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Trump’s Devastating $355 Million Penalty Blows Up His Biggest Lie

A veteran journalist and longtime Trump-watcher explains how Justice Engoron’s ruling exposes the deeper scams at the heart of Trump’s 2024 campaign.

Former president Donald Trump
Seth Wenig/Getty Images

The stunning news that Donald Trump has been hit by a $355 million penalty in his civil fraud case in New York deals a big blow to his mystique as master of “the deal.” But Justice Arthur Engoron’s ruling also exposes a deeper undercurrent of scamming that Trump has been surfing on for decades and hopes to ride right back into the White House. We chatted with journalist David Cay Johnston, author of a new piece in The New Republic about the ruling, who helped us plumb the depths of the dark ethos of grift that has driven Trump throughout his career.