Donald Trump (AP/Mary Altaffer)

Watch New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman destroy Donald Trump: Trump U was "fraud -- it was straight up fraud"

"People were led to believe they were getting the 'personal secrets' of Trump during hard economic times," he said


Scott Eric Kaufman
June 2, 2016 5:49PM (UTC)

On Morning Joe Thursday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman minced no words in declaring what the problem with Donald Trump's vanity university was.

MSNBC's Willie Geist began by saying that while "a lot of [the university's actions and policies] look slimy and sleazy to a lot of people -- bilking people out of money, making false promises -- what is the specific crime, as you see it?"

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Schneiderman replied, flatly, that "it's fraud. This is straight up fraud."

"It's like selling people something you say is a Mercedes and it turns out to be a Volkswagen," he added, "and even if some people say well, I actually kind of like the Volkswagen, it's still fraud because it's not a Mercedes."

"This was not a university," Schneiderman said, "and in New York, we are a little sensitive."

He noted that Trump is personally liable because of his association with the brand. "People were led to believe they were getting the personal secrets of Trump during hard economic times," he said. "We're talking about 2008, 2009, 2010, [and] people wanted to scramble to find a way to make money. He duped them in -- thousands of people paid millions of dollars and we're out to get them their money back."

Schneiderman outlined Trump's role in the scam, which "was in marketing [it]. He was the pitchman. We have the videos of him making these false promises. He was not involved in the curriculum -- he never met or trained the instructors. But he was clearly in charge of pitching this scam university to people, convincing them that it was his personal secrets and saying things like 'Come to the weekend seminar.'"

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"He said 'My handpicked experts will teach you my personal secrets,'" Schneiderman said. "But he and the president of the university have already testified under oath he never met the instructors -- they weren't handpicked, they weren't experts. Some of them came out of fast food and retail -- and he had nothing to do with the supposed secrets because he had nothing to do with the curriculum."

Watch the entire interview below via MSNBC.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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Donald Trump Elections 2016 Eric Schneiderman Msnbc Trump University Video

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