The Trump Foundation is being sued by New York’s attorney general, Barbara Underwood, for using the charity to enrich and benefit the Trump family. Lawyers for the Trump Foundation, which is run by Trump and his oldest children, Don Jr, Eric, and Ivanka made a ridiculous request during court proceedings on Tuesday. They asked that the execution of justice be rescheduled to accommodate the midterm elections. New Yorker:
During Tuesday’s hearing, the Trump Foundation’s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, asked that the trial not commence in October, because it was so close to the midterms. Judge Scarpulla laughed in response, did not change the trial date, and hinted that she is likely to require the President to testify.
The Trumps don’t seem to realize that the justice is system is apolitical by design, so the fact that the trial date is close to the midterms is not relevant to the courts. Hence the laughter in response.
The hint about requiring Trump to testify makes for a fascinating scenario. The sitting president testifying in a court case trying to explain why money was flowing from his charitable foundation into his pockets and those of his children while his party is campaigning for midterm elections that could have a major impact on the future of his presidency and his party. Sounds like a potential political disaster, at least for an ordinary politician.
What is even more interesting about this possible October trial and presidential testimony is that Judge Saliann Scarpulla seems to be indicating that this is a pretty cut-and-dry case against the Trump Foundation. Again from the New Yorker article:
The judge seemed frustrated, even confused, that the Trumps were fighting the case at all. At one point, she told a lawyer for the Trump children that they should just settle out of court and voluntarily agree to one of the sanctions: a demand by the Attorney General that they not serve on the boards of any nonprofits for one year…Judge Scarpulla made clear that she felt the children should agree to the sanction now, and that, if they don’t, she will probably impose a similar restriction “with or without your agreement.”
Fundamentally, the presiding judge believes that the Trump family will lose this court case. It, then, all comes down to timing. They are going to take the hit politically, so its a matter of when they want to take it. At this point, it seems that control is in Trump’s hand. He can agree to settle any time between now and the elections since his Hail Mary request to have the trial moved has failed.
It will be interesting to see when he chooses to take that hit. No doubt it will be countered by shameless distraction techniques, attacks on NY AG Barbara Underwood, the justice system, and likely whipping boy Jeff Sessions for good measure. But we know he has to take the hit. Let’s see how his supporters feel when Trump admits he set up a charity as a tax-evasion racket. Even if you support Trump because of his racist and bigoted views or his “business-friendly” policies, how can you think it is okay to defraud the US government by shamelessly misusing a structure that is designed to assist in the pursuit of the public good?