According to the former assistant attorney general for the state of New York, virtually anyone who comes in close contact with Donald Trump has the potential to be a witness against him one day because, in the long run, he treats everyone poorly.
Writing at the Washington Post, Tristan Snell -- who led the investigation against Trump that eventually led to a $25 million settlement between President Trump and students of his now-shuttered Trump University -- said Trump has a history of leaving disgruntled staffers and aides in his wake.
"If anyone would seem to be immune from this divine justice, it’s Trump. Yet, even he might begin to experience its gravitational pull," Snell began. "Long notorious for his mistreatment of lieutenants and business partners, Trump may finally be reaping what he has sown, as those he has shirked or humiliated are turning on him with increasing rapidity. This creates critical opportunities for those investigating Trump in the impeachment inquiry."
Writing, "Prosecutors and investigators always look out for mistreated ex-associates who can help bring down a target," Snell added, "The New York attorney general’s civil prosecution of Trump University in 2013, which I helped lead, was a prime example. The Trump Organization’s lawyers were not cooperating with our investigation. They were stonewalling us, only giving us a small percentage of the documents we had subpoenaed from them."
According to the attorney, prosecutors were forced to look elsewhere, which is where they found a goldmine of people who had dealt with Trump who were willing to talk with a little prodding.
"Through discovery in our lawsuit against Trump, we obtained emails from vendors whom the Trump team had refused to pay — with some outstanding invoices above $10,000 each. One vendor, who we believed held critical documents, was initially reluctant to speak to us, but once I asked about their unpaid invoice, it was like I had flipped a switch," he recalled. "The evidence they provided was crucial in corroborating our witnesses and allowing us to make a much stronger case against Trump University, resulting in a $25 million settlement."
According to Snell, Trump has an ongoing history of dishing out abuse to friends and foes alike.
"He seems to have a deep-seated urge to humiliate a counterparty, even when the other person or entity is an erstwhile friend, and even when the shrewd move would be to placate. To Trump, revenge is a dish best served immediately, in public and as scalding as possible," Snell wrote. "But humiliation breeds resentment. Rather than retaining departed partners as allies, or at least neutral parties, he turns them into adverse parties who may reappear to share what they know — especially now as he fights impeachment."
According to the attorney, Trump is now reaping what he has sown, based upon the impeachment testimony of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and stretching back to former Trump fixer Michael Cohen.
Snell notes that more shoes are about to fall because of witnesses who still may appear before congressional investigators.
"Even bigger dangers lurk ahead for Trump, depending on how he treats his remaining allies. Mick Mulvaney has had the humiliating 'acting' qualifier next to his 'chief of staff' title for 10 months now," he explained. "Testimony on Wednesday by Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, confirmed Trump was in control of masterminding the effort to use U.S. aid to Ukraine as leverage to benefit his reelection — and Trump, perhaps mindful of the possibility that criticism could backfire, claimed he 'didn’t know him very well' but he 'seems like a nice guy.'"
"Generally, Trump’s reaction when past associates turn on him has not been stellar. Just ask Michael Cohen or Anthony Scaramucci or Omarosa Manigault Newman. Trump could still easily unleash a vindictive tweetstorm at Sondland," he continued before stating that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani could be next in line.
"For Giuliani, who has been acting as Trump’s personal lawyer during impeachment, to tell all he knows could be ruinous to Trump," he wrote. "Or perhaps in the end, Trump will still prevail, despite alienating everyone who comes near him. With enemies like these, who needs friends?"
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