The Trump Organization was found guilty Tuesday on nine criminal counts of tax fraud, falsifying business records, and engaging in a conspiracy, and could be hit with a fine of $1.6 million for those crimes—but Matthew Whitaker, Donald Trump’s former acting attorney general, doesn’t seem to think any of it was “that serious.”
Appearing on Newsmax, Whitaker was clearly defensive of his former boss. The investigation into Trump’s company, he asserted, was the result of “very aggressive prosecutors that want to do anything they can to dirty up and go after” Trump.
Whitaker then glossed over the illegal tax avoidance schemes by top executives like Allen Weisselberg, claiming they took “an aggressive tax position that they couldn’t support, ultimately.”
Of the crimes, Whitaker had a similarly flimsy response. “It’s a serious—but not like, you know, that serious [offense],” he said.
“It’s one of those things where New York had every right to try to pursue this case, but I’m not sure that ultimately Donald Trump could get a fair trial or that the Trump Organization is going to get a fair trial in New York City in front of a New York jury,” Whitaker continued, along the lines of what the ex-president whined about in a statement earlier in the day.
As for Whitaker’s interviewer, Newsmax host John Bachman also parroted Trump’s line about violent crime in the city, apparently as some sort of defense.
“You wonder how the people of New York feel about this,” he said of the verdict, which was handed down by Manhattan residents, “when you got surveillance video—I think the newest one is just some guy walking down the street beating somebody up with a bat.”
“Like the president indicated there, you don’t feel safe on the subway, but the Trump organization—yes, their tax strategy has been exposed. Thank you to Alvin Bragg,” he said, sarcastically, of the Manhattan district attorney.