On Tuesday, Attorney General Letitia James (D-N.Y.) announced that her office would join the Manhattan district attorney in a criminal investigation of the Trump Organization. James had begun investigating the organization in 2019, but her office recently launched a criminal complaint. Former President Donald Trump condemned the investigation in the harshest of terms.
“We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature. We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA,” James’ spokesman Fabien Levy told CNN.
“There is nothing more corrupt than an investigation that is in desperate search of a crime. But, make no mistake, that is exactly what is happening here,” Trump said in a statement on Wednesday.
The former president said he learned of the criminal probe from legacy media coverage. He framed this as one more witch hunt after nearly six years of relentless attacks. This investigation came after Trump was “under investigation from the time I came down the escalator 5 ½ years ago, including the fake Russia Russia Russia Hoax, the 2 year, $48M, No Collusion Mueller Witch Hunt, Impeachment Hoax #1, Impeachment Hoax #2, and others.”
“The Attorney General of New York literally campaigned on prosecuting Donald Trump even before she knew anything about me,” the former president said. “She said that if elected, she would use her office to look into ‘every aspect’ of my real estate dealings. She swore that she would ‘definitely sue’ me. She boasted on video that she would be, and I quote, ‘a real pain in the ass.’ She declared, ‘just wait until I’m in the Attorney General’s office,’ and, ‘I’ve got my eyes on Trump Tower.’”
“She also promised that, if elected, she would ‘join with law enforcement and other Attorney Generals across this nation in removing this President from office,’ and, ‘It’s important that everyone understand that the days of Donald Trump are coming to an end,’” Trump added.
Indeed, James targeted Trump while campaigning for New York attorney general. In August 2018, before she won the race, James said, “The president of the United States has to worry about three things; [Robert] Mueller, [ex-Trump lawyer Michael] Cohen, and Tish James. We’re all closing in on him.”
In a 2018 campaign video, James said, “I’m running for attorney general because I will never be afraid to challenge this illegitimate president when our fundamental rights are at stake. He should be charged with obstructing justice. I believe that the president of these United States can be indicted for criminal offenses and we would join with law enforcement and other attorneys general across the nation in removing this president from office.”
In his statement on Wednesday, Trump noted that James “made each of these statements, not after having had an opportunity to actually look at the facts, but BEFORE she was even elected, BEFORE she had seen even a shred of evidence.”
“This is something that happens in failed third world countries, not the United States,” the former president insisted. “If you can run for a prosecutor’s office pledging to take out your enemies, and be elected to that job by partisan voters who wish to enact political retribution, then we are no longer a free constitutional democracy.”
“These investigations have also been going on for years with members and associates of the Trump Organization being viciously attacked, harassed, and threatened, in order to say anything bad about the 45th President of the United States,” Trump charged. “This would include having to make up false stories. Numerous documents, all prepared by large and prestigious law and accounting firms, have been examined, and many hours of testimony have been taken from many people, some of whom I have not seen in years.”
Trump charged that “Democrat offices are consumed with this political and partisan Witch Hunt at a time when crime is up big in New York City, shootings are up 97%, murders are up 45%, a rate not seen in 40 years, drugs and criminals are pouring into our Country in record numbers from our now unprotected Southern Border, and people are fleeing New York for other much safer locations to live.”
He claimed the investigation is “a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of the United States. … No President has been treated the way I have.”
“It would be so wonderful if the effort used against President Donald J. Trump, who lowered taxes and regulations, rebuilt our military, took care of our Veterans, created Space Force, fixed our border, produced our vaccine in record-setting time (years ahead of what was anticipated), and made our Country great and respected again, and so much more, would be focused on the ever more dangerous sidewalks and streets of New York,” he argued. “If these prosecutors focused on real issues, crime would be obliterated, and New York would be great and free again!”
It remains unclear exactly which crimes the Trump Organization is alleged to have committed. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s office is examining millions of pages of documents, including Trump’s tax returns.
A source familiar with the organization told CNN that a couple of investigators with James’ office have joined Vance’s tam. Another source said James is still conducting a civil investigation. For the past two years, James’ office has looked into various matters, including whether or not the Trump Organization inflated assets on financial statements in order to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits, as well as how the Trump Organization compensated its employees.
While it is possible the Trump Organization may have broken the law, James’ probe certainly appears to be politically motivated, considering her 2018 campaign statements.