Trump surrogate: Journalist 'playing Inspector Clouseau'

Story highlights

  • A Washington Post report alleged that the Trump Foundation lacks necessary certification
  • A Trump surrogate suggested that Fahrenthold's work is a personal attack

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump supporter Boris Epshteyn vigorously defended the Republican presidential nominee's foundation Friday in the wake of a critical news report.

The most recent report from The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold alleged Thursday that the Trump Foundation does not have the certification it needs to solicit money from donors, an allegation Epshteyn flatly disputed.
"Donald Trump and his foundation, to my knowledge, are following all the applicable rules and regulations in terms of the foundation," he told CNN's John Berman and Kate Bolduan on "At This Hour."
    The Trump surrogate is an attorney but said he doesn't represent the foundation.
    "David Fahrenthold is not an attorney at all. He's playing Inspector Clouseau over here and trying to find some clues and piece them together," he said. "All of his other writings have been complete failures."
    Fahrenthold's reporting alleged the Trump Foundation has never obtained the certification New York state requires to allow charities to solicit money from the public. If New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman finds Trump's foundation violated the law, the report said, he could order the charity to stop raising money.
    But Epshteyn said Schneiderman is a biased Hillary Clinton supporter.
    "New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is a partisan. He's a Clinton supporter. He's a Clinton donor. He's part of the Clinton leadership counsel," he said. "So you think he's impartial here?"
    Fahrenthold defended his most recent reporting on the Trump Foundation and the certification earlier Friday on CNN's "New Day."
    "By not doing this, Trump avoided a requirement that he submit to an annual audit. A real annual audit that might have looked into his foundation and found some of the violations of law that we seemed to have found along the way this year," Fahrenthold said. "So by not registering, he not only prevented himself from legally soliciting money, but protected himself from outside scrutiny."
    Earlier this month, Fahrenthold reported that Trump paid the Internal Revenue Service a $2,500 penalty this year after it was made public that the foundation "violated tax laws by giving a political contribution to a campaign group connected to Florida's attorney general."
    Fahrenthold also reported earlier this month that Trump has not donated to his own foundation since 2008.
    Epshteyn suggested that Fahrenthold's work amounts to a personal attack.
    "What I am disputing is any conclusions that he is drawing. There are no facts to it," Epshteyn said.
    "The key here is that David Fahrenthold is dead set on somehow disparaging this foundation," he said, adding, "The money isn't used for restaurants or boats or overhead like 90% of the Clinton Foundation."
    The Clinton campaign tweeted Friday that Epshteyn's comments are false, linking to a Politifact report about the Foundation.
    ".@BorisEP just lied about how the @ClintonFdn spends its money. Here's @PolitiFact debunking that attack," wrote Josh Schwerin, a national spokesman for Hillary for America.