Lawyers for President Trump’s charitable foundation pushed back aggressively against the New York State attorney general’s office in court papers on Thursday, calling a lawsuit against the charity a political attack motivated by the former attorney general’s “record of antipathy” against Mr. Trump.
The court papers, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, marked the first formal response by the Donald J. Trump Foundation to a blistering complaint that the attorney general’s office lodged against the charity in June. The lawsuit accused the charity and members of Mr. Trump’s family of sweeping violations of campaign finance laws, self-dealing and illegal coordination with Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.
One month after the civil suit was filed, state tax officials opened a separate investigation into the foundation.
When the suit was filed, Mr. Trump derided it on Twitter as the work of “sleazy New York Democrats” and the new submission continued that line of attack.
The current round of sparring is only the latest in a long and bitter fight between Mr. Trump and the state’s top law-enforcement agency, one that reaches back to 2013 when Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general at the time, filed a civil suit against Trump University, Mr. Trump’s for-profit educational venture, calling it a sham that engaged in repeated fraudulent behavior.
Once Mr. Trump entered the White House, Mr. Schneiderman and his staff brought more than 100 further legal or administrative actions against Mr. Trump and congressional Republicans, challenging their policies on everything from immigration to birth control coverage to a weakening of pollution standards.
Some opponents of the president have held up the attorney general’s office as a potential backstop to prosecute crimes should Mr. Trump choose to pardon his associates convicted in the continuing federal investigation led by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
The attacks on Mr. Schneiderman, while typical of Mr. Trump, may be slightly misplaced, given that Mr. Schneiderman resigned in May — a month before the suit was filed — after a group of former girlfriends accused him of physical and sexual assault.
His successor, Barbara Underwood, however, has taken up his anti-Trump mantle, pursuing old lawsuits and filing new torts against the president and his agenda.
Though Mr. Schneiderman is no longer in office, the Trump Foundation sought in its papers to depict the recent lawsuit as a political vendetta, saying the former attorney general had a “mission to ‘lead the resistance’ and attack Mr. Trump whenever possible.”
The papers accused Mr. Schneiderman, who endorsed Hillary Clinton in the race, of using his “public antipathy for Mr. Trump” to solicit donations for his own re-election campaign and of turning “a blind eye” to alleged misconduct by the Clinton Foundation. The papers noted that if the suit is not dismissed, the Trump Foundation’s lawyers would “seek discovery,” presumably for more information about Mr. Schneiderman’s conduct.
The Trump Foundation also went after Ms. Underwood, saying she has continued the “inflammatory rhetoric” by “stating publicly that she considers her battles with the President ‘the most important work (she) has ever done.’”
The Trump Foundation was meant to be devoted to charitable activities, but the attorney general’s office asserted in its suit that it was often used improperly to settle legal claims against Mr. Trump’s various businesses.