Five Days Trump Wants to Forget

Boy howdy, did Trump ever have a bad week. Let’s review.

Monday, February 14

Trump’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, threw Trump under the bus by declaring that the financial statements they had prepared for Trump over the years “should not be relied upon” and that it was severing its business ties with Trump. Happy Valentine’s Day, Donald! Trump reacted by releasing some unhinged statement making claims about how wealthy he is. Steve Benen

The former president did not take the news well, and there’s no great mystery as to why. His accountants have an enormous amount of potentially incriminating evidence against Trump, and the more the firm cooperates with investigations, the more legal trouble the Republican is likely to face. It’s why George Conway said this week that Mazars breaking up with Trump is “worse for him than getting impeached twice.”

The day after the public learned of the firm’s decision, Trump issued an unusually long written statement — it was over 1,100 words — that appeared designed to calm any potential fears about the status of his supposedly vast wealth. …

… To bolster his assertions, the rattled Republican referenced specific data from a June 2014 “statement of financial condition,” prepared by Mazars, that pointed to a pre-candidacy net worth of nearly $5.8 billion.

As The New York Times noted overnight, the problem with Trump’s claim is that it’s at odds with his own previous assertions.

This is what the New York Times noted

When he declared his candidacy in 2015, he produced what he called his “Summary of Net Worth as of June 30, 2014” with a very different number: $8.7 billion. A month later, he upped the ante, releasing a statement pronouncing that his “net worth is in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS.”

Back to Steve Benen —

It’s as if he effectively said, “My finances shouldn’t be the subject of fraud investigations, and to prove it, here are some inherently sketchy numbers about my finances.”

Tuesday, February 15

Previously, on February 11, Fox News fell down a new rabbit hole, taking the entire right-wing media circus with it. Amidst the flying teacups and white rabbits with pocket watches, lo, there was a new Hillary Clinton scandal! She had paid informants spying on the Trump campaign and White House! This information, we were told, came from a a court filing by John Durham, the alleged special counsel who is investigating the Trump-Russia investigation.

This must have cheered Trump immensely. “They spied on my campaign!” was trotted out as Trump’s new rallying cry. Alas, by February 15 the allegations were being soundly debunked. See Fox News Found a New Rabbit Hole for details.

Wednesday, February 16

A relatively quiet day for Trump. But then “President Biden ordered the National Archives to hand over a range of visitor logs from the Trump White House to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, rejecting his predecessor’s claim that the material is protected by executive privilege,” the New York Times reported.

Thursday, February 17

Citing the recent statement from Mazers over Trump’s fictional finalcial statements, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform asked the General Services Administration to terminate Trump’s lease on the old Post Office Building in D.C. This is, of course, the site of Trump’s Washington D.C. hotel. The Committee believes Trump submitted  fradulent financial statements to obtain the lease in 2013.

This is not the first time this committee expressed concern about the lease. In October 2021, the committee said that Trump’s financial statements had failed to report over $70 million in lost revenue from the hotel. But lo, about the same time, it was announced that Trump had a deal to sell the lease to a Miami-based investment group for $370 million. This announcement caused much head scratching among people who understand these things — see Why Would Anyone In Their Right Mind Pay $370 Million For Trump’s D.C. Hotel? — but apparently it’s a real deal, still pending. It would take the turkey off Trump’s hands and leave him with a considerable profit for his trouble. But if the lease is canceled, Trump loses it all.

But it gets better.

Also on Thursday, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ruled that Trump, plus Junior and Ivanka, must respond to subpoenas and submit to being deposed by New York Attorney General Letitia James within 21 days. A.G. James is investigating whether the Trump Organization broke state laws in its business dealings.

The court hearing must have been a doozy. In the New York Times

The judge’s decision followed a fiery virtual hearing in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Thursday, during which lawyers for Mr. Trump and the attorney general made their cases. Several times, Mr. Trump’s lawyers became so heated that Justice Engoron and his law clerk had to call for a timeout — raising their hands in the shape of a T, a gesture more often seen at a sporting event than in a courtroom.

And this was reported by Business Insider — Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, “repeatedly interrupted the judge at a contentious hearing on Thursday and grew so heated at times that the law clerk had to remind her several times not to speak over the judge.”

Also, too,

Habba also veered away from the focus of the hearing to air out right-wing conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton and what Trump has alleged was an illegal plot to spy on his campaign and administration.

“I want to know, Mr. Wallace, Ms. James, are you going to go after Hillary Clinton for what she’s doing to my client?” Habba said, referring to the attorney general of New York and Kevin Wallace, an attorney representing her in the hearing. “That she spied at Trump Tower in your state? Are you going to look into her business dealings?”

Durham’s initial filing mentioned data collected from the EOP and a February 2017 meeting in which research was discussed. This was interpreted as meaning that the data involved in the analysis included data collected during Trump’s presidency (which, of course, began in January of that year). Setting aside the limited scope of this data (there was no “listening in on”) and the authorization under which it was collected, the team at Georgia Tech that conducted the research denied that it included anything collected after 2016. And, here, Durham’s admitting that this was true.

