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‘Another Quid Pro Quo’: Trump Accused of Trying to ‘Extort’ NY Governor in Plain Sight

Trump pardons Dinesh D'Souza

Prior to meeting with Andrew Cuomo Thursday, President Donald Trump said the New York governor must drop the state’s myriad lawsuits against the federal government and Trump personally–one of which is aimed at exposing the president’s tax returns.

Just weeks removed from his impeachment on charges of abuse of power, legal and political experts were quick to point out that Trump’s tweet for New York’s top executive appeared to be yet another example of the president misusing the power of his office.

“I’m seeing Governor Cuomo today at The White House. He must understand that National Security far exceeds politics,” Trump wrote Thursday. “New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harassment, start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes. Build relationships, but don’t bring Fredo!”

The Trump administration recently froze New York’s access to the federal Trusted Traveler Program that includes Global Entry, citing the state’s refusal to cooperate with investigations into undocumented immigrants. New York quickly sued. Many read the Trump tweet as follows: drop the harassment and get your expedited travel privileges back.

Since 2019, New York’s Attorney General has filed more than 30 lawsuits against the Trump administration, one of which resulted in the Trump admitting that he misused funds raised by his charity the Donald J. Trump Foundation. He was forced to pay $2 million as part of the legal settlement. Trump’s three adult children were also ordered to undergo mandatory training to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

People quickly pointed out some of the lawsuits New York has brought against Trump.

“Holy cow! He appears to be engaging in another quid pro quo right before our eyes,” Walter Shaub, the former Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics said in response to Trump’s tweet. “I don’t know what to say but HOLY COW! NY must drop its lawsuits against him if New Yorkers want Global Entry status? HOLY COW!!! HOLY COW!!!”

CNN analyst, attorney and former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa compared the Thursday tweet to the president’s phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the one that led to impeachment: “Trump to NY: ‘I’d like you to do me a favor, though.’”

Others, like Vermont Law School professor Jennifer Taub, said Trump’s attempt to curb NY’s lawsuits illustrated that he did not learn anything from being impeached.

Appearing on CNN, Gov. Cuomo slammed Trump’s tweet as “political extortion,” saying it was the result of an administration that “believes they are above the law.”

Glenn Kessler, the editor of the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, also made the Ukraine connection.

The latest outrage did not stop there.

[Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.