NY AG declares "criminal investigation" of Trump Organization

(Holly Pickett/The New York Times via AP, Pool, File)

It’s a great day for most of the mainstream press outlets because they were given a special gift by the Attorney General of New York State last night. Nothing drives traffic like another Orange Man Bad headline, and Letitia James put out a press release last night saying that her yearslong investigation into every nook and cranny of the Trump Organization in New York has moved from “a civil investigation” to “a criminal investigation.” (Insert dramatic hamster meme music here.)

Of course, few details were offered. The best explanation for this is the possibility that the complaints from bitter ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen may have resulted in the discovery of incidents where the Trump Organization inflated the value of some of its assets in an effort to negotiate favorable interest rates on loans or similar financial tricks. But as long as they can tie the word “criminal” to Donald Trump’s name, there were probably some champagne corks popping at the AG’s office on Tuesday evening. (NBC News)

The New York Attorney General’s office said Tuesday that it is pursuing a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization, in addition to the ongoing civil probe.

“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. We have no additional comment at this time,” said Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for the office said in a statement.

Tish James, the attorney general, has been at the forefront of legal action against former President Donald Trump’s family business.

Before continuing, I do have one question for Dartunorro Clark at NBC News. (The reporter who filed the story.) When did we start referring to the Attorney General as “Tish?” Are you two on a first name basis now?

Anyway, this shouldn’t come as any sort of a surprise. Letitia James ran for office on a platform promising to “resist” President Donald Trump. She’s been in cahoots with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office from day one launching a series of fishing expeditions to try to find something… anything… to hang around Trump’s neck. She’s already managed to shut down one of Trump’s charitable organizations on what appeared to be largely a series of technicalities.

Going after Trump has been James’ obsession since day one and it seems to take up most of her time, except when she grudgingly looks into Governor Andrew Cuomo’s mountain of scandals. If the Trump Organization actually did overestimate the value of some of its assets to gain negotiating leverage, that’s the sort of thing they would be hit with a fine for. Sadly for Ms. James, the Bad Orange Man won’t be doing any time behind bars for it.

This entire saga has really been an embarrassment for New York State. If you look deeply enough into the books of any large commercial enterprise you’ll probably eventually find someplace where its bean counters have colored outside the lines. Meanwhile, James holds a position as the top law enforcement official in the nation’s fourth-largest state. It’s also a state where the crime rates have been steadily rising, particularly in New York City. You rarely if ever hear a peep out of James about that. How many hours and how much taxpayer money has been flushed into digging through all of the Trump organization’s financial filings?

Still, as I already said, this is a “mission accomplished” moment for Letitia James. She’s found “something” to hang on Trump, or at least believes she has. And CNN has been running the story across their chyron on a loop all morning. Well done, Madam Attorney General. You must be very proud.