Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner glossed over New York Attorney General Letitia James’ announcement of a civil lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, calling it “inside baseball” and even potentially “political.”
Fox News aired James’ description of the lawsuit for around eight minutes, in which she detailed that she and her office will sue Trump, his adult children and his real estate business for fraud stretching back years.
As the attorney general’s remarks faded into the background, Faulkner summed up the situation very quickly before moving onto a discussion of “The View” and the criticism of Sunny Hostin by Nikki Haley.
“So the New York State Attorney General has just announced a rather lengthy and detailed layout of the lawsuit that she is putting against Donald Trump former president,” she began.
“Some of this is really inside baseball unless it’s your tax dollars in New York, and some people may even accuse it of being political because we’re 48 days away from the midterm elections, and both presidents the current and the past are certainly being looked at to help candidates out,” Faulkner continued. “So we’ll see how this plays out. We’re certainly going to cover it and we’ll bring you highlights as they happen. But the big headline in all of this is the lawsuit by the state of New York today just announced by Letitia James, let’s move on.”
James seeks $250 million in penalties for the Trumps’ perpetuation of major financial fraud, and the suit’s success would prohibit the Trump family from doing any business in New York.
Fox News did not comment on Faulkner’s remarks or the network cutting the news conference short when reached by TheWrap.
“Misrepresenting the size of the apartment was only one of the many ways that Mr. Trump intentionally misvalued his asset for the purposes of increasing his net worth and inducing banks to offer more favorable terms,” James read in the short segment that Fox aired. “Mr. Trump also routinely ignored legal restrictions on development rights and marketability on properties that would significantly decrease property values. For example, let’s take Trump Park Avenue in New York.”
Fox News later had Trump’s former attorney general Bill Barr on to discuss the lawsuit.
Barr, who hasn’t been shy of late in levying criticism toward Trump, said it was hard for him “not to conclude it’s a political hit job” because of the lawsuit’s inclusion of Trump’s adult children.
“Yes, they had roles in the business, but this was his personal financial statement,” Barr said. “It was prepared by the CFO. Accounting firms were involved in it. The children aren’t going to know the details of that and be able — and nor are they expected in the real world to do their own due diligence and have it reviewed independently.”
Barr also called into question the merits of the lawsuit, part of which accuses Trump of overvaluing property in loan applications.
“The fact of the matter is that real estate valuation of a complex real estate company like this is inherently very subjective,” Barr said. “It depends what kinds of assumptions are used. Values can swing, depending on whether it’s viewed as a property that’s going to be split up or one that’s kept together and so forth. So it’s not an exact science.
“And the fact is that banks, sophisticated banks, don’t rely on every jot and tittle in the financial statements. They do their own assessments. They make themselves comfortable. Sometimes, they automatically discount that kind of submission. And they didn’t — no one — the loans were paid back. These were successful investments.
“And the banks were paid back. So, to have spent three years on this, seems to me, her trying to make good on a campaign promise that she was going to bring Trump down.”
You can watch the full Barr segment here.