On Monday, the New York Attorney General made major news when she announced her office’s upcoming lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and members of his family for massive alleged fraud.  Predictably, Fox News was having none of it, and cut away from the presser before NY AG Letitia James’ descriptions of the lawsuit, after anchor Harris Faulkner called the whole thing “inside baseball” and potentially “political.”

The right-wing network aired James’ presser for around 8 minutes, in which she laid out details about suing Trump, his adult children and his real estate business for years, maybe decades, of fraud.

via Twitter / @TheIndependent

After that 8 minutes, Faulkner very quickly moved on to a discussion of “The View” and Nikki Haley’s criticism of Sunny Hostin.

“So the New York State Attorney General has just announced a rather lengthy and detailed layout of the lawsuit that she is putting against Donald Trump former president. Some of this is really inside baseball unless it’s your tax dollars in New York, and some people may even accuse it of being political because we’re 48 days away from the midterm elections, and both presidents the current and the past are certainly being looked at to help candidates out. So we’ll see how this plays out. We’re certainly going to cover it and we’ll bring you highlights as they happen. But the big headline in all of this is the lawsuit by the state of New York today just announced by Letitia James, let’s move on.”

James is seeking a quarter of a billion dollars in penalties for the Trumps’ alleged major financial fraud, and if successful, would see the Trump’s barred from conducting future business in the state of New York.

Trump Tower via Flickr / R Boed https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

From NY AG Letitia James’ statement:

“Misrepresenting the size of the apartment was only one of the many ways that Mr. Trump intentionally misvalued his asset for the purposes of increasing his net worth and inducing banks to offer more favorable terms. Mr. Trump also routinely ignored legal restrictions on development rights and marketability on properties that would significantly decrease property values. For example, let’s take Trump Park Avenue in New York.”

Later, Fox News did come back to the story by interviewing Trump’s former Attorney General William Barr, who has had no problem criticizing his former boss ever since he left the DOJ shortly before Trump’s term ended.  This time, however, Barr said it was hard for him “not to conclude it’s a political hit job” because the suit includes Trump’s adult children:

“Yes, they had roles in the business, but this was his personal financial statement.  It was prepared by the CFO. Accounting firms were involved in it. The children aren’t going to know the details of that and be able — and nor are they expected in the real world to do their own due diligence and have it reviewed independently.”

Donald Trump and William Barr via Flickr / The Office of Public Affairs https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Barr also called into question the merits of the parts of the lawsuit that accuses Trump of overvaluing property in loan applications:

“The fact of the matter is that real estate valuation of a complex real estate company like this is inherently very subjective. It depends what kinds of assumptions are used. Values can swing, depending on whether it’s viewed as a property that’s going to be split up or one that’s kept together and so forth. So it’s not an exact science.”


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Christopher Powell