My readers know I see their comments, though it’s impossible to answer them all personally. It’s great when people agree with me and appreciate what I have to say, or even get a laugh, but I don’t see my writings as some kind of “safe space” in which I’m just preaching to the choir and not being challenged in any way by people of a different political or philosophical persuasion.
That’s why I’ve chosen to respond to reader John E’s comment on my just-for-fun essay, “20 Questions for Rod Rosenstein.” He sent several additional questions for Rosenstein to answer, none having the least bit to do with what Rosenstein is being called in to talk about, and none of them for fun (too bad), but all having to do with Trump, some of them concerning his activities and investments from years gone by. Maybe he was just trying to be snarky, but I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he genuinely desires answers. Oh, and he finished with a special question just for me, I guess because he likes me so much.
Since Rosenstein isn’t answering questions right now and perhaps will be taking his sweet time about it, I thought I’d go ahead and surprise John E by answering all of his questions myself, as matter-of-factly as possible while trying to stay brief. Keep in mind that some of the questions could have entire books written about them; in fact, they probably have. I’m not a lawyer, either, as Rosenstein is, but here goes...
Q: How many people got defrauded by Trump University?
A: Trump University was never an accredited school; in that sense, yes, it should have had quotation marks around the word “University.” (Towards the end of its life, its name was changed to “The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative.”) It gave no college credit, didn’t grant degrees or grade its students, and it did use hard-sell marketing techniques. The civil case brought by New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and joined by two suits in California was settled for $25 million. According to Wikipedia, about 7,000 former students –- another source said 5,000 –- were at some point part of the class action, but since it was settled there was no verdict, so there was no legal determination that they were “defrauded” and I can’t give you a number. As far as I know, those who stayed in were paid according to the settlement, and the lawyers (at least the ones in New York) reportedly worked pro bono to bring the case against Trump.
ARE YOU VOTING IN THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS? LET ME KNOW HERE>>>
1,000,000 IDENTIFIED VOTERS GOAL! RESPOND TODAY!
Q: Why did then-attorneys general of Florida and Texas stop their prosecutions of Trump University (about the same time they got campaign contributions from Donald)?
A: In 2010, Texas Attorney General (now Governor) Gregg Abbott investigated Trump University, but when he asked for customer lists and other documents, the company simply ceased operating in Texas. (My understanding is that it hadn’t done much there and was just about to shut down completely.) Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was challenged on the timing of a $25,000 donation to a pro-Bondi group called “And Justice For All,” but she had solicited that donation months before the lawsuit was at issue.
Q: How did Trump manage to avoid the normal investigations by the NJ Gaming Commission when he was applying for his casino license?
A: Do you mean his tax returns? According to CNN, he did supply five years of returns to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission as required to get his license. It was understood that they wouldn’t be made public unless they were introduced as evidence in court proceedings about casino licenses, which didn’t happen. Also, it seems his casinos did face quite a lot of scrutiny by the Commission and paid a total of over $1 million in fines. The rulings on any of the casino violations did not implicate Trump personally.
Q: Why have so many people from Trump’s campaign pleaded guilty?
A: No one in Trump’s campaign has pleaded guilty to anything having to do with Russia, and after more than two years there is still no evidence that anyone “colluded.” (To find a campaign that actually did collude, check out Hillary’s; the evidence is clear.) A good example of one of these guilty pleas is that of former national security advisor Gen. Michael Flynn, whose name was illegally unmasked from classified documents and who, after decades of service to his country, lost his job and home. To end the legal nightmare, he pleaded guilty to lying to FBI questioners when even THEY didn’t think he had been trying to deceive them.
Q: Why does Trump use Hitler’s propaganda technique called “The Big Lie”?
A: The Big Lie is a strategy of propaganda focused on the large-scale dissemination of one main lie propped up by many smaller, supporting lies underneath. Naziism (National Socialism) was held up by one huge, despicable lie: that Jews were to blame for the defeat in World War I and must be purged from the population. There is no word harsh enough to express how strongly I disagree with anyone who compares Trump’s communication style with this monstrous type of propaganda, and your question is of the “When did you stop beating your wife” variety. But as long as we’re talking about big lies, how about this one: “Republicans are evil, greedy racists who want to kill black people and push Granny’s wheelchair over the cliff”? I hear that whopper every day.
Q: Why doesn’t the IRS investigate Trump for tax fraud?
A: The IRS doesn’t announce the names of people it is investigating. If they were investigating Trump, we wouldn’t hear about it. If they find something, they can bring a case when he leaves office.
Q: What organized crime figures has Trump associated with over the years?
A: It’s always hilarious when this question is asked about anyone who’s worked in the New York construction business.
Q: (Asked of me specifically) Is there any evidence that Trump is really a Christian or is he just using Evangelicals in his quest for power?
A: You appear to have read your Saul Alinsky and know the tactics for discrediting an opposition leader. But it won’t work. Evangelicals have made peace with Trump’s presidency and refuse to make the perfect the enemy of the good when it comes to his leadership. We aren’t going to pick Trump apart on his personal faith, as you would love to see us do, when he has communed with us, listened to us, learned from us, appreciated us, and supported our most dearly held views such as the value of unborn life and our rights under the Constitution. We pray that God will guide him as he continues to grow in his leadership, and we know that God forgives.
Well, that does it. If John E really wanted some answers, I tried to give them with facts, not with spin. I hope I did a better job of answering questions for those on the left than, say, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does. Since they apparently like her a lot, it must be that their standards for accuracy aren’t very high.