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Trump once tried to pay $2 million legal bill on horseback: book

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  • In a new book, David Enrich takes a deep dive into the 127-year-old law firm Jones Day.
  • Jones Day partner Donald McGahn has left the company to serve as an adviser to Trump’s White House.
  • Below is an excerpt from the book McGurn first met Donald Trump.

In February 2015, Don McGurn arrived at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. McGurn was a star attorney in conservative circles. For years, he has represented Republican politicians and luminaries of the cause. His crowning achievement was several years on the Federal Election Commission, where he delighted Republican lawmakers.

Most recently, McGurn was a partner at international law firm Jones Day, part of a new team dedicated to helping Republicans win elections and stay out of trouble. Preparing to launch a bare-bones presidential campaign, Trump sought to increase his credibility among conservative voters.

That’s why McGurn was in Trump Tower

The lawyer took a gold elevator up to the 26th floor and was shown to Mr. Trump’s office. Trump sat behind a cluttered desk. After what seemed like an hour of chit-chat, Trump got to the point. what do you charge? he asked.

“My hourly wage is $800,” McGahn replied.

“Nonsense,” Trump shouted. “good for you.”

Later that month, Trump began taking steps to show his easily dismissed candidacy was genuine. rice field. “I’m not doing this for fun,” Trump said. “I’m doing this because the country is in serious trouble.” Trump also noted that he’s delaying another season of his NBC reality show, The Celebrity Apprentice.)

Harper Collins

One day in the spring of 2015, McGurn took Jones Day associates to Trump Tower. Associates were eager to soak up campaign experience, and McGahn thought the fledgling Trump campaign would be an interesting experience for a young attorney. Associates get a first-hand glimpse of how the no-frills campaign worked. And unlike people in professional costumes, the Trump people don’t mind random lawyers showing up, saying, “I can’t take you to a Rick Perry campaign because they’re serious.” ’” McGahn told his colleagues.

The meeting was between former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and longtime Trump Organization executive Alan Garten. After eating sandwiches at the Trump Grill in the building’s lobby, the guys moved upstairs to the Trump Organization’s heartland. They sat in Lewandowski’s tiny office, down the hallway from Trump’s big office.

the meeting was completely unstructured

Lewandowski showed off the campaign’s new letterhead and asked for lawyers’ opinions on issues like abortion (Trump used to be in favor of it).

Towards the end of the meeting, Lewandowski asked how Trump’s campaign use of private jets would be explained. Can you just guess the cost of each trip? McGahn patiently told them no, they couldn’t just guess, there were rules for this and they had to follow them.

“These guys are idiots,” McGurn later told an associate. (McGurn disputed the quotes attributed to him, particularly the word “stupid.” “There are certainly some go-to phrases, but it’s not one of them. New York is a field of choice.” were very astute and impressive in the field, but many of them had little or no political experience.”)

David Enrich

Author, David Enrich.

David Enrich

On April 23, 2015, a check for $6,451.38 arrived on Jones Day. This was the first payment from the Trump campaign. McGahn and his colleagues hadn’t done much work for Trump yet, but it was time for him to start paying.

Trump’s reputation for disrespecting lawyers (as well as banks, contractors and customers) was well known. Mr. Trump has tried to escape what he owes to one lawyer after another, from private practitioners to large corporate partners.

In the 1990s, a White Shoe Company lawyer did some work for Trump.

The bill came to about $2 million and Trump refused to pay

After a while, the lawyer got impatient and showed up at Trump Tower unannounced. Someone sent him to Trump’s office. Trump was initially happy to see him. He scolded Trump for being “incredibly disappointed.” “There is no reason why you should not pay us.”

Mr Trump issued an apology. Then he said: “I’m not going to pay your bills. I’m going to give you something of more value.” What the hell is he talking about? The lawyer wondered. “I have a stallion,” Trump continued. “It’s worth $5 million.” Trump rummaged through his filing cabinet and pulled out what he said was a deed to the horse. He gave it to his lawyer.

“This is not the 1800s,” the lawyer stuttered after regaining the ability to speak. “You can’t pay me with a horse.” After his lawyers threatened to sue, Trump finally spat out at least part of what he owed.

Jones Day also wanted to be paid in money. So the decision was made for Trump to pay regular vassals. In addition, there will be a strict schedule for payment of other fees and refunds. (McGahn said there were no unusual payment schedules. “The Trump campaign was billed and paid regularly,” he told me.)

Even after that timetable was established, Jones Day attorneys, including those who worked for the Trump campaign, questioned whether it would hold up.

“We figured he wouldn’t pay and that would be the end of it,” one told me. . Within months, he forked over tens of thousands of dollars, including his June 16th over $29,000.

That same day, McGurn was back at Trump Tower. He stood in the lobby mezzanine. McGurn watched the small crowd go nuts. Then he heard that his client was involved in immigration and the establishment of the Beltway.

Editor’s Note: Former President Donald Trump’s spokesperson, Taylor Gravitch, released the following statement: “The media’s obsession with amplifying false attacks and fake news against President Trump is embarrassing. But the reality is that President Trump is stronger than ever today, and he will continue to advance his America First agenda well into the midterms and beyond.”

Excerpt from “SERVANTS OF THE DAMNED: Giant Law Firms, Donald Trump, and the Corruption of Justice” by David Enrich. Copyright © 2022 by David Enrich. From Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted with permission.

David Enrich is a business research editor for The New York Times and the #1 bestselling author of “Dark Towers.” His new book, Servants of the Damned, is out now.