New York AG launches fishing expedition into Trump org finances

This should certainly prove interesting. When she was out on the campaign trail last year, New York State Attorney General candidate Letitia James promised her future constituents that she would be cleaning up crime and corruption if elected. But not the sort of crime most of the voters have to deal with on a regular basis. No, Ms. James promised that she would use her new office to go after President Trump. And now, having managed to win the office, that’s just what she’s doing.

The AG announced this week that she’s opening an investigation into connections between various Trump properties and the banks they did business with. These include Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank. And what specific crime has been committed that requires investigation? She apparently isn’t sure, but gosh darn it, she’s going to find something! (CNBC)

The New York attorney general’s office is looking into ties between Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank and several Trump Organization projects, the New York Times reported late Monday.

The attorney general’s office issued subpoenas late Monday to the banks, which opens an additional line of inquiry into Deutsche Bank’s dealings with Trump, the newspaper reported, citing one unnamed source.

The Democratic-controlled Intelligence Committee and Financial Services Committee in Congress have been exploring the finances of the Republican president and his businesses including his ties to Deutsche, one of the world’s largest financial institutions.

Deutsche Bank has lent Trump Organization hundreds of millions of dollars for real estate ventures and is one of the few major lenders that has given large amounts of credit to Trump after a string of bankruptcies at his hotel and casino businesses during the 1990s.

Normally, when the AG’s office opens a criminal investigation they have a crime that needs solving, or so one would assume. What basis does James have for believing that applies in this case? It comes from portions of the testimony from Michael Cohen. That’s right… the guy that’s already going to jail for lying. He asserted that Trump “sometimes” inflated his estimates of his personal wealth to impress people and then deflated the figures to avoid paying more taxes.

Just as an aside, it’s worth pointing out that even if you’re naturally inclined to believe Cohen despite his rather casual relationship with the truth in the past, he was Trump’s attorney, not his accountant. And even if we assume there is some merit to the charge, these types of cases are very hard to put together and prove because of the insanity of our tax code. Since we never managed any meaningful reform, corporations and wealthy people are still able to do things like buying vastly expensive pieces of machinery and immediately “devaluing” them incrementally so they can get a tax write-off. Everyone tries to make their assets and income look as small as possible at tax time. Some do it to an illegal extent. Did Trump? That’s going to take a lot of digging.

What’s obvious here is that this is yet another fishing expedition by the Democrats. If this is a tax issue, wouldn’t the accusation and investigation start with someone like the IRS? Naw… New York Democrats with national political ambitions have headlines to generate and Letitia James is no exception. So if she can’t identify a crime related to Donald Trump’s business empire, by golly she’ll keep digging until she finds one. Welcome to 2019.