Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and his Democratic counterparts in other states vowed to continue their legal actions against Trump Administration policies despite the shocking resignation of one of the coalition’s leading litigators: former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Schneiderman resigned Monday hours after several women were quoted in a New Yorker magazine article saying he had abused them during their relationships, a charge he has denied.
“I expect that New York will continue its efforts and so will all the other states involved in the coalition,” Frosh said in an interview. “It does not affect the action in any of [the lawsuits] other than that the attorney general in New York is a different person.”
Schneiderman has been replaced by New York’s former solicitor general, Barbara Underwood, whom Frosh called “a very capable and smart attorney.”
Frosh is involved in 20 legal actions — and leading three — with several other of the nation’s 22 Democratic attorney generals against the Trump Administration’s policies. The states have challenged Trump on immigration, the environment, Obamacare, education and other policies.
Frosh’s office intervened in a lawsuit challenging the administration’s decision to allow employers to deny coverage for contraception by citing religious or moral objections and is challenging Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). Frosh also recently joined 17 other states in challenged the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
While the allegations against Schneiderman are “horrifying and inexcusable,” Frosh said that President Trump and his Republican allies are unlikely to use the scandal to tarnish the efforts by several states to fight the president’s policies.
“They’re not in a position to throw stones,” Frosh said. “How many women have accused Trump of sexual assault?”
The efforts by Frosh and other Democrats already have been characterized by Republicans as blatant political attempts to damage Trump. But the criticism has not yet included references to Schneiderman’s resignation.
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and his son Donald Trump Jr. attacked Schneiderman on social media. “Gotcha,” Conway tweeted. But neither mentioned the collective efforts of Democratic attorney generals to challenge the president.
Neither did Frosh’s Republican counterparts.
The Republican Attorneys General Association issued a statement deploring Schneiderman’s alleged actions, calling him a “disturbed monster.” But the group did not mention his efforts to reverse Trump policies.
Meanwhile, other Democratic attorney generals joined Frosh in vowing to continue to challenge the Republican president’s policies.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement that the lawsuits against the Trump administration are not “about one person.”
“It’s about the dedicated women and men in Attorneys General’s Offices around the country who enforce the law and protect people’s rights,” Healey said in the statement. “That work continues.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement to The Sun: “States are protecting their people, values and economy, and that will continue as leaders throughout the country continue to emerge to resist and persist.”
California has filed 32 lawsuits against the Trump Administration and secured 14 legal victories, a spokesperson for Becerra said. “As Attorney General Becerra often says, ‘As the fifth largest economy in the world, we’re not sitting back,’” said the spokeswoman, Sarah Lovenheim.
Frosh learned about the allegations against Schneiderman on Monday night and read the New Yorker’s article at home on his tablet.
“I got an email or a text last night at around 9 o’clock and it blew me away,” Frosh said. “My head exploded.”
He said he and other attorney generals would continue to focus on the behavior of Trump’s officials, especially environmental policies enacted by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.
“It’s not a contest about whose conduct is worst,” Frosh said. “It’s a contest about whether we can keep the American people safe and have clean air and clean water.”