Donald Trump is freaking out. This week, New York Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that he and two of his adult children, including Donald Jr. and Ivanka, must testify as part of the civil investigation into the Trump family business being conducted by New York state Attorney General Letitia James (D), and — unsurprisingly — he’s not taking it well. On Friday, he issued a profoundly whiny statement that once again characterized him as a victim of the “greatest Witch Hunt in history” — a claim that reflects a laughably extreme sense of self-importance on the former president’s part.
New York AG Letitia James on the Trumps being ordered to comply with James' subpoenas:
"No one will be permitted to stand in the way of the pursuit of justice, no matter how powerful they are. No one is above the law."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 18, 2022
Trump seems to believe that he should be immune from the kind of serious scrutiny that he’s facing in relation to James’s probe — and he also seems to be under the impression that saying “horrendous… things” about him should be generally suppressed… which is not exactly how democracy works. As the former president angrily complained:
‘[Failed] Gubernatorial candidate, Letitia James, can run for the office of AG on saying absolutely horrendous and false things about Donald Trump, a man she doesn’t know and has never met, go on to get elected, and then selectively prosecute him and his family… She is doing everything within their corrupt discretion to interfere with my business relationships, and with the political process. With the rest of the case, even Cy Vance, who just left the DA’s office without prosecuting anything additional, because there isn’t anything additional to prosecute—THERE IS NO CASE! The targeting of a President of the United States, who got more votes while in office than any President in History, by far, and is a person that the Radical Left Democrats don’t want to run again, represents an unconstitutional attack on our Country—and the people will not allow this travesty of justice to happen.’
Following Mazars’ Disavowal of Trump’s Financial Statements, Chairs Maloney and Connolly Urge GSA to Consider Terminating Trump Hotel Leasehttps://t.co/YJhVy2ztu5
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) February 18, 2022
In fact, it’s not “unconstitutional” for a former president to be “targeted” in a legal investigation, as he suggested. Donald Trump isn’t immune from certain forms of legally enforceable accountability because he’s somehow more special than everybody else — which sounds like a crux of his argument! Trump also claimed in the statement that “Crooked Hillary Clinton… can break into the White House, my apartment, buildings I own, and my campaign — in other words, she can spy on a Presidential candidate and ultimately, the President of the United States” without a substantial level of scrutiny from media outlets — which is nonsensical. Hillary didn’t do those things.
#BREAKING: Today, a court ruled in our favor that Donald Trump must appear before my office as part of our investigation into his financial dealings.
No one will be permitted to stand in the way of the pursuit of justice, no matter how powerful they are.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) February 17, 2022
Trump is referencing allegations stemming from a recent court filing by John Durham, the federal prosecutor investigating the Trump-Russia investigation, but Durham did not actually allege that Clinton “spied” on Trump in office. In fact, a lawyer with connections to Hillary Clinton named Michael Sussmann “flagged to the CIA that internet data he had obtained suggested someone using a Russian-made smartphone was connecting to White House and Trump Tower networks,” Business Insider explains, and it’s that data which is driving the spying allegations — but it was seemingly legally obtained and it wasn’t gathered from the White House while Trump was even there. Spying and hacking in legally meaningful senses haven’t been alleged in the court proceedings at issue here.
NEW signs Senate GOP distancing from Trump. On NRSC fundraising wkend, just 3 of more than 20 Rs did event at Mar-A-Lago w Trump
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) February 18, 2022
Sussman apparently got the data from tech company executive Rodney Joffe, whose organization — Neustar — obtained at least the White House potion of it through providing cybersecurity services. Cybersecurity company CEO Karim Hijazi told Business Insider that Joffe’s company provides services that basically “monitor your traffic in the event that you might be sent to a malicious site.” As for the relationship of the data to Trump’s team, lawyers for a researcher who worked with Joffe noted that “researchers were investigating noted. Check out Trump’s statement by clicking on the post below:in the White House, not spying on the Trump campaign, and to our knowledge all of the data they used was nonprivate DNS data from before Trump took office.” Also, neither “Joffe nor the [researchers he worked with] were being paid by the Clinton campaign,” Cato Institute fellow Julian Sanchez
President Donald J. Trump:
“So, Crooked Hillary Clinton, one of the most corrupt politicians ever to run for President, can break into the White House, my apartment, buildings I own, and my campaign—in other words, she can spy on a Presidential candidate and ultimately… pic.twitter.com/L0gP8aeDUF
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) February 18, 2022