A Former Colleague Chimes in

TPM Reader DS responds to Trump’s attacks on Judge Curiel …

I had the honor of serving alongside Judge Curiel as a federal prosecutor. To put it mildly, Trump’s attacks are offensive and wrong and bear no resemblance to this fair and impartial jurist. As you point out, Judge Curiel was born and raised in Indiana and had a decorated career as a fearless prosecutor of Mexican drug cartels.

But these attacks say far less about Judge Curiel than they do about Trump and what he thinks of his own legal case in the Trump University scam (and that’s what it was). Trump knows that he is bound to lose some important decisions in the case and he has decided to preemptively inoculate himself by calling into question the integrity of the umpire. It’s an old trick and for someone who won’t accept responsibility for anything, entirely predictable. He’s giving his supporters a counter-narrative to be able to explain away a lot of bad facts that I expect to emerge in the course of this litigation. Frankly, this case should draw the interest of federal prosecutors to investigate the case as mail and wire fraud, but given the toxic political environment they will probably lay off at least until after the election.

One other interesting aspect of this to watch is what Trump’s lawyers do. How can they now appear before Judge Curiel? Will they seek to withdraw or disavow their client’s own statements? Trump is represented by a major corporate law firm in the case, will they be willing to start losing major corporate clients to keep representing him? I hope TPM continues to aggressively cover this important story.