President Donald Trump defended the “great work” of his charity — the Donald J. Trump Foundation — and accused New York Democrats of targeting it solely for political reasons in a series of tweets on Wednesday morning.
Under the stipulation agreement announced by Democratic New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood on Tuesday, her office, under judicial supervision, will oversee the dissolving of the foundation and the distribution of its $1.75 million in assets to other charities.
Underwood alleged in a statement regarding the agreement that its suit brought against the organization in June “detailed a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation — including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more. This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.”
Trump Foundation attorney Alan Futerfas said in a statement to Fox News on Tuesday, Trump’s plan had been to dissolve the charity after being elected president, but had been blocked from doing so by the attorney general’s office.
“Over the past decade, the Foundation is proud to have distributed approximately $19 million, including $8.25 million of the President’s personal money, to over 700 different charitable organizations with virtually zero expenses. The NYAG’s inaccurate statement of this morning is a further attempt to politicize this matter,” Futerfas said.
Trump echoed these thoughts in a series of tweets on Wednesday, writing, “The Trump Foundation has done great work and given away lots of money, both mine and others, to great charities over the years – with me taking NO fees, rent, salaries etc.”
The Trump Foundation has done great work and given away lots of money, both mine and others, to great charities over the years – with me taking NO fees, rent, salaries etc. Now, as usual, I am getting slammed by Cuomo and the Dems in a long running civil lawsuit started by…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
“Now, as usual, I am getting slammed by Cuomo and the Dems in a long-running civil lawsuit started by sleazebag AG Eric Schneiderman, who has since resigned over horrific women abuse, when I wanted to close the Foundation so as not to be in conflict with politics. Shady Eric was head of New Yorkers for Clinton, and refused to even look at the corrupt Clinton Foundation.”
Trump concluded, “In any event, it goes on and on & the new AG, who is now being replaced by yet another AG (who openly campaigned on a GET TRUMP agenda), does little else but rant, rave & politic against me. Will never be treated fairly by these people – a total double standard of ‘justice.’”
Underwood replaced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned in May amid allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse, The Hill reported.
Incoming New York Attorney General-elect Letitia James, who will replace Underwood in January, told NBC News earlier this month that she plans to launch sweeping investigations into Trump.
“We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well,” she said.
Areas of inquiry she mentioned included any potential illegalities concerning his real estate holdings in New York, whether he is in violation of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution through his New York businesses, and plans to continue the state’s litigation against the Trump Foundation. The lawsuit seeks $2.8 billion in restitution and penalties.
James also campaigned on passing a bill to change the Empire State’s double jeopardy law, so her office can potentially pursue state charges against anyone Trump may pardon for breaking federal laws.
“She’s also enlisting help from some prosecutorial heavy hitters, like former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, as a part of her transition to help her identify important hires for her office with an eye on bringing in experts for its Trump-related investigations,” NBC News reported.
Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz told NBC News that the question of whether a sitting president can be charged with a state crime has not been litigated.
Regarding Trump’s double standard claim, Republicans have often accused former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of illegally engaging in a “pay to play” arrangement with private donors in relation to the Clinton Foundation, which is also located in New York.
The Center for Responsive Politics reported last week that the Clinton Foundation’s revenue hit a 15-year low after the 2016 presidential election.