Former President Donald Trump has been out of the White House for nearly a year, but he continues to face investigations from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Another is the continuing civil investigation of Trump’s finances by New York State Attorney General Letitia James. According to Rolling Stone, in a piece published on January 11, writer Peter Wade alleges that Trump and his attorneys are “pulling out all the brakes” to prevent James’ inquiry from proceeding.
James’ influence on Team Trump became clear on Monday, January 10, when Trump’s attorneys filed a lawsuit against James’ probe, seeking a preliminary injunction.
Alina Habba, a Trump attorney, angrily railed against James during a January 10 appearance on right-wing Newsmax TV—where she declared, “She is a sick person who really truly has taken her oath of office and just weaponized it. We basically today said: Look, we get the court system, we get that it’s going to take a couple of years to get through a normal case. But this is so bad, we have to stop right now and be fair. The fishing expedition has to stop.”
Eric Trump also appeared on Fox News, Newsmax TV’s far bigger cable news rival, on Monday night, January 10, screaming against James. “She ran on the campaign promise of suing my father because she didn’t believe in his political party, because she didn’t like us, because the people of Washington, D.C. told her to do that. It violates the Constitution. It’s unethical, it’s wrong,” the ex-son president’s told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. It is unconstitutional. It is immoral and illegal.
James’ agency believes that the Trump Organization overstated the worth of its assets when applying for bank loans only to understate them on tax returns.
“While James is running the civil investigation into Trump,” Wade explains, “she is also involved with a criminal investigation into Trump, his companies, and their leadership led by the Manhattan district attorney. Over the summer, that office charged the Trump Organization and Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg with 15 counts of financial crimes, including federal tax fraud, falsifying business records, grand larceny, and scheme conspiracy. Both have pleaded not guilty.”
Wade adds, “As part of the civil investigation, James has subpoenaed Trump’s eldest children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, as well as the former president, requesting depositions. Both of Trump’s children claimed they cannot testify in the civil case because James could learn information relevant to the criminal investigation during their testimony without guaranteeing the same protections they’d receive if they testified in a criminal case.”
However, James is not abandoning her inquiry.
In an official statement, the New York State attorney general declared, “These delay tactics will not stop us from following the facts or the law, which is why we will be asking the court to compel Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr. and Ivanka Trump to testify with our office under oath. Our investigation will continue undeterred.”
Because of her investigation into the Trump Organization, James was accused by Trump Jr. of spearheading a “political persecution” of his father.
“I think it’s a political persecution, and I know that because she literally campaigned on it,” Trump Jr, the eldest son of the former president told Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” in reference to James’ 2018 campaign to be elected state AG. “She was going to investigate the crimes. The problem is, it wasn’t as though she was a part of this office. She had no idea.”
“But in New York, it’s OK to try to persecute your political enemies, to try to target them, to try to hurt them, and they’ve been doing that for over five years. So, five years, no actual crime. They’re in search of a crime. They’ve been trying to investigate, to create a crime, because that’s what you’re doing in New York. Again, shouldn’t surprise us anymore, but if this was going on in a banana republic, we’d be outraged,” Trump Jr added.
On May 15, James’ office announced that it was investigating the Trump Organization “in a criminal capacity along with the Manhattan District Attorney.”
The state has been looking into the Trump Organization since 2019, after Michael Cohen, the former president’s personal attorney, testified to Congress that Trump misrepresented the value of his financial holdings in order to get better loan and insurance terms.
Last week, Vance called on a grand jury to look at possible criminal charges emanating from his probe, which is centered on similar claims of insurance and bank fraud. Donald Trump reacted angrily to the article, calling it “a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history” and “a disrespect to the almost 75 million voters who supported me in the Presidential Election.”
“This is a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history. It began the day I came down the escalator in Trump Tower, and it’s never stopped…. This is purely political, and an affront to the almost 75 million voters who supported me in the Presidential Election, and it’s being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors. New York City and State are suffering the highest crime rates in their history, and instead of going after murderers, drug dealers, human traffickers, and others, they come after Donald Trump. Interesting that today a poll came out indicating I’m far in the lead for the Republican Presidential Primary and the General Election in 2024.”
“In New York, crime is going through the roof. Taxes are going to go through the roof. Property values are going down, murder rates are skyrocketing,” Trump Jr. stated on Tuesday. “And yet, rather than using taxpayer dollars to actually go and solve those issues to prevent the degeneration of New York even further, they’re gonna continue to spend those taxpayer dollars targeting their enemies, and that’s pretty disgusting.”
Law professor Rebecca Roiphe stated that Vance’s office is unlikely to have taken such a move unless it believes it can prove Trump, the Trump Organization, or a Trump Organization executive committed a crime.
Roiphe added “that’s at least how I read it. It’s significant…they must have come across some evidence as to somebody’s state of mind. That the misconduct they were investigating does not seem to be the product of negligence or recklessness or mistake but intentional criminality.”
As a result, those around the former president are thought to be more than a bit frightened.
“There’s definitely a cloud of nerves in the air,” one adviser recently stated.
Trump is not a stranger to legal battles, but this mounting situation has a different feel to it and much of that is due to prosecutors pressuring Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who has often described himself as Trump’s “eyes and ears” at the company could flip on his long-time employer.