We are truly plumbing the depths of politics these days, with Donald Trump and members of his family and his administration making bizarre statements. We know that Trump rages against anyone who has the temerity to challenge him or his grandiose claims. But in politics, like attracts like. Take this story about how Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, his lawyer mind you, the person who should be practicing restraint in his speech, responded to a critical email he received from a total stranger.
Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal attorney on the Russia case, threatened a stranger in a string of profanity-laden emails Wednesday night.
The man, a retired public relations professional in the western United States who asked not to be identified, read ProPublica’s story this week on Kasowitz and sent the lawyer an email with the subject line: “Resign Now.’’
Kasowitz replied with series of angry messages sent between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern time. One read: “I’m on you now. You are fucking with me now Let’s see who you are Watch your back , bitch.”
In another email, Kasowitz wrote: “Call me. Don’t be afraid, you piece of shit. Stand up. If you don’t call, you’re just afraid.” And later: “I already know where you live, I’m on you. You might as well call me. You will see me. I promise. Bro.”
Kasowitz’s spokesman, Michael Sitrick, said Thursday he couldn’t immediately reach Kasowitz for comment.
ProPublica confirmed the man’s phone number matched his stated identity. Technical details in the emails, such as IP addresses and names of intermediate mail servers, also show the emails came from Kasowitz’s firm. In one email, Kasowitz gave the man a cell phone number that is not widely available. We confirmed Kasowitz uses that number.
The exchange began after the man saw our story featured last night on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC. We reported that Kasowitz is not seeking a security clearance even though the Russia case involves a significant amount of classified material.
Experts said Kasowitz could have trouble getting a security clearance because of what multiple sources described as a recent history of alcohol abuse. Former employees also said Kasowitz had engaged in behavior that made them uncomfortable.
The absurdly angry response by Kasowitz (plus giving out his closely-held cell phone number in the process) seems consistent with reports that he drinks heavily and suggests that he replied as he did while drunk.
In recent weeks, ProPublica spoke with more than two dozen current and former employees of Kasowitz’s firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, as well as his friends and acquaintances. Past and present employees of the firm said in interviews that Kasowitz has struggled intermittently with alcohol abuse, leading to a stint in rehab in the winter of 2014-15.
Several people told ProPublica that Kasowitz has been drinking in recent months. (The vast majority of those who spoke to ProPublica for this article declined to be quoted by name, citing Kasowitz’s penchant for threatening lawsuits.)
Experts on federal security reviews told ProPublica that recent episodes of alcohol abuse are a major barrier to receiving clearance, a process that involves government agents poring over a person’s past and interviewing family, friends and colleagues. Investigators typically raise flags about behaviors that might make someone vulnerable to blackmail or suggest poor judgment.
The next day, following the standard pattern of drunks who feel the need to escape the consequences of their actions of the night before, Kasowitz said he would apologize, though he does not acknowledge that he was drunk. But one thing that you can be sure of with belligerent drunks is that unless they agree to undergo treatment, such behavior will recur.
We know that Trump is a teetotaler so his intemperate behavior has other causes.