NY AG investigation into Trump businesses produces "suggestions" of tax, business issues

(AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)

New York Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating the Trump organization in the Big Apple from the moment she took office in January of 2019, a period of more than three years. Now, after all this time, she has announced some of the findings of this ongoing project, but anyone looking for some sort of bombshell revelation will have a while longer to wait. This week’s announcement was filled with all manner of vague suggestions and suspicions, but it doesn’t sound like much for a prosecutor to hang their hat on. She claims to have found evidence “suggesting” fraudulent financial activity or “misstatements” to business associates. And he also didn’t seem to point a finger directly at the former president, instead calling out Donald Trump jr. and Ivanka Trump. (NBC News)

New York Attorney General Letitia James disclosed new details Tuesday night about her civil investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business, saying the probe has uncovered evidence suggesting the fraudulent valuing of multiple assets and misrepresentations of those values to financial institutions for economic benefit.

James, who launched her probe in 2019, also said in the court filing that the former president “had ultimate authority over a wide swath of conduct by the Trump Organization involving misstatements to counterparties, including financial institutions, and the Internal Revenue Service.”

She further referenced two of the former president’s adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump.

This appears to be essentially a nothingburger. James repeatedly referenced the submission of “misleading asset valuations” to Deutsche Bank and the federal government. You can tell that she never really hit pay dirt because Tuesday night’s statement concluded by saying that her office “has not yet reached a final decision regarding whether this evidence merits legal action.”

The supposed crime the DA is talking about is the practice of businesses attempting to inflate the apparent value of their assets to gain a more favorable interest rate when taking out corporate loans. A tax attorney friend of mine previously told me that if you look deeply enough into the financial records of any company with more than a few dozen employees you’ll find the same thing. It’s the corporate equivalent of fluffing up your resume with inflated descriptions of your previous job responsibilities in the hope of improving your chances of being hired.

Should we really be surprised at this development? Letitia James has been obsessed with Donald Trump since before she ever took office. She ran for her position as District Attorney on a platform of finding a way to “punish” Donald Trump when he was very unpopular in ultra-liberal New York City. She has been focused on this almost exclusively since taking office with the brief exception of reluctantly going after Andrew Cuomo. (And it’s arguable that she had political motivations for that as well, since she had previously indicated an interest in replacing him as governor.)

This has been a fishing expedition from the beginning and the fish obviously haven’t been biting very well. Typically, there needs to be some reasonable evidence or suggestion that a crime has been committed before a District Attorney launches an investigation, particularly one as sprawling and broad as this one has been. James went into this blindly, confident that if she peered deeply enough into the records of the Bad Orange Man, she would eventually find something to make her famous by taking him down.

But then, Trump lost the election and was out of the White House. Different concerns grabbed the attention of the nation. And Letitia James has been left off in the corner, still scrambling in the hopes of regaining her five minutes of fame by taking shots at the former president she despises.