Wash. Post's David Fahrenthold Explains The Potential Legal Problems With Trump's Pam Bondi Donation

Fahrenthold: Trump “Used To Brag A Lot Back During The Primaries” That “He Gave Money And Government Officials Did What He Wanted. This Seems Like A Clear Example Of That”

From the September 6 edition of CNN's At This Hour With Berman and Bolduan

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JOHN BERMAN (CO-HOST): It is the $25,000 question in politics right now. Donald Trump dismissing questions about a donation his foundation made to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's reelection campaign back in 2013. Now this gift came around the time that Bondi was thinking about opening a fraud investigation into Trump University.


DAVID FAHRENTHOLD: So in 2013, Pam Bondi, the attorney general of Florida, has basically a decision to make. Some folks in Florida have come to her with complaints that they feel like they were defrauded by Trump University. She's trying to decide whether she should turn those things into some sort of formal fraud investigation. At that time, when this decision is sort of on her desk, she actually personally solicits a campaign contribution from Trump, the head of Trump University, which he gives, $25,000. He gives it out of his Trump Foundation, which is a charity and is not allowed to make political gifts like that. After the $25,000 gift is given, Bondi decides not to press the investigation on Trump University. It sort of goes away in Florida. So that's what happened back then. Now, we're dealing with the IRS fallout from the way Trump made this contribution. 

BERMAN: What are the open questions here, David, that you see as a reporter here? Because what you hear from a lot of people on the left is, “Oh my God what you have here is a quid pro quo. Trump gives money. Bondi doesn't investigate.”

FAHRENTHOLD: Well the difference between Trump and [Hillary] Clinton, obviously, is that Trump was not in government. He was outside government trying to make government do what he wanted. And he used to brag a lot back during the primaries that that's what he did, he gave money and government officials did what he wanted. This seems like a clear example of that. Although he's sort of backing away from that here and now. So there's two questions, one in Florida, what did Bondi do? Did Bondi break the law? Did Bondi do something she wasn't suppose to do by asking somebody for money while she was thinking about investigating him? From Trump's perspective, there's a real interesting question here with his taxes. He actually sent tax forms from his foundation to the IRS that covered up this donation. They say it was inadvertent, but they basically listed a fake, false donation in their tax filings that had the effect of hiding this donation that they shouldn't have given. Now the question is will there be any more fallout from Trump as a result of that? 


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