On May 7th, the New Yorker reported an explosive story that saw four women accusing New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of sexual and physical abuse. Schneiderman resigned hours later.
A state AG being taken down by horrific deeds wouldn’t ordinarily make much noise, but Schneiderman has been a constant thorn in President Trump’s side, having filed civil and criminal cases against Trump, his administration, and a variety of his cronies.
Given how hard Schneiderman and his office have been gunning for Trump, it’s not surprising that there would be some antagonism between the two.
But it IS surprising that that antagonism seems to date back years – and played out in public on Twitter.
Trump tweeted about Schneiderman 47 times (including once where he spelled his name wrong) between August 24, 2013 and the end of 2014.
Most are just standard issue Trump complaining and taunting, but there are a few where he insinuates he has damaging information on Schneiderman – and that it’s going to come out.
Here’s one from September 2013:
From a few days later:
And here’s one from 2014, where the future president calls Schneiderman a coke head:
Naturally, Trump’s seeming prediction about Schneiderman having skeletons in his closet peaked the interest of the conspiracy theorists tweeting under #QAnon, who are already predisposed to think Trump is a genius playing 12-dimensional chess while the rest of are playing Candyland.
To QAnon, Trump tweets were nothing short of an admission that he has information nobody else has, and is concrete evidence of the Q catchphrase “future proves past.”
At first glance, it really does seem like Trump knows something about Schneiderman that nobody else did. Did he have damaging dirt on him? Had he known about Schneiderman’s abuse and kept it to himself?
However, a deeper dive into this story makes this seem less likely – and makes it much more about a grudge Trump held against a foe of his dodgy business empire.
The majority of Trump’s Schneiderman tweets came after August 25, 2013. He’s only got two from before then, and from January 1 2009 until June 2013, Trump never even mentioned his name.
What happened between Trump and Schniederman in August 2013?
The first tweet from August is our key to understanding the whole thing:
Schneiderman filed suit against Trump on August 23rd, alleging that his Trump University real estate seminar was a fraud that “engaged in deception at every stage of consumers’ advancement through costly programs and [that] caused real financial harm.”
Trump fixer and future subject of an FBI raid Michael Cohen shot back that 98% of Trump University “students” were satisfied with the course, and that the lawsuit was only taking place “because [Schneiderman] felt that Mr. Trump and his various companies should have done much more for him in terms of fundraising.”
With that in mind, it’s important to note that almost all of the tweets insinuate financial impropriety by Schneiderman, which is not what the New Yorker story alleges. No hint is given that Schneiderman was involved in any kind of sexual abuse – because if Trump knew, he surely would have used it against his rival.
Trump had a regular practice of donating to state officials who had the power to look the other way at his various financial shenanigans. And so it was with Schneiderman, who got $12,500 from The Donald in 2010. The last thing Trump likely expected was a lawsuit from a politician to whom he gave money.
But a lawsuit it was, and after years of haggling in court, Trump settled it for $25 million – a settlement that was only finalized last month.
With all of this in mind, it’s clear that the #QAnon claims of Trump “predicting” Schneiderman’s downfall are false, and that Trump was only publicly sparring with a state official costing him money.
It’s almost certain that Schneiderman’s resignation won’t do much more than slightly delay the various cases against Trump winding their way through the New York courts. Trump knows how damaging these cases can be to him and his entourage, since Trump has no power to pardon crimes at the state level.
Trump might be able to pat himself on the back for “bringing down” a rival, but the fact is that the only one to blame for Schneiderman’s abrupt downfall is Schneiderman himself.