The most recent and possibly most personal legal issue for the former president Donald Trump is a lawsuit from the attorney general of New York, which targets both his company and his reputation as a savvy negotiator. Trump has responded angrily to the lawsuit, but many Republicans believe it will eventually strengthen Republican support as he considers whether to run for president in 2024.
“They have been using this to degrade me for years. And now they discover that I have a ton of cash and very, very little debt, said Trump this week, speaking to Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “We have a fantastic firm and some of the top resources in the whole globe. But I experienced it; these folks were continually degrading me. They are flawed in some way. I really feel that they despise our nation.
On his Truth Social platform, Trump has spent days attacking New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), calling her a “racist,” and circulating old clips of James threatening to sue him if elected.
For Trump, who based a significant part of his political brand on the perception that he is a great businessman capable of striking smart deals to create a financial empire, the case is personal. Trump has recently been guarding the specifics of his financial situation, defying decades of precedent by refusing to make his tax returns public while running for government.
James claims in a civil lawsuit that Trump lied about his net worth to get loans with better terms and tax advantages by inflating it by billions of dollars with the aid of his adult children and Trump Organization staff. According to the lawsuit, between 2011 and 2021, Trump and his business “knowingly and purposefully fabricated more than 200 incorrect and deceptive asset appraisals.”
James is asking for a lifelong ban on Trump and his three eldest children, Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric, from sitting on the board of any New York company as well as a five-year prohibition on Trump applying for loans or purchasing commercial real estate in New York.
In contrast to prior probes into Trump’s behavior leading up to the 2020 election or his handling of confidential materials, however, it did not seem as though many Republicans were troubled by the charges.
Since James made Trump the center of her 2018 campaign and promised to hold him accountable, many in the GOP see the lawsuit as a political ploy. One Trump-connected Republican operative brushed off any potential political repercussions. The operative argued that Trump’s supporters and the GOP as a whole already have a tendency to think that James and other Democrats are trying to harm the former president. That opinion is only strengthened by the case.
“The inquiry into the @January6thCmte has halted. It has been revealed that the Mar-a-Lago raid was a DOJ/FBI political operation. Letitia James, the NY AG, has now launched a desperate campaign to save President Trump from being “got.” Former Trump campaign advisor Steven Cheung tweeted, “It never works.
James’ lawsuit was slammed as “illegitimate” by Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind. ), chairman of the influential House Republican Study Committee, who also shared a video compilation of James declaring Trump a “illegitimate president.”
William Barr, a former attorney general and a formerly ardent supporter of Donald Trump, said he now sees James’s lawsuit as “overreach” that “will make people more sympathetic to Trump.” After learning of the lawsuit, Barr remarked on Fox News, “It’s impossible for me not to come to the conclusion that this is a political hit job.” I’m not even convinced she has a strong case against Trump personally, but the fact that she blatantly oversteps when she attempts to involve the kids in this is what convinces me that this is a political hit job.
Before the news of James’ lawsuit became public, a New York Times survey revealed that 44% of Americans had a favorable opinion of Trump, which was the same percentage as in the July poll and highlights his consistent popularity among Republicans in particular.
But there is no denying that Trump’s legal issues are becoming worse. The public hearings for the House committee looking into the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, will resume next week. The committee may produce a final report before the midterm elections that contains more damning evidence regarding Trump’s actions on that day.
A number of Trump associates have been brought into the current investigation into a plan to propose a slate of substitute electors who would have reversed the state’s election results in 2020.
The probe into Trump’s handling of sensitive documents after leaving office, which was launched after an FBI raid of his Mar-a-Lago property last month, is possibly the most serious. Trump’s legal team has been challenged to provide evidence supporting the former president’s assertions that he declassified the records he took with him by the special master assigned to examine the case’s confiscated materials.
Trump faces dangers from the many investigations that extend beyond the law, as people consider switching to a different candidate for the 2024 election.
At the end of the day, elections are business choices, a former Trump campaign staffer said, recognizing that there may come a day when voters find the probes to be too onerous to bear.