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New York AG: Trump Org investigation is now a criminal matter

It was a problem for Donald Trump when New York prosecutors pursued a civil case against his business. The fact that it's now a criminal case is much worse
Image:  Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City
Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City on June 22, 2020.Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images file

It was last summer when we learned that the New York attorney general's office was stepping up its inquiry into Donald Trump and the Trump Organization. At issue were allegations the Republican's business misled lenders by inflating the value of the company's assets -- claims bolstered by Michael Cohen, Trump's former fixer, who gave sworn testimony about the Trump Organization routinely lying to gain financial advantages.

If proven true, the alleged fraud could create all kinds of problems for the company, but at its core, the investigation was a civil matter, not a criminal one.

At least, that was the case at the time. NBC News, among several other news organizations, reported overnight that the New York attorney general's office, led by Letitia James (D), has confirmed that it is now 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," Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for the office, said in a statement.

In case this isn't obvious, this is the first-ever criminal investigation into a former president's business operation.

It's also part of a longer list of criminal probes into the Republican. Indeed, it's become challenging to keep track of the scope of Donald Trump's potentially criminal liabilities.

In addition to the criminal investigation from the New York attorney general's office, Trump is facing the possibility of an indictment from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who is also examining fraud allegations surrounding the former president and his business.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis has launched a criminal probe into Trump's alleged efforts to intervene in the state's vote count.

While we're at it, the attorney general in the District of Columbia, has said Trump could be charged with inciting a riot at the Capitol in January. The Washington Post reported earlier this year Trump's own legal advisers "expressed increasing concern" about the Republican's "possible criminal liability." The article added that Trump "has been told by attorneys that he could face legal jeopardy for inciting a mob."

All of this, of course, predates the criminal investigation Trump faced as part of the Russia scandal -- the statute of limitations hasn't run out on his alleged obstruction of justice -- and the multiple criminal investigations into many insiders on Team Trump.

The fact that this guy picked "law and order" as a campaign theme continues to be one of the most ironic things I've ever seen.