For decades, this guy has managed to dodge and delay any sort of accountability for most of the awful things he’s done. He didn’t escape responsibility because he was clever; he did it because he inherited a buttload of money, which allowed him to retain very expensive, highly skilled lawyers and accountants.
Trump’s entire reputation as a deal-maker and businessman was built on his access to those people. He was able to walk into meetings, make demands, then wander off while his legal-financial team worked out the details of the actual deal. Trump would then take credit for his team’s success (or blame them for the deal’s failure). But even the best lawyers and accountants couldn’t prevent Trump from fucking things up.
I mean, he had six (6!) corporate bankruptcies, and each time his lawyers/accountants were able to allow Trump to slide out from under his legitimate debts and remain in business. The guy bankrupted his own casinos, for fuck’s sake. How do you lose money running a casino? He’s been involved in numerous (at least 3500 lawsuits in the past 30 years) contract disputes (mostly for failure to pay his bills), tax cases, defamation claims, and allegations of sexual harassment. And, again, in almost all of those cases his lawyers/accountants protected Trump from serious criminal or financial harm.
But Trump being Trump, he also tended to stiff many of his lawyers out of their fees. Over time, that’s made it harder for him to hire effective counsel. Now, he finds himself scrabbling to find a good lawyer. After well-known litigator Marc Kasowitz withdrew his services last September, Trump engaged lawyer Alina Habba whose office is near his Bedminster, NJ golf club and whose biggest prior client was a parking garage company. (By the way, that doesn’t mean she’s not a good lawyer; it just means top tier lawyers have stopped taking Trump’s calls).
And now his accountants are taking a hike. A few days ago they completely severed their relationship with Trump and the Trump Organization. Looking beyond the delicate legal phrasing, his accountants basically said 1) they believe Trump has been lying about his assets and debts over the last decade, 2) they’ve seen/heard the evidence held by the Attorney General of New York–and they believe it, 3) Trump ought to cowboy up and inform his creditors of all this, and 4) they’re out the door, goodbye, good luck, you’re on your own.
Trump is going to face the same problem with accountants as he has with lawyers. No big hat accounting firm is going to pick up when he calls them. That’s a HUGE problem for him, because he owes a metric shit-ton of cash (at least US$400 million and up to about $1.1 billion) to various banks and lending institutions. He and his organization were able to borrow all that money based on the information Trump had provided to his accountants. Now that his accountants have pissed in his soup, it’s unlikely those banks will refinance his loans. It’s possible some of them will call in their loans.
If that’s not enough, a couple of days ago a NY judge agreed with the Attorney General of NY that Trump (and three of his feral children) must submit themselves for a deposition within 21 days. As always, he’s trying to delay that…and he may succeed for a while. But it’s pretty clear he’ll eventually be testifying under oath in a civil case. That’s a big deal for a couple of reasons. First, because Trump can’t/won’t stop lying. Lying under oath is a crime. I can’t see any situation in which Donald Trump can talk about his finances and not lie. Hell, I can’t imagine a situation in which Trump would talk about anything at all without lying.
Second, probably the only way Trump can avoid lying in a deposition is to invoke his 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. But that will also bite him on the ass. In a criminal case, a jury isn’t allowed to draw any adverse inference about a defendant who takes the 5th Amendment. In a civil case, a jury CAN assume that a defendant who takes the 5th is hiding something.
That’s just his civil legal problems. Trump is also facing a variety of criminal charges in at least two jurisdictions.
There’s a tsunami of trouble coming for Comrade Trump, and the legal breakwater that’s protected him for so long has eroded. The guy is fucked. He’s fucked. Totally and comprehensively fucked.