Trump must run farm teams of wackadoo lawyers. When one flames out, just call up the next one. Anyway, it’s assumes Trump will appeal this. It’s assumed the appeal will waste some time and then fail.

Friday, February 18

The National Archives confirmed that it had found “classified national security information” in the famous fifteen boxes retrieved from Mar-a-Lago recently. The Archives have again referred the matter to the Justice Department.

Also, the Archives “identified certain social media records that were not captured and preserved by the Trump Administration” and said that some White House staffers had been conducting official business using non-official messaging accounts. Further, these messages were not copied to official accounts, as the law required.

Tell me again what Hillary Clinton why they wanted Hillary Clinton locked up? Oh, yeah, emails on a private server. Hmm.

Also on Friday, a federal judge “sweepingly rejected” Trump’s claim of absolute immunity from lawsuits accusing him of inciting the January 6 insurgency. “In a searing, 112-page opinion that quoted repeatedly and at length from the former president’s own public statements, U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta refused to dismiss three lawsuits against Trump by Democratic House members and police officers seeking damages for physical and emotional injuries they incurred in the assault,” writes Spencer S. Hsu at WaPo.

But wait, there’s more!

It’s now being widely reported that John Durham himself threw cold water on the media frenzy that followed his court filing of February 11. This is from a new filing

“[D]efense counsel has presumed the Government’s bad faith and asserts that the Special Counsel’s Office intentionally sought to politicize this case, inflame media coverage, and taint the jury pool,” Durham wrote. But, he added later, “[i]f third parties or members of the media have overstated, understated, or otherwise misinterpreted facts contained in the Government’s Motion, that does not in any way undermine the valid reasons for the Government’s inclusion of this information.”

Background — awhile back Durham obtained an indictment against cybersecucrity lawyer John Sussman, who in the past has worked for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party. Sussman is something of a lynchpin in all the conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton spying on Trump. The filing of last week that sent Fox News down the rabbit hole was actually about possible conflicts of interest on Sussman’s legal team. See Law & Crime for more details than you probably want to know.

To grossly oversimplify all the lawyer stuff, last week Sussman filed his own brief objecting to Durham’s February 11 brief. Among other things, Sussman accused Durham of politicizing the issues surrounding whatever legal conflict is going on here. And Sussman asked the court to strike a bunch of paragraphs from Durham’s February 11 brief. The paragraph above is from Durham’s response to Sussman’s request.

Philip Bump in WaPo:

Durham is stating, explicitly, that members of the media may have “overstated” and “misinterpreted” facts included in his filing. This isn’t me, Washington Post guy, saying that his filing sparked an inaccurate narrative. It’s Durham saying that this (might, perhaps, maybe) happened.

It’s important to point out what immediately preceded that “if.” Durham had mentioned that stuff about data from the White House being included in the Russia research because “a member of the defense team was working for the Executive Office of the President of the United States (‘EOP’) during relevant events that involved the EOP.”

To a layperson, that seems unremarkable. But, as Charlie Savage noted when writing for the New York Times, it is Durham validating reporting that indicated there was no research conducted on data collected from the Trump White House at all.

This is giving me a headache. I am just passing this on; don’t ask me to explain it.

Some time last week Fox News was actually covering a live speech Hillary Clinton was giving to a convention of New York Democrats. I am told they thought she was going to announce another run for the presidency. Only righties think Hillary is going to run again; she looms in their nightmares like Jason from the Friday the 13th films, a ghoul who can never be killed. But when she started making fun of the “she spied on Trump” hysteria, they cut away. (This was reported to me; I didn’t see it for myself.)

And Durham “implicitly acknowledged that White House internet data he discussed, which conservative outlets have portrayed as proof of spying on the Trump White House, came from the Obama era,” according to the New York Times. Of course, Trump will never, ever let go of the claim that Hillary Clinton somehow spied on him. Hillary brilliantly spied on the Obama White House to get to Trump. It’s like quantum leap spying.

11 thoughts on “Five Days Trump Wants to Forget

  1. Methinks the old fool refused to pay his accountants. 

    I'm all agape at the idiocy, and delighted to see that the wrongists finally jumped the shark by taking their show on the road and messing with the Canadians – a much tougher breed than ours. 

  2. It's been a good week for Donny. He needs a little pressure to keep him on his toes. We don't want him to get sluggish going into his 2024 run for President.

  3. I suspect Mazars is concerned about their own liability for certifying Trump's accounting fraud – especially if it's as obvious are valuing the same property by millions of dollars difference in the same year with no excuse (development or improvements.)  They may suspect that Trump would blame them for any discrepancy and they beat Trump by laying the blame on the Trump Org first. The question is what Mazars will testify to when it all goes to trial. (That's Trump's main worry now.)

