Donald Trump is continuing to get hammered in court. Last week ended with a trio of legal setbacks for Trump in New York that would take over the news cycle in any normal presidency. With Trump, these developments are just raindrops in a growing thunderstorm of bad news.
On Thursday, a New York appeals court gave Summer Zervos the green light to proceed with her defamation lawsuit against Trump. A former contestant on The Apprentice, Zervos claimed that Trump groped and kissed her without her consent. Trump denied the allegations, calling them “100% false” and a “hoax.” Zervos then sued Trump under New York law for defamation, claiming that he damaged her reputation by falsely painting her as a liar.
Trump loves to trample on the Constitution except when he thinks it might protect him. In this instance, Trump tried to hide behind the Constitution’s supremacy clause, which prevents states from interfering with the federal government’s powers. His lawyers argued that the Constitution bars Zervos from bringing the claim because he is the President of the United States. But the court agreed with Zervos, ruling 3-2 that even presidents are not immune from state level defamation lawsuits.
Also on Thursday, New York Attorney General Letitia James made a new filing in the state’s lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Her office already succeeded in getting a court-supervised takedown of the Foundation in December. But now she is asking a judge to order Trump to pay a $5.6 million penalty and $2.8 million in restitution, and to ban Trump, Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric from running any New York charity for the next decade. The filing reveals that James is armed with a wealth of “uncontroverted evidence” establishing that Trump “used Foundation funds to, among other things, pay for portraits of himself; make political donations, pay for advertising for Trump hotels, settle lawsuits involving the Trump Organization, and to improperly intervene in the 2016 election.”
Finally, on Friday, a federal judge in New York ruled against the Trump administration in a class-action lawsuit on immigration. Under federal law, migrants who prove they were “abused, abandoned, or neglected” by their parents are entitled to a pathway to lawful permanent residence. But in a blow to Trump’s hardline immigration aspirations, a judge ruled that the Trump administration wildly misconstrued the law and illegally denied this special status to thousands of qualified people.
Donald Trump’s new legal setbacks were no doubt one ingredient in the stew that led to his Twitter hysteria over the weekend. Trump attacked the late Senator John McCain, threatened Saturday Night Live with a federal investigation after it aired a rerun, and barked orders at Fox News. This all reflects Trump’s growing desperation, as the “president” who is obsessed with winning continues losing bigly.