Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been claiming for years that the litigation against Trump University is a politically motivated witch hunt.
Now it looks like he’s found the trail of shady campaign cash to prove it — and the conspiracy may lead right back to President Barack Obama and a secret meeting in New York.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed suit against Trump in August 2013, alleging that Trump University had engaged in “persistent, fraudulent, illegal and deceptive conduct.”
But this looks like it may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black — especially as far as Schneiderman’s own potentially deceptive conduct is concerned.
It has since come to light that two of Schneiderman’s significant campaign donors are partners with the same law firm that brought a class-action suit against Trump University in 2010.
Public records show that Patrick Daniels and Michael Dowd, both partners with Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, contributed a combined $15,000 to Schneiderman’s campaign coffers.
Now, Trump is raising questions about whether the firm may have used its campaign cash as a lever to pressure Schneiderman to bring his case.
Trump seems to be painting a picture that would walk a thin line between “pay for play” and what some would see as bribery. But he is demanding answers, both about the law firm’s involvement and where President Obama may have fit in.
“The attorney general of New York meets with Barack Obama in Syracuse,” Trump said at a rally in Bentonville, Arkansas. “The following day he sues me. What they don’t say is, I believe, $15,000 or a lot of money was paid to the attorney general by the law firm in California that is suing me.”
Could Obama have been a facilitator in a potential deal — or did he at least have inside information on it? While Trump is known for making outlandish claims, this one may not be as wild as it seems.
First, meetings between sitting presidents and state attorneys general are not terribly common, and the timeline with the eventual Trump University litigation raises eyebrows.
Second, a firm like Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd has influence in the highest Democratic circles.
The firm and its attorneys have spread serious campaign money around to major Democratic politicians, and even paid $675,000 in speaking fees to Hillary and Bill Clinton.
While the full facts of the case may never come out, one thing is clear — Schneiderman’s involvement in the litigation must end. Nobody should be asked to believe that he can pursue the case fairly while also taking money from the firm suing Trump University.
— The Horn editorial team