Portrait - Everything that is right

Everything that is right

From Trump's point of view, Vance embodies everything that has to be conquered and destroyed

Photo: Mark Kauzlarich / Getty Images

Donald Trump thinks he has "golden years" ahead of him. Whether it will be so depends largely on the outcome of the investigation into the business practices of the Trump Organization. The ex-president's opponent is Cyrus Vance, the district attorney for Manhattan, a man from another world. If you are old enough, this name thinks of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance from the time of President Jimmy Carter. In 1980, the US diplomat who was held in Tehran resigned in protest against the military action ordered by his boss to liberate him. His son is currently making headlines because he has brought charges against the real estate company Trump and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg.

Like his father, this Cyrus Vance (67) is known to be a prudent contemporary. His indictment, for example, was not the sweeping blow that Trump's opponents had hoped for, but a sober list of suspected tax fraud: Weisselberg had $ 1,8 million smuggled "past the tax". That can cost a couple of years in prison. The 73-year-old, who was shown handcuffed, as is common practice in the United States for the humiliation of defendants, and the Trump organization denied everything. The indictment gives the impression that Vance, in office since 2010, is relying on seized documents. His office said it was investigating further. The indictment speaks of "leading persons" who participated in the tax evasion.

The District Attorney, an elected public official, has a highly political mandate, especially in Manhattan, with its concentrated wealth and numerous companies headquartered here. He decides on the main areas of investigation and charges. 500 lawyers work for Vance. In the past few years it has often been speculated that it could be “tight” for Donald Trump, but this time, too, that remains unanswered, as does the question of whether Vance has a killer instinct and has the necessary evidence. The lawyer’s family tree is that of a man who belongs to the long-established elite of the east coast. In the obituary for Vance Sr. she wrote New York Times 2002: He was the epitome of the establishment, part of a "small group of men who seamlessly move ... from the Ivy League universities on the East Coast to the law firms on Wall Street" and took time off "to serve in the Government". Father Vance sat on the boards of US Steel, IBM and the New York Times.

Young Cyrus attended the private Buckley School in Manhattan (motto: Honor et Veritas), where the boys still wear ties on a promotional video of the school. As a teenager, Cyrus studied at the Groton School boarding school in Massachusetts, founded in 1884. More concentrated privilege is hardly possible, among the graduates there include Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Truman's Secretary of State Dean Acheson and McGeorge Bundy, security advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Eventually Vance studied law at Yale University and found a home working in the Manhattan District Attorney's office, later in one of New York's weighty law firms, before being elected district attorney in 2009. A large portrait of Cyrus Vance in the magazine New Yorker quotes a confidante: From the point of view of real estate upstart Donald Trump "Vance represented everything that had to be conquered and destroyed".

Someone like Vance sees himself as a servant of an order from which he has benefited a lot himself. Trump, on the other hand, competes like a street fighter who takes on the state and brags about his wealth. If you wanted to try psychoanalysis, the conclusion is obvious: Trump hates the establishment and wants to be respected by the establishment at the same time, so he sent according to the magazine Variety his son Donald to Buckley School.

Vance will not run for re-election in November. You have to be able to break up sometimes. In 2009 he was elected with 91 percent of the vote, four years later with 85 percent, then again in 2017 with 91. And that despite all the criticism, he focuses too much on petty tricks. Vance has collided with the Trumps before. In 2012, his office investigated daughter Ivanka and son Donald. It involved improper condominium sales, but no charges were made. Vance had too little in his hand against the two of them. Donald Trump's niece, the psychologist Mary Trump, who apparently can't stand her uncle, criticized him New Yorker-Portrait: Vance let them go. “Had he not done that, he might have stopped Donald from running for president.” Trump would probably not have run if his children had been cited in court. After all, it was Cyrus Vance who finally forced Trump to release his tax returns in February 2021.

The newspaper USA Today dealt with Donald Trump's past in court in 2016. In 30 years the party had been involved in more than 3.500 legal disputes. In many cases, companies that worked for Trump and were not or only partially paid have sued. Trump put them off until they ran out of money. As US President, he delayed the impeachment process and obstructed special investigator Robert Mueller until the time ran out. Trump's opponents are wondering whether you can even come up against someone like that by law. Will it be possible for Cyrus Vance?