As Donald Trump was gearing up for his run for president, he was worried about what could come back to haunt him. One of the things he was apparently worried about were his grades and SAT scores. In one of the strangest revelations to come out of Cohen’s appearance before the House Oversight Committee, the president’s former personal lawyer and all-around fixer admitted he threatened Trump’s former high school, the College Board, and the universities he attended with with legal action if they released any records relating to Trump’s attendance at the school. The College Board administers the SAT.
Cohen gave the committee a copy of the 2015 letter he sent on Trump’s behalf to Fordham University a little more than a month before Trump officially launched his presidential campaign in June. “It has come to my attention that several media outlets have asked for the release of my client’s records,” Cohen wrote in the letter to Fordham University, which Trump attended for two years before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania. “We have turned down these requests.”
Cohen went on to cite the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, noting that the university is not allowed to release Trump’s record without his consent. “If in the event any of his records or released or otherwise disclosed without his prior written consent, we will hold your institution liable to the fullest extent of the law including damages and criminality,” Cohen wrote in the letter. He went on to threaten that releasing the records without Trump’s approval could lead to “criminal and civil liability and damages including, among other things, substantial fines, penalties, and even the potential loss of government aid and other funding.”
The best part of Cohen’s letter comes at the end: “P.S. Mr. Trump truly enjoyed his two years at Fordham and has great respect for the University.”
Although the letter is addressed to Fordham, Cohen also mentions the College Board. It’s not clear if that’s just an errant copy-paste or if Cohen wasn’t sure who he was addressing.
A spokesman for Fordham University said the letter came after a phone call from Trump’s campaign warning against the release of documents. The whole thing was pointless anyway because the university is well aware of its legal obligations, the spokesman said. “We told the caller that Fordham is bound by federal law, and that we could not/would not reveal/share any records (as we would not reveal any student records) with anyone except Mr. Trump himself, or any recipient he designated, in writing,” Bob Howe, a Fordham spokesman, said. “Our stance remains the same: we obey federal law and don’t release student records to anyone but the student/graduate or anyone that the student designates, in writing.”