Donald Trump Admits He Sues People Just to Harass Them


Ten years ago Donald Trump sued author Timothy O’Brien for having the gall to doubt Trump’s wealth. After considerable research for his book TrumpNation, O’Brien concluded that Trump had massively overstated his assets and understated his liabilities: he was actually worth $150-250 million, not $5-6 billion. Naturally, Trump sued.

And lost. It took five years, but he was basically thrown out of court. Paul Farhi of the Washington Post asked Trump about this recently:

Trump said in an interview that he knew he couldn’t win the suit but brought it anyway to make a point. “I spent a couple of bucks on legal fees, and they spent a whole lot more. I did it to make his life miserable, which I’m happy about.”

I’m no lawyer, but even at this late date, wouldn’t an admission like that open up Trump to a suit for frivolous litigation? And wouldn’t it also hurt him in future lawsuits? Or is this more complicated than I think?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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