New York’s attorney general Eric Schneiderman who was pursuing Donald Trump, resigns in the face of a scandal

New York’s attorney general Eric Schneiderman who was pursuing Donald Trump, resigns in the face of a scandal

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 State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman abruptly resigned on Monday, 
May 7 night just hours after the New Yorker published a bombshell report
 about his personal life alleging he was violent toward four different 
women. Schneiderman, who did not respond to a request for comment on 
this story, issued a statement saying he had merely engaged in sexual 

Schneiderman, who was elected in 2010, 
had been pursuing Trump on several fronts — his personal business, the 
special counsel investigation into the 2016 election and on behalf of 
New York state against actions taken by the Trump administration.

Trump allies — including his son Donald Trump Jr. and counselor Kellyanne Conway — celebrated the news of Schneiderman’s downfall.

“Gotcha,” Conway tweeted.

Schneiderman’s perch in the Empire State
 gave him jurisdiction over Trump’s company. He first took on Donald 
Trump in August 2013 when he sued Trump for fraud
 in conjunction with Trump University, a seminar series that the former 
attorney general called a “sham.”  Trump agreed to pay a $25 million 
settlement to students of the program who had brought their own lawsuit,
 claiming they had been misled with false claims that the costly courses
 would guarantee success in the real estate business.

Since Trump took office, Schneiderman has been cooperating with Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s
 role in Trump’s election. That was a threat to Trump because the 
president could pardon anyone indicted by Mueller but has no pardon 
power over state charges. In Albany, N.Y., Schneiderman had been pushing
 to change New York law to close a double-jeopardy loophole that might 
have prevented him from bringing charges in that situation.

Along with his work with Mueller, 
Schneiderman has filed a flurry of lawsuits against the Trump 
administration. This blitz included suits against each iteration of 
Trump’s travel ban, the repeal of DACA and rollbacks in emissions standards. Schneiderman’s office filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court in cases involving the travel ban and LGBT discrimination. Other states also joined many of these suits, but Schneiderman often led the coalitions.

It’s not known if Schneiderman has been conducting its own investigations into Trump’s affairs. His office has not commented.

With Schneiderman stepping down, the 
solicitor general, Barbara Underwood, becomes acting attorney general. A
 new attorney general could be chosen by the state Legislature, with 
both houses meeting in joint session. Democrats, led by Assembly Speaker
 Carl Heastie, have the majority and would be able to pick 
Schneiderman’s replacement. Multiple sources have told Yahoo News that 
the leading contenders include New York City Public Advocate Letitia 
James, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Rep. Kathleen Rice, 
state Sen. Michael Gianaris and state Sen. Jeffrey Klein. Heastie did 
not respond to multiple requests for comment.

On Tuesday, the political buzz centered 
on James, who is known to be interested in the office and previously 
worked as an assistant attorney general. As public advocate, a nebulous 
position, she is New York City’s second-highest elected official and one
 of the state’s most prominent African-American women in office. A 
source familiar with the workings of the attorney general’s office 
predicted James would be a vocal opponent of Trump if she’s tapped for 
the job.

“I think she would be aggressive and political in terms of going after Trump,” the source said.

But any replacement picked by the 
Legislature will serve out only the remainder of Schneiderman’s term, 
which ends in December, unless that replacement runs for a full 
four-year term in November. Party primaries are on Sept. 13.

A well-connected New York politico said 
legislators may forego naming a temporary replacement, leaving Underwood
 in the job and allowing voters to decide who should fill the office. 
Although there is already political pressure for the Legislature to 
choose this option, it would deprive legislators of the opportunity to 
reward a favorite and affect the shape of multiple upcoming races.

The source familiar with the workings of
 the attorney general’s office predicted that, if Underwood remains in 
place, she would continue Schneiderman’s existing work.

“If it’s Barbara Underwood, she’s like a lawyer’s lawyer,” the source said, noting she has argued before the Supreme Court.

“I imagine she would continue all the 
Supreme Court actions, but I don’t know how aggressive she’d be in terms
 of going after new actions,” the source said.

As for the election, New York’s 
statewide races generally lean Democratic, but Republicans are hoping 
Schneiderman’s woes could give them an opening. Republican Manny 
Alicandro, a corporate lawyer, launched a campaign shortly before the 
news broke. With Schneiderman out of the picture, more high-profile GOP 
candidates could also enter the fray. A Republican victory would be a 
major boon to Trump. Alicandro has criticized Schneiderman’s attacks on 
the White House as attention-seeking gamesmanship.

There are at least two Democratic 
prospects eyeing that race who aren’t on the Legislature’s shortlist — 
former gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout and ex-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Teachout gained notoriety in the state 
by mounting a surprisingly successful progressive challenge to Gov. 
Andrew Cuomo in 2014. In a tweet on Tuesday, Teachout said she is 
“seriously considering running for Attorney General.” Bharara was fired 
by Trump last year and has since emerged as a major critic of the White 
House on Twitter and in a popular podcast.


If Schneiderman’s successor takes on 
Trump, that person may have the advantage of putting in a full day at 
the office. The report detailing the abuse allegations also claimed 
Schneiderman drank heavily and used prescription drugs. Although all of 
the insiders who spoke to Yahoo News said they were stunned by the 
allegations, multiple sources who worked with Schneiderman said he 
regularly showed up to work several hours late.

“We just thought he was lazy,” a source said.


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