President Donald Trump used the charitable foundation that bears his name to illegally benefit his presidential campaign and will have to pay $8.4 million in restitution and fines, New York Attorney General Letitia James revealed Thursday in a court filing.
The court papers filed also bar the president and his three eldest children from operating a charity in the state for 10 years, with AG James noting:
“In this vacuum of oversight and diligence, Mr. Trump caused the foundation to enter repeatedly into self-dealing transactions and to coordinate unlawfully with his presidential campaign.”
Salon reports that a lawsuit filed by former New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood which led to the foundation being shuttered was the first step in holding Trump accountable for the misuse of his so-called charity was the first step to making sure the president could no longer bilk donors out of donations:
“James said that depositions by Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and email exchanges between him and Trump’s campaign manager at the time, Corey Lewandowski, showed illegal coordination between the campaign and the foundation.
“The lawsuit is related to Trump’s infamous boycott of a Fox News debate over his feud with Megyn Kelly ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucuses. Rather than participate in the debate, Trump held a rally that he claimed was intended to raise money for veterans groups. The Trump Foundation functioned as a conduit for those donations.”
AG James has also been pursing other legal challenges to Trump and his business dealings. Earlier this week, she issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank for all records related to financing of the Trump Organization’s financial deals and Trump’s failed bid to acquire the Buffalo Bills NFL franchise.
The Associated Press reports that Trump is feeling the pressure as prosecutors in his home state begin investigating his business dealings, with the president attacking the probes on Twitter:
New York State and its Governor, Andrew Cuomo, are now proud members of the group of PRESIDENTIAL HARASSERS. No wonder people are fleeing the State in record numbers. The Witch Hunt continues!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2019
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