Trump Gives Donor Money To Hillary Clinton And The DNC

With great fanfare, in late March 2022 Donald Trump sued Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, and 29 others for the “Russia Hoax.” The lawsuit absurdly alleged everything from RICO Act violations to defamation. The trumpeting included fund raising efforts aimed at securing donations for Trump’s political causes. Those political causes including funding such lawsuits. That grifting raised unknown amounts. Today those donating may find some regret knowing that some of their money is going to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and the other defendants.

Trump filed the case in Florida, outside the jurisdiction of many defendants, in a forum shopping effort to secure Judge Aileen Cannon. She is the rogue Trump appointed judge who ruled in his favor on the stolen classified documents issue (before being sharply overturned by the Court of Appeals for “abuse of discretion”). Alas, the forum shopping backfired. This case was instead assigned to Judge Donald Middlebrooks.

On September 8, 2022 he dismissed the lawsuit in a blistering decision that suggested sanctions would be appropriate. One defendant, Charles Dolan, quickly accepted that invitation and presented an easy case. The lawsuit claimed Mr. Dolan had served as Chairman of the DNC. This was false and his attorneys quickly pointed this out to Trump’s attorneys demanding that he be dismissed from the case. Rather than doing so, Trump’s attorneys amended the the Complaint to claim Dolan was “a senior official in the Clinton Campaign, and a close associate of and advisor to Hillary Clinton.” That was also false. The only thing poor Mr. Dolan did for the Clinton campaign was door to door canvassing. Dolan’s attorneys pointed this out too, providing a sworn affidavit to that fact, but Trump refused to drop him from the lawsuit.

As I wrote in a previous article, on November 10, 2022, the judge granted Dolan’s request for sanctions. It was (see my prior article) an unusually strongly worded decision. The judge granted Dolan $16,274 for his cost of defending the lawsuit, and ordered Trump’s attorneys to pay $50,000 more to the court to deter future misconduct of this nature. The judge also made clear additional sanctions were in order.

That shoe dropped yesterday, and it was a big shoe indeed. The judge ordered Trump and his attorneys to pay the defendants nearly a million more dollars. Trump donor money on its way to Hillary Clinton.

The judge’s decision, if anything, used harsher language than the first sanctions granted to Charles Dolan. The judge described the lawsuit as brought in bad faith, “political theater” aimed, not at legitimate legal objectives, but rather to advance the politics of riling up Trump’s base and a tool to secure donations. The judge found the usual sanctions route under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure inadequate to the task because Rule 11 did not provide for sanctioning Trump individually, but rather only his lawyers. The judge instead invoked the lesser used route of sanctioning under a courts “inherent powers” so that Trump could individually be included in the sanctions.

Trump often complains his cases were never heard on the merits. That’s not true, many were. Further, all the decisions imposing sanctions on Trump and his attorneys were rulings on the merits as the courts found the merits so disturbingly frivolous as to be in bad faith.

That is true in this case as well. To be sure, the judge found Trump’s case completely infirm under the law, but the judge also found that Trump made “factual allegations that were knowingly false or made with reckless disregard for the truth.” The story above of Charles Dolan is illustrative of that, but there was much more, as the judge found Trump:

“consistently misrepresented and cherry-picked portions of public reports and filings to support a false factual narrative. Often the report or filing actually contradicted his allegations. It happened too often to be accidental; its purpose was political, not legal.”

As for legal claims Trump’s assertions were equally absurd. For example Trump argued the statute of limitations for the RICO Act should suspend tolling while Trump was President because he was busy being President. In the words of the judge, “Clinton v. Jones leaves no room for that argument.” Besides which, “Trump, in his personal capacity, found time during his presidency to file other civil actions.” Consider this statement from the judge:

The Plaintiff does not even attempt to respond with respect to most of the legal failings of his claims. To reiterate a few:

The malicious prosecution claim without a prosecution;

• The theory of personal jurisdiction based on an allegation that defendants “knew that Florida is a state in the United States which was an important one;”

• The trade secret claim without a trade secret or ownership;

• The Computer Fraud and Abuse claim foreclosed by Van Buren v United States, 141 S. Ct. 1648 (2021)

• Obstruction of justice untethered to any official proceeding.

Despite its 193 pages, the Amended Complaint did not come close to stating a legal claim. That was never its intended purpose.

The judge then described Trump’s “pattern of abuse of the courts,” describing Trump as a “repeat offender.” In listing examples the judge didn’t even bother with Trump’s 0–60 record in election challenges, many of which have also resulted in sanctions. Examples include:

  • Trump suing the Pulitzer Board for not rescinding awards to the New York Time and Washington Post for reporting on the Russia investigation.
  • Trump suing, in Florida, New York Attorney General Letitia James for suing Trump for tax fraud in New York, a lawsuit that other courts had already made clear was justified. Notably, even Trump at least heard this message. Today he voluntarily dismissed this lawsuit.
  • Trump suing Twitter on 1st Amendment grounds for removing him from the platform after his insurrection inducing tweets associated with January 6th. The suit was quickly dismissed because the 1st Amendment restricts only the government, and not private companies like Twitter.
  • Trump suing CNN for libel for fact based reporting on his efforts to extort Ukraine into getting direct on Hunter Biden.

The court emphasized that each of these efforts were tied to fund raising efforts to get donations. In fact, the court noted the following common attributes, or “telltale signs” to the present one:

  • Provocative and boastful rhetoric;
  • A political narrative carried over from rallies;
  • Attacks on political opponents and the news media;
  • Disregard for legal principles and precedent;
  • Fundraising and payments to lawyers from political action committees.
  • And when a ruling is adverse, accusations of bias on the part of judges — often while the litigation is ongoing.

If I were Trump’s attorneys I would look very closely at those “telltale signs” and work to avoid them in the future.

The court concluded:

“Frivolous lawsuits should not be used as a vehicle for fundraising or fodder for rallies or social media. Mr. Trump is using the courts as a stage set for political theater and grievance. This behavior interferes with the ability of the judiciary to perform its constitutional duty.”

The judge ordered that “Plaintiff Donald J. Trump and Plaintiff’s lead attorney — Alina Habba and Habba Madaio & Associates — are jointly and severally liable for $937,989.39.” For Ms. Habba, ethics complaints to the Florida Bar are likely, joining a lengthy list of Trump attorneys facing potential disciplinary action against their law license.

A lot of donors, with not much money, believing in good faith they were helping Trump political ambitions, will end up seeing their money go to Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and others. If you were thinking about donating to Trump, you might want to consider this. Here’s a breakdown of who gets what.

Remember, that’s on top of the money already obligated under the Charles Dolan sanctions.



Retired lawyer & Army vet in The Villages of Florida. Lifelong: Republican (pre-Trump), Constitution buff, science nerd & dog lover. Twitter: @KeithDB80

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Retired lawyer & Army vet in The Villages of Florida. Lifelong: Republican (pre-Trump), Constitution buff, science nerd & dog lover. Twitter: @KeithDB80