The New York attorney general’s litigation is the latest legal hassle for former President Trump and undoubtedly the most subjective. It attacks both his enterprise and his image as a brilliant dealmaker.
Trump is unhappy about the case, but many Republicans think it could help him if he runs for president in 2024.
Trump spent days calling New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) a “racist” and circulating old footage of her threatening to go after him if elected.
The case is emotional for Trump, who built his electoral brand on the concept of a successful businessman. Trump has been secretive about his wealth in previous years, refusing to disclose his tax returns while running.
James claims Trump exaggerated his net worth with the cooperation of his adult kids and the Trump Organization’s top management to acquire loans and tax benefits.
The lawsuit claims Trump and his company created 200 incorrect and deceptive asset assessments from 2011 through 2021.
Our suit against Donald Trump and the Trump Org alleges a years-long financial fraud scheme.
Here’s how Trump generated false and misleading values on his annual financial statements, which were then used to pay lower taxes, guarantee loans, and get better insurance rates:
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) September 21, 2022
James wants to bar Trump from purchasing commercial real estate or asking for loans in New York for five years and from serving on the board of any New York corporation for life.
The claims didn’t seem to alarm Republicans as much as recent inquiries into Trump’s 2020 election conduct or handling of confidential data.
Many in the GOP saw the complaint as a political ploy, citing James’ 2018 campaign speech in which she vowed to hold Trump accountable.
One Trump ally discounted any political fallout. The operative argued Trump’s base and the GOP overall already believe Democrats are out to get him.
The @January6thCmte investigation has stalled.
The Mar-a-Lago raid is being exposed as a DOJ/FBI political operation.
So now NY AG Letitia James has made a last-ditch effort to salvage attempts to "get" President Trump.
It never works. pic.twitter.com/c5kCGhcjTL
— Steven Cheung (@CaliforniaPanda) September 21, 2022
Rep. Jim Banks, head of the House Republican Study Committee, described James’s lawsuit as “unjustified.”
Former Attorney General William Barr, a Trump loyalist who has been more critical in recent months, called James’ lawsuit “overreach” that “will make folks more receptive to Trump.”
A New York Times poll taken before James’ lawsuit indicated 44% of voters rated Trump positively, the same as in July, highlighting his solid support among Republicans.
The House committee probing Jan. 6, 2021’s Capitol riot resumes public hearings next week. It may offer up a full report before the midterms with negative information about Trump’s passivity that day.
In Georgia, numerous Trump backers are investigating a plan to put forward a slate of alternate electors who would have overruled the state’s electoral results in 2020.
Possibly most seriously, there is the probe into Trump’s handling of secret data after leaving the White House, in the aftermath of an FBI raid of his Mar-a-Lago residence last month.
A special master hired to go through confiscated papers in the case urged Trump’s legal counsel to bolster up the former president’s assertions that he cleared the records he took with him.
The multiple probes create not just legal concerns for Trump but political ones, along with voters contemplating whether to go on to a new candidate for the 2024 race.