Trump says he'll stop punishing New York if the state stops investigating him

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Trump says he'd allow New York to be part of trusted traveler programs again under certain conditions — a play similar to the one he made with Ukraine.

Donald Trump on Thursday said he would allow New Yorkers to once again be part of the federal government's trusted traveler programs — so long as the state stops investigating him and suing him.

"I'm seeing Governor Cuomo today at The White House. He must understand that National Security far exceeds politics. New York must stop all of its unnecessary lawsuits & harrassment (sic), start cleaning itself up, and lowering taxes," Trump tweeted. "Build relationships, but don't bring Fredo!" (Fredo is Trump's pejorative nickname for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's brother, Chris, who is a CNN anchor.)

Cuomo is set to meet with Trump following the announcement from the Trump administration that New Yorkers will no longer be allowed to apply for federally run trusted traveler programs such as Global Entry, which lets applicants get through customs lines quicker.

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Trump announced that New York residents will be banned from applying for or renewing applications in trusted travel programs because the state of New York is refusing to give Customs and Border Patrol access to Department of Motor Vehicle records. New York now allows undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses — and allowing the CBP access to DMV records could open those undocumented immigrants up to retaliation from Trump's anti-immigrant administration.

Shortly after the announcement, New York's attorney general issued a statement saying the state is suing the Trump administration over the ban.

Trump's assertion that he won't allow New Yorkers to apply for the trusted traveler programs until the state does exactly what he wants is similar to the playbook he used with Ukraine. Trump withheld congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine as leverage to force the country to investigate Trump's political rivals.

The House impeached Trump for this effort, and a nonpartisan government watchdog said Trump broke the law when he unilaterally decided to withhold congressionally appropriated money to Ukraine.

However, Senate Republicans acquitted Trump, even with some members admitting they thought Trump was guilty of what the House accused him. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said it was enough that Trump had learned his lesson and that he wouldn't take similar actions.

However, Trump clearly has not learned his lesson, as he is now trying to stop New York from investigating him by punishing residents of the state.

New York is currently investigating Trump on a number of issues, including whether the Trump Organization falsified business records, inflated financial assets, and whether Trump and his family broke tax law.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York condemned Trump's behavior.

"Trump is publicly admitting that he is holding Global Entry for New Yorkers hostage in exchange for dropping lawsuits against him and his family's lawbreaking behavior. This is corrupt, illegal, and authoritarian," she tweeted Thursday afternoon.

"Hope Collins and Murkowski are proud of their vote," Cortez added, referring to Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who both voted to acquit Trump in the impeachment trial even though they thought his behavior was wrong.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.