Politico reports: “I like you. You and me, we’re going to be best friends.”
It is early January, and Eric Schneiderman is sitting in his 25th-floor office above Lower Manhattan, doing his best Donald Trump impression, puckering his lips into a duck face, scrunching up his nose and lowering his voice into something that resembles the president’s outer-borough growl.
Schneiderman is recalling his meeting with Trump in 2010. Back then, Schneiderman was running for attorney general of New York, and Trump was still in his pre-birther, reality TV host phase. Trump had donated money to one of Schneiderman’s opponents in the Democratic primary. Schneiderman managed to pull off a come-from-behind victory, and after the race, he went to Trump Tower to ask for a donation for the general election. Trump coughed up $12,500 to the Democrat, and Schneiderman went on to beat his Republican opponent and win.
But Trump and Schneiderman did not become best friends. That meeting was the beginning of a long and increasingly bitter saga between the two. Schneiderman took up the state’s existing case against Trump University — New York wanted the school to drop the “university” from its name, since it was not chartered as an institution of higher learning and lacked a license to offer instruction — and as he pursued it over the next five years, he became the target of a relentless series of personal attacks from the Trump camp. Trump filed an ethics complaint alleging that Schneiderman offered to drop the suit in exchange for donations; he went on television to denounce Schneiderman as a hack and a lightweight, and said he was wasting millions of taxpayer dollars when he should have been going after Wall Street. (Never mind that Schneiderman had already been declared “the man the banks fear most” by the liberal magazine The American Prospect.) “The whole scorched-earth strategy towards those who would challenge him, we got a preview of,” says Schneiderman. [Continue reading…]