Trump tears into ‘criminal’ investigation into his business

Donald Trump tore into the criminal probe into his dealings and attacked New York Attorney Letitia James for her ‘witch hunt’ that he claims has been going on for years.

In a lengthy statement released after James’ office said they were working alongside the Manhattan district attorney in an ongoing criminal fraud investigation into the Trump Organization, the former president told prosecutors to instead focus on ‘real crimes’ and pointed out soaring rates of violence in New York City.

James’ office has been investigating whether Trump’s company falsely reported property values to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits. 

Trump denies any wrongdoing but the escalated investigation increases chances he and possibly members of his family could face criminal charges. 

The former president said the probe was another example of a Democrat witch hunt against him and said the way he is being treated wouldn’t be tolerated in a third world country.

‘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,’ he wrote.  

‘The Attorney General of New York literally campaigned on prosecuting Donald Trump even before she knew anything about me.

‘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.” 

Scroll down for Trump’s full statement 

Trump, seen Tuesday in NYC, has been told his organization is under criminal investigation

Trump, seen Tuesday in NYC, has been told his organization is under criminal investigation

Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, has ramped up her investigation

Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, has ramped up her investigation

Trump, seen Tuesday in NYC, has been told his organization is under criminal investigation

NYPD data shows that for the week of May 5 to May 9, there have been nine murders in New York City – compare to two in 2020

NYPD data shows that for the week of May 5 to May 9, there have been nine murders in New York City – compare to two in 2020

NYPD data shows that for the week of May 5 to May 9, there have been nine murders in New York City – compare to two in 2020

Trump unleashed his fury at the prosecutor.  

‘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.’

‘The Attorney General 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.’

He continued: ‘These 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.’

New York has seen a spike in gun violence as restrictions ease from the coronavirus pandemic. 

NYPD data shows that for the week of May 5 to May 9, there have been nine murders in New York City – compare to two in 2020, marking a 350% increase year-over-year.

There have been a total of 146 murders in New York City in 2021 as of May 9 compared to 115 by the same date in 2020, a 27% increase.

Meanwhile, the New York Attorney General’s office, led by James since she won the 2018 election, had been investigating the Trump Organization for civil tax offenses since early 2019. But the probe has now escalated.

‘We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the Organization is no longer purely civil in nature,’ said Fabien Levy, a spokesman for the office. 

‘We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA.’

The district attorney’s office, led by Cyrus Vance, has been investigating possible criminal tax fraud since 2018. 

Vance’s investigation initially focused on hush payments made to two women who allege they had affairs with Trump, but has expanded to allegations of tax evasion, and insurance and bank fraud.

Vance also  acquired eight years of Trump’s tax returns in February after a years-long legal battle that went to the Supreme Court.

The issue took on a renewed sense of urgency when Vance said last month that he will retire at the end of 2021 and there is speculation his office will issue any indictments before that.

Vance’s investigation into the Trump Organization also intensified last month, when prosecutors interviewed several employees of Trump’s lender, Deutsche Bank, and his insurance brokerage, Aon. 

New subpoenas were issued and some witnesses were interviewed before a grand jury. 

A person familiar with the investigation told CNN that several investigators with the James’s office, who are considered experts on the Trump Organization, have joined Vance’s team.  

The notice from James’s office was sent in late April to attorneys for the Trump Organization, The Washington Post said. 

‘FOCUS ON REAL CRIME’: TRUMP’S SCATHING STATEMENT IN FULL  

I have just learned, through leaks in the mainstream media, that after being 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, that the Democrat New York Attorney General has ‘informed’ my organization that their ‘investigation’ is no longer just a civil matter but also potentially a ‘criminal’ investigation working with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

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.

The Attorney General of New York literally campaigned on prosecuting Donald Trump even before she knew anything about me. 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.’

The Attorney General 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. 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.

Likewise, the District Attorney’s office has been going after me for years based on a lying, discredited low life, who was not listened to or given credibility by other prosecutorial offices, and sentenced to 3 years in prison for lying and other events unrelated to me.

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. 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.

These 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. But the District Attorney and Attorney General are possessed, at an unprecedented level, with destroying the political fortunes of President Donald J. Trump and the almost 75 million people who voted for him, by far the highest number ever received by a sitting President.

That is what these investigations are all about—a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of the United States. Working in conjunction with Washington, these Democrats want to silence and cancel millions of voters because they don’t want ‘Trump’ to run again. As people are being killed on the sidewalks of New York at an unprecedented rate, as drugs and crime of all kinds are flowing through New York City at record levels, with absolutely nothing being done about it, all they care about is taking down Trump.

