It looks like things are getting a little curiouser and curiouser for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and her solicitation of a campaign contribution in exchange for not being part of the suit against Trump University. Via TPM:
The indefatigable Sopan Deb (one of the reporter standouts of 2016) reports that Trump today flatly denied ever speaking to Bondi about his foundation’s contribution to Bondi’s campaign in 2013, just before her office decided not to join New York State’s suit against Trump and Trump University.
Trump: “I never spoke to her” … “Never spoke to her about that at all.”
Who knows? But according to multiple reports, well before this became a big story and never denied by Trump, Pam Bondi personally solicited the contribution from Trump.
Here’s the AP from last June: “Florida’s attorney general personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump around the same time her office deliberated joining an investigation of alleged fraud at Trump University and its affiliates.” (emphasis added)
Bondi responded furiously to the AP report, pushing back against claims of impropriety. But she never disputed the AP’s claim that she solicited the contribution personally.
So where did the AP get the idea that Bondi spoke to Trump directly? From an on the record interview with her political consultant Marc Reichelderfer, who Bondi asked to speak to the AP on her behalf!
Given that this information came from Bondi’s consultant, speaking to the AP on her behalf while trying to defend her against claims of a conflict of interest – and that it was never disputed post-publication – it is overwhelmingly likely that the two did speak and that Trump is lying.
Apparently it’s not a bribe if you ask for it up front. It’s only a bribe if you have an underling collect it from a dead drop, preferably in a used paper bag leftover from a Subway sandwich and stashed under the third bench on the left in the park. But if you’re bold enough to ask for it in person and then follow through with legal non-action through your office, well, it’s business as usual.
You have to give a little leeway to Ms. Bondi; she’s not as deft at skulduggery and payoffs as Mr. Trump — in those ranks he has no peer — and her previous attempts at fund-raising have been ham-handed. She once had to call off the execution of a prisoner because it conflicted with a campaign event.
If there is any karmic justice in the world, this will all blow up in the next month or so and subject Mr. Trump and Ms. Bondi to the kind of scrutiny and suspicion that Hillary Clinton gets every time she scratches her nose.