Eric Schneiderman and Donald Trump

Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr Jerry Nadler/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (CC-BY-SA) Remix by Jason Reed

The man Trump once called a ‘cokehead’ and a ‘loser’ could help sink his presidency

Trump and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman go way back.

Aug 31, 2017, 12:18 pm

Tech

 

Andrew Couts

You never know when the mean things you say about someone could come back to haunt you. For President Donald Trump, that time is now.

Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor leading the Justice Department’s investigation into Russia, has teamed up with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for the investigation into Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, Politico reports.

The partnership expands the probe into Manafort and, importantly, robs Trump of one of his most powerful tools to influence the Russia investigation, which includes looking into whether members of Trump’s team colluded with Russian operatives to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

At issue is Trump’s presidential pardon powers. Last week, Trump pardoned former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whom a federal judge found in contempt of court. The peculiar pardon—Arpaio had not yet been sentenced and did not formally request a pardon, which is standard procedure—raised a question: Did Trump pardon Arpaio to set precedent for him pardoning members of his campaign who refuse to cooperate with the Russia investigation?

Thing is, presidential pardons only apply to federal crimes. By joining forces with Schneiderman, Mueller has expanded the investigation to the state level where Trump has no pardon power.

So how might Schneiderman handle an investigation with the potential to topple a sitting U.S. president? In the case of Trump, it’s unlikely he’ll be kind—the two have had a contentious relationship for years.

Back in 2014, Trump attacked Schneiderman and accused him of potentially being a “cokehead.” The claim stems from an allegation that someone once witnessed Schneiderman snort cocaine when he was a state senator.

Trump also called him a “lightweight,” the “worst attorney general in the U.S.,” and a “loser.”

In other instances, he accused Schneiderman of wearing eyeliner.

Trump and Schneiderman have gone head-to-head in the past. Last year, for example, Schneiderman sued Trump for defrauding students of Trump University. While Trump claimed he would win the suit, he settled for $25 million in December.

With Trump now out of New York and in the White House, Schneiderman has ordered Howard Master, a former assistant U.S. attorney, “to focus specifically on issues involving the Trump administration,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Now, the fate of Trump’s presidency may hinge on how Schneiderman’s office tackles the Manafort investigation. One thing, however, is certain: America should expect Trump tweets disparaging Schneiderman any moment now.

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*First Published: Aug 31, 2017, 12:18 pm