Our movement, which started with the Great Election Win of 2016, is perhaps the biggest and most powerful in the history of our Country. But the Democrats want to cancel the Make America Great Again movement, not by Making America First, but by Making America Last. No President has been treated the way I have. With all of the crime and corruption you read about with others, nothing happens, they only go after Donald Trump.

After prosecutorial efforts the likes of which nobody has ever seen before, they failed to stop me in Washington, so they turned it over to New York to do their dirty work. This is what I have been going through for years. It’s a very sad and dangerous tale for our Country, but it is what it is, and we will overcome together.

I have built a great company, employed thousands of people, and all I do is get unfairly attacked and abused by a corrupt political system. 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.

If these prosecutors focused on real issues, crime would be obliterated, and New York would be great and free again!

 

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Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is probing the former president's business practices in his own investigation of Trump

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is probing the former president's business practices in his own investigation of Trump

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is probing the former president’s business practices in his own investigation of Trump

It suggested that criminality could apply to actions by current and former company executives and employees if the investigation finds wrongdoing, a source told the paper.

It was not immediately clear why the two law enforcement agencies are now collaborating years into their previously separate investigations. 

Partnerships between the two New York law enforcement offices are rare. 

Trump has previously called the New York attorney general’s investigation politically motivated, and Eric Trump – who has spoken to James’s team – responded to The Washington Post’s request for comment with a video montage of James criticizing his father. 

Trump was in New York City on Monday and Tuesday, having left Florida for the summer. 

Much of the attention at the moment from Vance appears focused on the chief financial officer for the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg, and attempts to encourage him to ‘flip’ on his longtime boss. 

Sources told the Wall Street Journal last week that Vance’s office has issued a subpoena against Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School over $500,000 in fee payments made for Weisselberg’s grandchildren. 

Those payments were made between 2012 and 2019 using checks signed by both Trump and Weisselberg, it is claimed. 

They are said to have been made as a form of financial assistance to Weisselberg’s son Barry and his ex-wife Jessica so their two children could attend the school. 

Barry managed Trump’s ice rink in New York’s Central Park on a salary of $223,000, until the city officials axed their contract with the ex-president this year.

THE INVESTIGATIONS INTO TRUMP ORGANIZATION 

New York State AG Civil – 2019

NY State AG Letitia James launched a civil probe into the Trump Organization in 2019, after Michael Cohen – Trump’s former attorney – testified at Congress. 

At first, the focus was whether or not the charity inflated the value of its assets while seeking loans and insurance coverage. 

James campaigned on the promise that she would investigate Trump and his family, which some experts say may impact how credible any charges may be because it undermines her impartiality. 

Manhattan DA criminal – 2018 

Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance launched his investigation in 2018. 

He wanted specifically to focus on hush money payments given to Stormy Daniels by Michael Cohen during the 2016 election. 

In court filings, his office has indicated he has widened the scope of his investigation to also include tax evasion and fraud. 

NY State AG Criminal – 2020 

It’s unclear what James’ office will focus their investigation on but they say they’re joining Vance’s. 

The NYAG has a more limited remit when it comes to what she can bring charges for. 

‘Although NYAG is best known for its civil enforcement work, it also has criminal enforcement authority in a number of areas, including securities fraud and tax fraud, ‘ former prosecutor Harry Sandick explained to The Washington Post. 

‘In addition, they should be able to prosecute those who make false statements in the course of their investigations.’

Some have suggested that the announcement may just be a tactic to get others who are on the cusp of cooperating to agree to. 

‘The timing of the announcement may serve to heighten the pressure on persons who may be on the cusp of cooperating, and who now see more clearly that a unified demonstration of coordination, pooling of resources and resolve by the two prosecutor offices intensifies the criminal probe.’   

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Pomerantz, a 'mob-busting' prosecutor, has been brought in by Vance to investigate Trump

Pomerantz, a 'mob-busting' prosecutor, has been brought in by Vance to investigate Trump

Pomerantz, a ‘mob-busting’ prosecutor, has been brought in by Vance to investigate Trump

He claims not to have been able to afford for his children to pay to attend Columbia Grammar & Prep, located on New York’s Upper West Side. 

His former spouse Jennifer has claimed they believed the school fees were part of Barry’s payment package. 

Vance’s investigation is said to center on whether the fee payments should have been flagged as gifts or loans, rather than as ‘financial assistance.’ 

If so, they should have incurred tax, meaning the Weisselbergs may have evaded their dues to the IRS with the payment arrangement.

The school has indicated it will comply with the prosecutor’s request. 

