorney general a “bludgeoning tool” being used against him by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. New York Attorney General Letitia James responded to Trump’s harangue by reminding him that he should “Make no mistake: No one is above the law, not even the President.”, restating her responsibility to follow the facts and follow the law, while also seeming to take a tongue-in-cheek jab at Trump’s failure to use her name by adding, “P.S. My name is Letitia James. (You can call me Tish.)”
Before detailing Trump’s rambling complaints about New York’s investigations and his defense of his namesake charity, The Donald J. Trump Foundation, it is important to recall that the Trump Foundation was closed in December as part of an agreement made over allegations of what James’ predecessor Barbara Underwood called “a shocking pattern of illegality” involving self-dealing, with Underwood further saying, according to The Hill, “Mr. Trump used charitable assets to pay off the legal obligations of entities he controlled, to promote Trump hotels, to purchase personal items, and to support his presidential election campaign.” The Trump Foundation agreed to dissolve under state supervision, with the state allocating all of its remaining assets, while the state continues to pursue a lawsuit over the allegations, seeking to get millions of dollars in restitution and to ban Trump and his three oldest children from serving on the boards of any other New York-based charities.
Trump has repeatedly attempted to argue that the bottom line of the Trump Foundation meant it was acting appropriately, a tactic he also used today, but that isn’t how the law works. Charitable funds cannot legally be diverted to other uses, most especially not to the benefit of the people running the charity, aka self-dealing, but Trump, according to the allegations in the lawsuit, used charitable funds to buy portraits of himself, to pay legal bills for his private companies, and to benefit his campaign. This leads us to Trump’s 4-tweet complaint today, which went, “It is very hard and expensive to live in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo uses his Attorney General as a bludgeoning tool for his own purposes. They sue on everything, always in search of a crime. I even got sued on a Foundation which took Zero rent & expenses & gave away…. …more money than it had. Going on for years, originally brought by Crooked Hillary’s Campaign Chair, A.G. Eric Schneiderman, until forced to resign for abuse against women. They never even looked at the disgusting Clinton Foundation. Now Cuomo’s A.G. is harassing all of my…. ….New York businesses in search of anything at all they can find to make me look as bad as possible. So, on top of ridiculously high taxes, my children and companies are spending a fortune on lawyers. No wonder people and businesses are fleeing New York in record numbers!”, ending with, “That’s right, The Trump Foundation gave away 100% plus, with Zero rent or expenses charged, and has been being sued by Cuomo and New York State for years – another part of the political Witch Hunt. Just in case anyone is interested – Clinton Foundation never even looked at!” Trump’s claim that Eric Schneiderman was Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman is, by the way, untrue. Schneiderman was involved in Clinton’s campaign, but was not its chair.
One can only guess why today was the day for Trump to rant about this. Perhaps he is aware of developments not yet made public in several investigations New York has of him, perhaps he just saw some attorneys’ bills, either his own, his businesses’, or his children’s, given his mention of that in the tweets, that tipped his rage meter. New York Attorney General Letitia James responded in a clear, steady fashion to Trump’s ranting, tweeting, “As the elected AG of NY, I have a sworn duty to protect & uphold state law. My office will follow the facts of any case, wherever they lead. Make no mistake: No one is above the law, not even the President. P.S. My name is Letitia James. (You can call me Tish.)”
James has continued investigations and lawsuits of Trump and his businesses started by her predecessors Schneiderman and Underwood, along with shepherding new investigations as well, keeping in line with her promise to hold Trump and his businesses accountable for any illegal activity. Specifically, in advance of being sworn in as attorney general this January, James vowed to “use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well”, according to The Hill. Ever since that point James has been a target for Trump’s Twitter complaints, including the long, rambling complaints Trump made today.