TRUMP’S ART OF THE STEAL EXPOSED
A judge (Judge Engoron) ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump and his company committed fraud while building his real estate empire after New York Attorney General Letitia James accused the former president of overvaluing his assets.
Judge Arthur Engoron ruled Tuesday that the former president and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing.
Engoron ordered that some of Trump’s business licenses be rescinded as punishment, making it difficult or impossible for them to do business in New York. The judge said he would continue to have an independent monitor oversee the Trump Organization’s operations. (Fox News)
Tish James, the Attorney General of New York, just won a partial summary judgement in the civil case against Trump Org. That means the judge agreed that the AG presented so much indisputable evidence there was no need to go to trial to resolve most of the facts of the case. What remains is mostly the extent of the punishment or disgorgement-which means many of Trump’s properties will go into receivership. The AGs team offered enough evidence even presented in “a light most favorable to Trump”, that showed that Trump, his sons, his associates and numerous lawyers engaged in persistent fraud for years in New York when they presented information to financial institutions about the value of his properties. There is very little left for the judge to decide and there is no jury in this case. The trial will begin this Monday, October 2nd.
Michael Cohen told us about what Trump was up to years ago when he testified before Congress, He said that Trump consistently and knowingly lied about the valuation of his properties to financial institutions to get the benefit of vastly inaccurate higher or lower valuations as a way to profit.
Even though you can lie to the public when you are a politician, if you lie to financial institutions you commit fraud. As much as Trump has claimed that he was a successful businessman and pretended to be one on TV, this ruling exposes Trump as a smarmy conman, not a smart businessman. The judge also imposed sanctions of $7500 on five of the attorneys who helped Trump carry out his extensive financial fraud.
The result will eventually devastate Trump financially because it will mean the end of Trump’s ability to do business in New York, and will put many of his flagship properties into receivership –including Trump Tower. Think about that. Donald Trump’s iconic New York businesses as well as others around the world, are heading for receivership– assets to be disposed by the receiver to pay off the debts of the LLCs.
This will not happen immediately, however. The case will be appealed. This court’s decisions are not likely to be overturned on appeal, however, given the strength of the evidence in this case, which is based on paper documents, not witness testimony. Unfortunately, the court system works way too slowly. Trump’s downfall will not happen immediately. He could be re-elected president before the case is ultimately determined.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT
It sure looks like Trump is on track to be the Republican nominee, especially given the two hours of wasted time during the most recent Republican debate, where everyone interrupted everyone else, had nothing worthwhile to say, no one even mentioned that Trump called for General Milley’s death (see below), no one was asked to comment on Judge Engoron’s decision, and no one stood out as a leader. So, Trump is currently barreling towards renomination. And he is desperate to win back the safety of the presidency. If Trump hopes to avoid the consequences of his criminal misdeeds, he needs to be president again. He faces 4 indictments in state and federal court and a total of 91 criminal charges. Given his financial downfall on top of that, he will be even more desperate to get back the power of the presidency. This time he will fill every position with loyalists and MAGA types.
When Trump feels under attack he attacks people and claims he has been mistreated. His MAGA followers believe him. They think he is being attacked by the so-called Deep State, antifa, the lefties, the Democrats. Trump is never responsible for his own actions in their minds. The MAGAs also always believe he is a brilliant businessman. These folks think that everyone in business is lying and cheating like Trump did and does, but the big guys get away with it and the little guys get punished. This is not accurate. Trump was well known in New York long before he became president, for lying about how wealthy he was, for failing to pay people what he owed them, and for using mob boss tactics to get what he wanted. Trump’s followers will believe that Trump is being punished by the opposition because he is for running for president. Trump fundraises off of that belief.
So brace yourself. Get ready for more of his attacks over social media, more threats and intimidation from Trump.
TRUMP’S ATTACK ON GENERAL MILLEY
Even before he got this bad news about the looming loss of his financial power, Trump had attacked General Milley (who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Trump Administration). Trump called for his death.
Here is what Trump said:
“If the Fake News reporting is correct, [Milley] was actually dealing with China to give them a heads up on the thinking of the President of the United States,” Trump wrote in the post on his Truth Social site. “This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been death!”
What Trump is doing here is twofold: 1) He is doing his darndest to intimidate witnesses and jurors and 2) He is calling on his followers to take action against Milley.
Why was Trump upset with General Milley? Donald Trump sounded off on social media after learning that after the January 6th insurrection General Milley had contacted the Chinese (without telling Trump he was doing so) to reassure them that the American government was not about to fall which could mean a loss of control of our nuclear weapons. Milley was asked to make that call by Mark Esper, former head of the Department of Defense in the Trump administration. After Trump tweeted out his rage about General Milley, Esper condemned Trump’s “tweet”. General Milley now has to have a security detail for himself and his family because of Trump’s social media rant targeting him.
This is what Trump does when he is under duress. Given the danger Trump is experiencing now, he will be lashing out on steroids. Trump is testing the limits of his ability to get away with these attacks now that he has been indicted.
THE JUDGE WITH THE POWER TO STOP TRUMP
Judge Chutkan could stop Trump. Once a person is criminally indicted he is granted freedom on condition that he follows the rules set by the court. Trump should not be able to attack people on social media and call for their death. That clearly violates the rules Judge Chutkan set for Trump when she set his bail. General Milley could be called as a witness in the case that Jack Smith will try before Judge Chutkan, which means he is directly affected by Trump’s threat. But by attacking Milley, Trump is intimidating not only Milley but other potential jurors and witnesses. We know that Trump has developed a cult army of followers who understand what Trump would like them to do. Many are just unhinged enough to act on what their dear leader has mused about- offing a detractor even if he is a decorated general, or a judge or a juror or a witness.
Judge Chutkan is the judge who could limit Trump. Judge Engoron has already slapped a partial gag order on Trump after he went on social media and called one of that judge’s staff Shumer’s girlfriend and publicized her contact information. Judge Engoron kept the order limited in keeping with a need to keep the consequence in line with Trump’s misbehavior. But if Trump steps up the attacks, Judge Engoron will undoubtably step up the consequences.
Judge Chutkan is watching all of this. She will hold a hearing on October 16th and that hearing might be the key to first limiting and then over time stopping this egregious behavior by Trump. Jack Smith’s team has already asked that she issue a partial gag order to stop Trump from attacking witnesses and damaging the jury pool. She is faced with a somewhat difficult situation, because Trump is also running for president and he does have First Amendments rights. But there is no reason that Trump cannot keep asserting his innocence and run for office without attacking, scaring, intimidating witnesses, and polluting the jury pool.
Judge Chutkan is well aware of the danger that Trump poses to witnesses, prosecutors, judges and jurors because she herself has had to get a security detail thanks to Trump’s attacks on her.
My advice to the judge is that she should issue the partial gag order Jack Smith’s team has requested and be very specific about what he absolutely cannot say. She should warn him that if he cannot control himself, he will spend some time off the campaign trail in prison.
No one has ever put Trump in his place. Ever. Like a teenaged rebel or a petulant child with parents who don’t know how to establish rules, he has not experienced consequences for bad behavior. He has been allowed to run rampant over every system, break every norm, every law and every rule he felt like breaking. Republicans were and still are too afraid of him and his brown shirts to stand up to him. Everyone who has appeased him has helped to create what our country faces now: a hugely influential temper tantruming, self-centered monster. He is so full of himself he seems to be unstoppable. But he could still be stopped.
We have to hope that Judge Chutkan does what the rest of the world failed to do, namely, spell out the consequences and follow through with punishment if Trump refuses to follow the rules.