    So the NY civil case is developing nicely.  Tie that in with the decision Thursday that Trump and the kids will have to be deposed in the next three weeks, subject to an appeal which Trump will lose. But at some point, they will all individually take the fifth about everything which can be entered into evidence and considered by the jury in a civil trial. Se what that sets up? Trump and kids stonewall – Mazars testifies that (maybe) Trump Org. was warned that the statements looked fake, and tie this in with Trump’s lawyer trying to blame the Trump CFO – who knows everything and has yet to stand trial. (At some point, the Trump CFO will realize his lawyers are not representing him – they are representing Donald Trump. Will it be before or after the cell door closes behind him?)

    The civil lawsuits in DC will go forward. That's also huge for the evidence (discovery) that can be collected and potentially, the people who may be deposed. The question is whether Trump designed, planned, or celebrated the mayhem of J6. (Tie this in with Biden releasing WH visitor logs.)  Will the ID and number of times that deposed witnesses took the fifth be introduced? (It can't be in a criminal trial but these are civil suits.) 

    Also this week: a DC judge set a September date for the trial against Trump's inaugural committee in a fraud and graft case which plans to show that over a million dollars was directed into Trump's pocket by self-dealing. Will it prove that Trump was running a grift from the day he took office? This one might be done before November and set the stage for future trials. 

    Holding the rich and famous accountable in a court of law is tricky. Epstein comes to mind – he got a sweetheart (and illegal) deal in FL the first time around – before he was nationally known as the king of pedophilia.  But that special treatment was impossible when the spotlight of publicity lit up his case the second time around. What's that got to do with Trump? IMO, judges who would have given Trump special treatment, now can not. We're seeing decisions accompanied by hundred-page explanations. Trump's lawyers are arguing in court that Trump is above the law – and it's not working. 

    Don't forget the GA criminal case. Nothing on that this week, but it is proceeding.


  4. It is like shooting ducks on a pond, way to unsportsmanlike and generally judged too unfair to the ducks.  When the ducks are the Trump crime family, though, I am going with sue at will.  At this point we need to get an accurate history for the books. The justice system has the power to get a more accurate version of what really happened in writing than any other single organization. It has the power to get records and testimony, and to get trained minds at the task.  We can already see how the Fox and other organizations are working toward other aims and developing a hub of revisionist history.  They, of course. suffer credibility issues that are longstanding.  Their investigative method appears to be more of a conclusion-based method.  First you come to a conclusion (like Hillary is a crook) then so sort, select, and twist this information to support the conclusion you began propagating decades ago.  

    I am thinking the court system will provide way more evidence to validate Trump corruption than they have in supporting the many accusations over the years aimed at Hillary. It is, as some would say, a SLAM DUNK. Trump and his empire have existed, it seems. on a growing, malignant tower of lies from its inception.  Such edifices are generally known as unstable, and this one seems to be coming apart like a cheap watch. You may need to be ready to duck…or at least feel ducky.


  5. This is the funniest thing I’ve seen in years. Rudy Gouiliani attacked Eminem for taking a knee during the Super Bowl. Eminem then scorched him in song

    I never really appreciated rap music until now. It has enormous, untapped potential for taking down the tyrants, especialy when combined with video. I’ve long appreciated the power of music during the 1960s to bring people together and empower them, and I used to lament that music since has been co-opted and drained of any spiritual power. Eminem shows what can be done.

  6. Waiter, I'll have the shadenfreude over toast. 

    I will order for the trumpschmuck. He needs some gluckschmerz on his burger.

  7. I'm waiting for the day when all of his decades of lying and bullshitting finally catch up with EmpeROAR Frumpy Dumbty!

    And on that blessed day,  the prison authorities of the Super-Max Donny's going to spend the rest of his miserable life in, will force King Turdinhand to shove his porky nekkid orange hide into an orange XXXXXL prison onsie!


    • An interesting observation, but Donnie won't go to a super-max if convicted. IMO, the DOJ will bend over backward to give him the cushiest camp they can – likewise NY State and/or Georgia. It depends who convicts first, I guess.

      But my guess (My penal experience is limited but I studied it more than the average person – I expected a camp myself.) They are not staffed heavily for high security. The inmates know they got a good deal (relatively) and it's in their interest not to screw it up. The alternate is a real prison with fewer perks.

      Here's where it gets interesting. If Trump was convicted and if he was sent to a camp, it won't last. He's worshiped by idiots. The camp isn't designed to withstand an assault from outside. (And the prisoners don't want to escape – they want to do their time and go home.) But Trump cultists think the entire judicial system should bend to their view of justice – which can't include letting Donnie sit on a porcelain potty.  I think the disruptions are certain and so is the response – Donnie will get transferred to a higher security prison in the interest of maintaining order. (And prisons are big on order.) 

      Now will the Trumpsters realize that they are screwing Donald over if they disrupt operations at his low-rent, public housing? That would require a low level of sentience that they have not usually displayed.


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