Letitia James Will Investigate Trump As New York Attorney General — Here Are The Details
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation isn't the only one President Trump has to worry about. According to an interview she had with NBC News, New York Attorney General-elect Letitia James plans to investigate Trump, his family members and various Trump entities once she assumes office in January. James spoke to NBC News on Tuesday about her plans to aggressively probe the president and his family. Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment.
"We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well," James told NBC News. "We want to investigate anyone in his orbit who has, in fact, violated the law."
James is currently New York City’s Public Advocate, and is both the first woman and first black person to be elected to the New York attorney general's office. She told NBC News that there are several matters she intends to look into once she assumes office.
Those matters include: any possible illegalities involving Trump's New York real estate holdings; the meeting that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort held with a Russian operative in Trump Tower in July 2016; Trump's possible violation of the Constitution's emoluments clause, which forbids the president from accepting gifts or payments from foreign leaders; government subsidies Trump has received in New York; and finally, continue an existing investigation into the Trump Foundation that former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched.
In addition, James has thrown her support behind a bill that would modify New York's double jeopardy laws; if passed, the legislation would allow James' office to press state charges against people who receive presidential pardons, something current law may prevent her from doing. James predicts this bill will pass within her first 100 days in office.
"It is a priority because I have concerns with respect to the possibility that this administration might pardon some individuals who might face some criminal charges, but I do not want them to be immune from state charges," she told NBC News. The bill's sponsors note that it would not apply to Manafort and Cohen, due to the specificities of their legal troubles.
The New York AG's office has been probing Trump since at least 2016, when Schneiderman launched an investigation into the Trump Foundation. That lawsuit seeks to determine whether the foundation illegally coordinated with the Trump presidential campaign, or used ostensibly-charitable funds to settle lawsuits against Trump. That lawsuit outlasted Schneiderman, who resigned under sexual assault allegations in 2018. Schneiderman denies the allegations. The investigation he launched is currently under the authority of acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who was appointed to the position on an interim basis.
Any investigations that James pursues will take place concurrent to the federal probes by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and, separately, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, both of whom are already investigating possible illegality by Trump, his associates, or the Trump Organization. James addressed the Mueller probe, telling NBC News that she thinks it will soon bring Trump down.
"I think [Mueller]'s closing in on this president," James said, "and his days are going to be coming to an end shortly."
On Tuesday, hours after the NBC News piece on James' comments was published, Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, was sentenced to three years in prison for lying to Congress and facilitating a hush money payment to Stormy Daniels on Trump's behalf.