Weisselberg has not been accused of or charged with any crime, and Trump has denied all allegations of wrongdoing. 

Another key figure in Vance’s investigation is Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, who has met with Vance and his team at least nine times.  

Cohen, 54, began working for the Trump Organization in 2006, and in 2018 was sentenced to three years for his role assisting tax evasion and campaign finance fraud. Cohen was released in April 2020. 

In a recent interview with Cohen, investigators asked questions about Trump’s Seven Springs estate as part of an inquiry into whether the value of the 213-acre Westchester County property was improperly inflated to reduce his taxes.

The Associated Press reported that investigators asked Cohen about individuals involved in the appraisal of the estate and benefits derived from its valuation, including a $21 million income tax deduction.

Cohen was released to home confinement last year amid coronavirus fears, and his recent meetings have been conducted via video conference.

In a recent interview with Cohen, investigators asked questions about Trump's Seven Springs estate as part of an inquiry into whether the value of the 213-acre Westchester County property was improperly inflated to reduce his taxes.

In a recent interview with Cohen, investigators asked questions about Trump's Seven Springs estate as part of an inquiry into whether the value of the 213-acre Westchester County property was improperly inflated to reduce his taxes.

In a recent interview with Cohen, investigators asked questions about Trump’s Seven Springs estate as part of an inquiry into whether the value of the 213-acre Westchester County property was improperly inflated to reduce his taxes.

Vance recently hired former mafia prosecutor Mark Pomerantz – who, as a federal prosecutor, oversaw the prosecution of Gambino crime boss John Gotti – as a special assistant district attorney to assist in the wide-ranging probe of Trump’s finances.

The inquiry, according to court filings, includes an examination of whether Trump or his businesses lied about the value of assets to gain favorable loan terms and tax benefits. 

The district attorney also is scrutinizing hush-money payments paid to women on Trump’s behalf.

After a lengthy legal battle, his office is now in possession of eight years of Trump’s tax records, including final and draft versions of tax returns, source documents containing raw financial data and other financial records held by his accounting firm.

The Supreme Court on February 22 ruled that Vance’s team should have access to the documents. 

Vance’s focus on Seven Springs involves an environmental conservation arrangement Trump made in return for a tax deduction at the end of 2015, following failed attempts to turn the property into a golf course and luxury homes.

Trump granted an easement to a conservation land trust to preserve 158 acres and received a $21 million income tax deduction, equal to the value of the conserved land, according to records. 

The amount was based on a professional appraisal that valued the full Seven Springs property at $56.5 million as of December 1, 2015.

That was a much higher amount than the evaluation by local government assessors, who said the entire estate was worth $20 million. 

Trump bought the property, including a palatial Georgian-style mansion that once belonged to the family of newspaper publisher Katharine Graham, for $7.5 million in 1995.

Vance announced in April that he would leave office at the end of the year and not seek reelection, but in a memo to staff, he stressed that the investigation would not stop.

‘The work continues,’ Vance wrote, echoing his short statement after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that he could have Trump’s tax records.

All the president’s men indicted and convicted of crimes

ARRESTED AND INDICTED: STEVE BANNON 

Arrested and indicted on August 20, 2020, Steve Bannon and three others are accused of ripping off donors who wanted to self-fund President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. 

Bannon and his accomplices ‘orchestrated a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors,’ federal prosecutors alleged. 

Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, joined Trump’s 2016 campaign in August of that year alongside longtime Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway.

He became the campaign’s CEO and pushed Trump to pursue scorched earth tactics like bringing Bill Cilnton’s #MeToo accusers to the second presidential debate to help the campaign weather the fallout from the infamous ‘Access Hollywood’ tape. 

The political aide was named chief strategist and senior counselor when Trump moved into the White House. Bannon only lasted in that position until August 2017. 

GUILTY: ROGER STONE 

Convicted in November 2019 on seven counts including obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and lying to Congress about his communications with WikiLeaks. 

Stone’s sentencing was controversial because the Department of Justice pushed for a lighter sentence than what the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s office put forward. Trump was publicly complaining about the case. 

In February, Stone was sentenced to 40 months, though never served any jail time, as Trump commuted his sentence in July. Stone had publicly fretted about going to jail during the coronavirus crisis. Stone had been a person of interest in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe long before his January 2019 indictment, thanks in part due to his public pronouncements as well as internal emails about his contacts with WikiLeaks.

In campaign texts and emails, Stone communicated with associates about WikiLeaks following reports the organization had obtained a cache of Clinton-related emails. According to the federal indictment, Stone gave ‘false and misleading’ testimony about his requests for information from WikiLeaks. He then pressured a witness, comedian Randy Credico, to take the Fifth Amendment rather than testify, and pressured him in a series of emails. 

