Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, believes that New Yorkers are in danger from the Trump administration.
“The biggest threat to New Yorkers right now is the federal government, so we’re responding to it,” Schneiderman said during a recent interview in his Manhattan office.
His latest lawsuit, waged this month against the Federal Communications Commission, over net neutrality, marks the 100th time his office has taken legal or administrative action against the Trump administration and congressional Republicans.
Schneiderman’s office is seemingly at war with the federal government, and he’s not the only one. Other Democratic state attorneys general are undertaking similar efforts. Some, like Xavier Becerra in California, are even working together, as they oppose Trump on everything from the travel ban and bestowing amnesty on DACA Dreamers to pollution standards, birth control coverage and a variety of other social issues.
According to a report in The New York Times on Tuesday:
How far Mr. Schneiderman is willing to go in taking on Mr. Trump could define his political career, particularly in a blue state where disapproval of the president is high. The attorney general’s office potential for troublemaking and generating national headlines was redefined in the early 2000’s by Eliot Spitzer. Mr. Schneiderman is a less combative man who was often the target of Mr. Trump’s Twitter wrath amid a three-year civil investigation into Trump University. In the end, Mr. Schneiderman’s office extracted a $25 million settlement in the case.
Nonetheless, Mr. Schneiderman is seen by some as a possible backstop should the president exercise his pardon power to help those who might become ensnared in the investigation of possible Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election being led by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel. Federal pardons do not apply to violations of state law.
One columnist at the National Review has called for Schneiderman to recuse himself from any criminal investigation of Trump because his comments and civil actions made it “impossible for the public to have confidence that he could be impartial.”
Schneiderman’s office is reportedly working on other cases, but fighting the Trump administration has been a central focus since the president took office, according to the Times.
“The election was so traumatizing that my first step was to try and, essentially, pick everyone up off the canvas,” Schneiderman told the Times, adding, “I had people who were too depressed to go into work.”
Since then, his office has become “something of a virtual war room,” according to the Times, which describes a Trump database to track federal actions and plan responses. He called the president’s first travel ban a “galvanizing experience” during which his staff “fought back” against a law that was done “to try and hurt New Yorkers.”
“I did anticipate that the administration was going to be aggressively regressive,” Schneiderman told the Times, adding, “I did not anticipate the volume that he was going to start pumping out so quickly. These guys were generating lots of trouble very quickly.”
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