Email #308: “different standards for the well-connected”?

White House advisor Ivanka Trump was investigated for fraud in 2012 for misleading prospective Trump SoHo condo buyers by intentionally inflating sales numbers. According to ProPublica, prosecutors in Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office spent two years building a case against Ms. Trump and her brother Donald Trump Jr. that included emails revealing their awareness that their figures were false. But District Attorney Vance dropped the case after meeting with President Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz. Kasowitz, who had already donated $25,000 to Vance’s election campaign, then made a second donation of $50,000 after the case was dropped. Vance is now returning both donations. Kasowitz claims: “I have never made a contribution to anyone’s campaign, including Cy Vance’s, as a ‘quid-pro-quo’ for anything.”

While it is entirely possible that the district attorney dropped the case for reasons other than bribery originating from President Trump on behalf of his children, the appearance of bribery and obstruction is troubling. You have also said that you feel “troubled” when “there seems to be a different standard for the well-connected.” Since there is no one more well-connected than a member of the Trump family, and since the dropped fraud case suggests a very different standard for them, you must feel troubled now too.

Will you therefore fulfill your responsibility to oversee the executive branch and hold a House Judiciary Committee hearing to investigate these allegations? Or are you not troubled by different standards when the well-connected are fellow Republicans?

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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