NY orders Trump to pay $2 million settlement for phony charity’s criminal activity

On Thursday’s edition of CNN’s “The Situation Room,” reporter Athena Jones walked through the events that led to President Donald Trump agreeing to a $2 million settlement with the state of New York.

“President Trump settled this lawsuit after vowing not to do so,” said anchor Wolf Blitzer. “So what happened? What’s the latest?”

“We know he’s being forced to pay $2 million in damages,” said Jones. “And it’s a pretty unusual position for the president to find himself in. You don’t have that every day, a sitting president forced to pay damages in a suit like this. This is a civil lawsuit that was brought by the attorney general of the state of New York in June 2018 accusing Trump and three of his adult children, Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka of a pattern of consistent illegal conduct. We’re talking self-dealing, abusing the charity’s nonprofit status, violating state laws and campaign finance law.”

“You’ll remember, one of the interesting details from the self-dealing part of this was the $10,000 that Trump through his charity used to pay for a portrait of Trump himself,” said Jones. “That portrait, as you see there, was hanging at Trump’s National Doral golf resort in Florida. They also used $100,000 from the charity to settle a legal dispute involving another resort of the president’s in Florida, the Mar-a-Lago resort. That’s the self-dealing side.”

“Also violations of campaign finance laws,” Jones continued. “The charity coordinating directly with the campaign. You may remember the fundraiser then-candidate Trump had a few days before the Iowa caucuses in January of 2016. He held a fundraiser instead of going to a debate with the other GOP rivals for the nomination. So that fundraiser raised $2.8 million, and they said it was for veterans groups. Instead the president directed that money to go to certain groups just days before the caucuses. Those are a couple of examples of the allegations that the president and his children had to settle in this suit.”