Following a prolonged dispute over testimony, he called him a ‘rat’ and threatened to ‘take that dog away from you’, in reference to Credico’s therapy dog, Bianca. Stone warned him: ‘Let’s get it on. Prepare to die.’ 

GUILTY: MICHAEL FLYNN

 In December 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. The admission was part of a plea bargain etched out with Mueller investigators. 

Flynn’s sentencing was then delayed several times. 

The Justice Department, under Attorney General Bill Barr, filed a motion to dismiss the Flynn case in May, but a U.S. district judge ordered a hold. The matter is still currently held up in court. 

Flynn was President Trump’s former National Security Advisor . He previously served when he was a three star general as President Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency but was fired. 

GUILTY: MICHAEL COHEN

Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts including fraud and two campaign finance violations in August 2018. 

Pleaded guilty to further count of lying to Congress in November 2018. He was sentenced to three years in prison and $2 million in fines and forfeitures in December 2018. 

He was released from prison and into home confinement in July due to the coronavirus pandemic.Cohen was Trump’s longtime personal attorney, starting working for him and the Trump Organization in 2007. 

Cohen professed unswerving devotion to Trump – and organized payments to silence two women who alleged they had sex with the-then candidate: porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. He admitted that payments to both women were felony campaign finance violations – and admitted that he acted at the ‘direction’ of ‘Candidate-1’: Donald Trump. 

He also admitted to tax fraud by lying about his income from loans he made, money from taxi medallions he owned, and other sources of income, at a cost to the Treasury of $1.3 million.And he admitted that he lied to Congress, in a rare use of that offense. 

The judge in his case let him report for prison on March 6 and recommended he serve it in a medium-security facility close to New York City. 

Campaign role: Paul Manafort chaired Trump's campaign for four months - which included the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016, where he appeared on stage beside Trump who was preparing  to formally accept the Republican nomination

Campaign role: Paul Manafort chaired Trump's campaign for four months - which included the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016, where he appeared on stage beside Trump who was preparing  to formally accept the Republican nomination

GUILTY: PAUL MANAFORT

Found guilty of eight charges of bank and tax fraud in August 2018. Sentenced to 47 months in March 2019. Pleaded guilty to two further charges – witness tampering and conspiracy against the United States.

Manafort was supposed to be jailed for seven and a half years, but, like Cohen, was released in May due to COVID-19 concerns. 

Manafort worked for Trump’s 2016 bid for the White House starting in March 2016 and served as campaign chairman from June to August 2016, helping the now-president amass the needed delegates to win the nomination at the the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. 

Manafort was a well known D.C. lobbyist, but in 2015 he needed more funds and offered to work for Trump for free in order to bank new clients afterward. 

The Mueller team unwound his previous finances and discovered years of tax and bank fraud as he coined in cash from pro-Russia political parties and oligarchs in Ukraine.

Manafort pleaded not guilty to 18 charges of tax and bank fraud but was convicted of eight counts in August 2018. The jury was deadlocked on the other 10 charges. 

A second trial on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent due in September did not happen when he pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and witness tampering in a plea bargain.

Minutes after his second sentencing hearing in March 2019, he was indicted on 16 counts of fraud and conspiracy by the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., using evidence which included documents previously presented at his first federal trial. The president has no pardon power over charges by district and state attorneys. 

GUILTY: RICK GATES

Pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements in February 2018. 

Gates, a Trump campaign official, was Manafort’s former deputy at political consulting firm DMP International. He admitted to conspiring to defraud the U.S. government on financial activity, and to lying to investigators about a meeting Manafort had with a member of Congress in 2013. As a result of his guilty plea and promise of cooperation, prosecutors vacated charges against Gates on bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy, failure to disclose foreign bank accounts, filing false tax returns, helping prepare false tax filings, and falsely amending tax returns.

Gates was sentenced to three years of probation and 45 days in jail. In April, a judge ruled that he didn’t have to report to jail during the coronavirus pandemic. 

GUILTY AND JAILED: GEORGE PAPADOPOLOUS

Pleaded guilty to making false statements in October 2017. Sentenced to 14 days in September 2018 and reported to prison in November. Papadopolous served 12 days and was released on December 7, 2018. 

Papadopoulos was a member of Trump’s campaign foreign policy advisory committee. He admitted to lying to Mueller investigators about his contacts with London professor Josef Mifsud and Ivan Timofeev, the director of a Russian government-funded think tank. 

He agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation but has criticized it since. 

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