The New York Times:
Trump Lawsuit Against Judge in Fraud Case Rejected by Appeals Court
Former President Donald J. Trump had accused Justice Arthur F. Engoron of ignoring an earlier decision that could have barred evidence from the case.
The appeals court, in a terse two-page order Thursday, turned aside a lawsuit Mr. Trump filed against the trial judge, Arthur F. Engoron, which had sought to delay the proceeding.
The ruling came two days after Justice Engoron issued an order that struck a major blow to Mr. Trump, finding him liable for having committed fraud by persistently overvaluing his assets and stripping him of control over his New York properties. Justice Engoron sided with the New York attorney general, Letitia James, who last year sued Mr. Trump, accusing him of inflating his net worth by billions of dollars to obtain favorable loan terms from banks.
The New York Times:
Trump’s Sprawling Legal Defense Effort Comes Under Strain
Former President Donald Trump’s team has found lawyers for others caught up in his prosecutions and has paid many of their legal bills. That arrangement may not be sustainable.
In an interview, Mr. Rowley said he was simply trying to help witnesses who did not have lawyers or did not know how to find one, and that he never sought to influence anyone’s testimony. And legal experts said the voice mail, while somewhat unusual, did not appear to cross any ethical lines.
But as Mr. Trump’s legal problems have expanded, the ad hoc system has come under intense strain with the PAC doling out financial lifelines to some aides and allies while shutting the door on others. It is now running short of money, possibly forcing Mr. Trump to decide how long to go on helping others as his own legal fees mount.
Prosecutors have also brought conflict-of-interest questions about some of the arrangements before the courts, and witnesses and co-defendants may begin to face decisions about how closely they want to lash their legal strategies to Mr. Trump’s.
David Cay Johnston/DC Report:
Judge Gives Trump Organization the Corporate Death Penalty
Donald Trump is no longer in business.
Worse, the self-proclaimed multibillionaire may soon be personally bankrupt as a result, stripped of just about everything because for years he engaged in calculated bank fraud and insurance fraud by inflating the value of his properties, a judge ruled Tuesday.
His gaudy Trump Tower apartment, his golf courses, his Boeing 757 jet and even Mar-a-Lago could all be disposed of by a court-appointed monitor, leaving Trump with not much more than his pensions as a one term president and a television performer.
Chris Lehmann/The Nation:
The Great Rolling Trump Fraud
A summary judgment in the legal case against the former president rules that he’s exactly as shady as he looks.
Engoron made similarly short work of the two-pronged paper defense Trump and his attorneys mustered for the billions in dodgy valuations they racked up—the magical disclaimer supposedly stipulating that the estimates supplied to bankers, loan officers, and insurers were “worthless”; and the allied contention that any reasonable financial officer would soon override such valuations via standard due-diligence research. “Defendants’ reliance on these ‘worthless’ disclaimers is worthless,” he drily noted. “The clause does not use the word ‘worthless’ or ‘useless” or ‘ignore’ or ‘disregard’ or any similar words. It does not say, ‘the values herein are what I think the properties will be worth in ten or more years.’ Indeed, the quoted language uses ‘current’ no less than five times, and ‘future’ zero times.” And he observes that the due-dilgence dodge is little more than a license to frontload systemic fraud into any company’s business model: “Defendants’ stance is, practically speaking, that they may submit false [suspected fraudulent claims] so long as the recipients know, from their own due diligence, that the information is false.”
Still, there is one limited sense in which Trump’s defense was anchored in reality. In a deposition, Trump contended that he could affix any value he saw fit to any property in question, for the simple reason that he could always “find a buyer from Saudi Arabia” to accept the price.
Philip Bump/The Washington Post:
How much would your house be worth if the Trump Organization owned it?
The New York Post, appearing eager to side with the longtime star of its gossip pages, scoffed at the objective appraisal included in the judge’s ruling, insisting that other assessments put the value of Mar-a-Lago at somewhere around $300 million. Those well-versed in mathematics will notice that this would still mean the $612 million Trump valuation was twice the actual worth of the property.
But here is a different approach. Instead of defending the Trump Organization’s inflation efforts, you can put them to work for you. The tool below allows you to choose a property value between $100,000 and $1 billion (for especially lucky readers) and see how those values might have been presented to investors had the Trump Organization’s inflationary metrics been applied. All of the calculations here are taken from the judge’s ruling, in which the presented value and assessed values are offered explicitly — as in the Seven Springs example above.
Matt Glassman/X via Threadreader:
The answer is that defeating a rule is *negative* agenda setting, while defeating the PQ is *positive* agenda setting.
When you defeat a rule, the leaders who brought the rule cannot set the agenda. But that's the end; you block them from doing something, but that's it. They go back to the side rooms and try to figure out what to do next.
When you defeat the PQ on a rule, you block a *vote* on the rule and leave it live on the floor, open to amendment. You can then propose an amendment to it, and if your coalition that defeated the PQ holds together, you can pass your amendment.
In effect, YOU set the agenda.
This is why it terrifies leaders so much more than a rule defeat, and why it's truly a declaration of war against the leadership. You aren't just saying no to their agenda, you are seeking to substitute *your* agenda.
Mona Charen/The Bulwark:
The Fear Factor in Republican Politics
The MAGA movement has made political violence and intimidation a regular feature of our public life.
This is not new, but that shouldn’t diminish our outrage. On at least 24 occasions, the former president has accused critics of treason. They ranged from Peter Strzok, whose offense was exchanging worried texts with his lover to the then-anonymous administration official who penned a New York Times op-ed saying that many insiders in Trump world were aware of his unfitness to Democrats who declined to applaud at the State of the Union address. Yes, these examples seem like something out of Idiocracy, but millions of Americans, contra Salena Zito, take him literally and seriously.
Now Trump has upped the ante by including a reference to the death penalty, which is in fact a punishment available in cases of treason, not just “in times gone by.” Trump knows full well that some of his more rabid followers may interpret this as an invitation to assassination, just as the January 6th crowd chanted “Hang Mike Pence.” That thuggishness, that play of the finger near the trigger, places Trump in a category all his own in American politics.
That’s why Biden gave that speech on democracy yesterday.
From Matt Robison: