New York's combative attorney general reached a major milestone in his battle with the Trump administration -- and he could be a last resort in the Russia probe

  • New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman just filed his 100th action against the Trump administration or congressional Republicans since the president’s election victory last fall.
  • Some view him as a possible last resort in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently took his 100th legal or administrative action against President Donald Trump’s administration or congressional Republicans since Trump’s victory last fall – and some view him as a potential last resort in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling.

As The New York Times reported Tuesday, Schneiderman’s recent suit against the Federal Communications Commission after the net neutrality repeal marked his 100th such move aimed at the Trump administration, a monumental total within the span on one year. Some of his other actions have included challenging each of Trump’s travel bans, weakening of Environmental Protection Agency standards, and rollbacks in birth control coverage.

“We try and protect New Yorkers from those who would do them harm,” Schneiderman told The Times. “The biggest threat to New Yorkers right now is the federal government, so we’re responding to it.”

Schneiderman’s most prominent action against Trump, who before taking office lived in New York under the attorney general’s jurisdiction, came in the form of a lawsuit against Trump University which resulted in Trump paying a $US25 million settlement.

As that inquiry was playing out, Trump took aim at Schneiderman for the better part of three years – relentlessly bashing him on Twitter. In total, Trump tweeted aboutSchneiderman roughly 50 times from 2013 through 2015.

The future president attacked Schneiderman as “feckless and corrupt,” a “total loser,” a “shakedown artist,” a “lightweight,” “incompetent,” “the least respected AG in the US,” a “total joke,” a “total crook,” and “failing.”

Trump even, without evidence, accused Schneiderman of being a “cokehead” and demanded he take a drug test. He also accused the attorney general of wearing “eyeliner” because of his dark eyelashes, which The Times reported has been attributed to side effects from glaucoma medication.

“Before Lyin’ Ted and Little Marco, I had my nickname,” Schneiderman told The Times. “I didn’t have any reason to believe he would change” once in office.

Schneiderman said he did not expect Trump to become more presidential once he took the oath of office in January.

“I probably had more realistic expectations,” he said. “I saw the scorched-earth approach. He sued me for $US100 million. He filed phony ethics complaints. He set up a website to attack me.”

We’ll do ‘whatever we can do to see that justice is done’

Schneiderman is now viewed by some, as The Times wrote, as “a possible backstop should the president exercise his pardon power” for some of his associates caught up in Mueller’s probe into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election. Already, Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and others have been charged in the Mueller investigation.

Trump’s pardon power does not apply to violations of state laws, and New York charges could be filed against those ensnared by the probe since many of the actions under scrutiny took place in the state, where the Trump campaign was headquartered.

Already, Schneiderman has begun an investigation into Manafort focused on money laundering allegations. But he has taken a back seat as Mueller carries out his probe.

“I have a lot of respect for the work the special counsel’s doing,” Schneiderman said. “They have put together a terrific team…. Just watching it from the outside, like everybody else, it seems like they’re doing a very thorough and serious job. I hope there’s not going to be any effort to derail them or shut them down.”

“If that happens, we’ll do – as I think would be a genuine sentiment around the country – we’ll do whatever we can do to see that justice is done,” he continued. “But I hope we don’t have to face a problem like that.”

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