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In 2006, when a judge ordered
Donald Trump's casino operation to hand over several years' worth of emails, the answer surprised him: The Trump Organization routinely erased emails and had no records from 1996 to 2001. The defendants in a case that Trump brought said this amounted to destruction of evidence, a charge never resolved.
At that time, a Trump IT director testified that until 2001, executives in Trump Tower relied on personal email accounts using dial-up Internet services, despite the fact that Trump had launched a high-speed Internet provider in 1998 and announced he would wire his whole building with it. Another said Trump had no routine process for preserving emails before 2005.
Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld was stunned. “He has a house up in
Palm Beach Countylisted for $125 million, but he doesn’t keep emails. That’s a tough one,” he said, according to transcripts obtained by USA TODAY. “If somebody starts to put forth as a fact something that doesn’t make any sense to me and causes me to have a concern about their credibility in the discovery process, that's not a good direction to go, and I am really having a hard time with this.”
Now, a decade later, Trump regularly hammers
Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, for using her own email server while she was secretary of State and deleting emails from that server that she deemed to be private. In a war of tweets with Clinton a week ago, Trump wrote, “And where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?” On the CBS News program Face the Nationearlier this month, Trump said, "What she did is a criminal situation. She wasn't supposed to do that with the server and the emails."
A USA TODAY Network analysis found that Trump has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past three decades. In this case, while Trump was not accused of doing anything illegal at the time and he clearly was not a public official, there are, nonetheless, fascinating parallels between the events of 2006 and the current campaign.
Trump campaign and his lawyers have not responded to requests for comment on this story.
The preservation of email was a central point of contention in the suit filed in 2004 by Trump's publicly traded casino company, called
Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, against a former employee, Richard Fields. The gist of the Trump company's suit in a Broward County, Fla., court was that while he was working with Trump, Fields had developed the idea of working with the Seminole Tribe in Florida to build a casino, then told Trump the idea wasn’t going to fly. Fields then left Trump’s employ at the end of the 1990s and struck the same deal with other partners.
Trump sued Fields and the companies he had ended up working with on a Seminole casino, arguing that Trump Hotels should be entitled to all profits the casinos produced, which were expected at the time to be more than $1 billion over 10 years.
The companies Trump sued argued that if it was true that Trump Hotels had been pursuing a similar deal with the tribe, there would be emails and other records documenting their discussions. The judge agreed and ordered Trump Hotels to hand over emails, financial documents, executive meeting calendars and so forth.
In a March 2006 hearing, the Trump company's lawyer, Robert Borrello, said Trump didn’t use email himself and his company didn’t retain emails. “My understanding from speaking to my client is that there are no emails,” Borrello said, according to a transcript obtained by USA TODAY. “They don’t keep emails from the time period from ’96 until within the last couple of years, when the organization instituted retention procedures for keeping emails electronically.”
Streitfeld, who has since retired, told USA TODAY he remembers the case. “I was a bit incredulous that an organization of that significance doesn’t do email,” Streitfeld said. “I had heard a number of things in 24 years on the bench, but that stuck in my mind.”
Today, the Vice President met in his Ceremonial Office with law enforcement leaders from across the country to continue the discussion about how we can better build improve trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. The Vice President thanked them for their unwavering and steadfast service and recognized that often they are asked to bear a tremendous share of the burden of dealing with broad frustrations with underlying societal challenges in communities across the country. He discussed with them ways to better support officer training as well as the need to ensure police have the resources they need to engage in community policing. The Vice President reiterated his commitment to finding solutions to reduce the anxiety felt by both law enforcement and the communities they protect, and he discussed his plan to continue to reconvene law enforcement and community leaders around the country for ongoing discussion.
The following individuals attended the meeting:
Law Enforcement leaders:
Sheriff Michael Chapman, Loudoun County, Major Counties Sheriffs' Association
Cathy Sanz, President, Women in Federal Law Enforcement
Chuck Canterbury, President of the Fraternal Order of Police
Chief Terrence Cunningham, International Association of Chiefs of Police
William Johnson, Executive Director, National Association of Police Organizations, , Executive Director, National Sheriffs' Association
Perry Tarrant, President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Assistant Chief, Seattle Police Department
Jonathan Thompson, Executive Director, National Sheriffs' Association
Chuck Wexler, Executive Director, Police Executive Research Forum
Chief Tom Manger, Major Cities Chiefs Association
Vice President Joe Biden
Neil Eggleston, White House Counsel
Don Graves, Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor to the Vice President
Greg Schultz, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to the Vice President
Noble Wray, Director, Policing Practices and Accountability Initiative, COPS Office, Department of Justice
|Defining the Relationship. Since asking Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails last week (turns out he didn’t have to ask), Trump’s connection to Putin has been back in the spotlight. Over the weekend, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Trump denied having any relationship with Putin, despite having said in 2013, 2014, and 2015 that he did. Watch the video. In the same interview, he defended his character saying, “I have one of the great temperaments… I have a temperament where I know how to win” and promised that Putin wouldn’t invade Ukraine—apparently not realizing that has already happened. And he’s not the only one saying that.|
|There’s more. Trump and Putin’s relationship status isn’t the only reason the campaign’s ties to Russia are in the news. Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort has a long history with Russia and Ukraine (as well as other troubling foreign leaders). In fact, Manafort was the top outside political strategist for Ukraine’s former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. This weekend, Manafort denied that the Trump campaign gutted the Republican Party platform's anti-Russian stanceon the Ukraine. Not everyone remembers it that way. For the full Manafort/Trump/Russia/Ukraine story, read this.|