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New York’s Democratic attorney general, who ran for office to go after Donald Trump, did so yesterday in the form of a civil suit.

Letitia James also named Trump’s children – Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka – saying that the Trump Organization committed all kinds of fraud in raising real estate assets to obtain more favorable loans.

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James used his platform – just seconds after President Biden wrapped up his UN speech to accuse Russia of trying to wipe Ukraine off the map – to accuse Trump and company of violating state laws. For.

But the reason she could only file a civil suit was that the same charges were the subject of a criminal investigation by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, and she chose not to charge, prompting two of her prosecutors to step down.

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James also said he would send evidence to the Justice Department.

The three-year-old civil investigation, in which Trump has made a fifth plea, alleged that he crossed all kinds of lines to manipulate the value of his assets to “unjustly enrich himself and defraud the system”. did, James said.

But the complexity of the matter became clear as soon as he spoke. All real estate companies try to make their balance sheets look better than theirs and are legally allowed enough leeway to do so.

The AG must prove that Trump Organization officials breached legal limits due to the way they valued their properties (one example: their Trump Tower apartment was claimed to be three times the actual size). The Trump side would bring in its own experts who would say these were fair assessments — those accepted by the major banks — and that it could drag on in court for a long time.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at Hilton Anatole on August 06, 2022 in Dallas, Texas.

“Another witch hunt by the racist attorney general, Letitia James, who failed in her run for governor, was receiving almost zero support from the public, and is now doing poorly” against GOP nominee Michael Henry. (While a Trafalgar poll puts Henry 1 point ahead of James, who is black, the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics says the blue-state race is not competitive.)

Trump also said: “He is a hoax who campaigned on the ‘Get Trump’ platform, despite the fact that the city under his watch is one of the world’s crime and murder disasters!” In fairness, the state attorney general’s office has nothing to do with prosecuting local crimes in New York City.

It is clearly extraordinary for a former president to face these kinds of charges. Trump’s commercial success was central to his first campaign, and he claims that net worth has always been an integral part of his larger ego.

James said she’s not trying to put the company out of business — Trump could reorganize, or reorganize in another state — but she is proposing very drastic measures. Trump Org will not be able to buy any real estate in New York for five years and will have to remove family members from their roles, which could cripple the firm.

But James showed his partisan distaste for the Trump show when he declared that his works were not “the art of the bargain” but the “art of stealing.”

In the meantime, Trump may still have second thoughts about asking for a particular mentor. Raymond Deary, a Reagan appointee who was the top federal judge in New York, is taking a no-nonsense approach to the former president’s claims. It’s summarized by Killer Sound Bite: “You can’t have your cake and eat it.”

Dearie is demanding that Trump provide evidence that he somehow made public all the documents he took to Mar-a-Lago. Trump has argued this rhetorically, but his lawyers have not argued in court, where intentional false claims can be approved.

Unless Trump can back up his words, the retired judge says he will have to be guided by the fact that the documents, as we’ve all seen, were marked secret and top secret – and in some highly sensitive human sources and There is intelligence from foreign governments.

The accounting sought by Dearie also prompted Trump’s lawyers to accept the prospect of indictment, saying he could no longer be forced to answer questions that were part of his defense in a criminal case. Will be

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So the target of the Justice Department’s investigation has opened a Pandora’s box and may not like what comes out. Dearie is certainly tougher than Federalist Society member Eileen Cannon, who was appointed by Trump after his election loss and who named Special Master.

But as always with Trump’s endless scrutiny, the idea that he’s being unfairly attacked—he uses the word “persecuted”—only amplifies him from his base.

Politico/Morning Consulting poll says 52% of Republicans polled back Trump as their 2024 candidate. While that is down from 57% a month ago, a period of extremely poor campaigning for the 45th president, he crushed Ron DeSantis with 19%.

Politico says some in Trump World see the DOJ investigation as a political gift that has “allowed him to collate his base and provided him with the tools to bottling up money.”

Former President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower to meet with New York Attorney General Letitia James for a civil investigation on August 10, 2022 in New York City.

Then there’s this unnamed adviser who has been granted anonymity to take this shot: “I don’t think there’s any stunt DeSantis could attempt that would at this point make Trump the clear frontrunner in this race.” …with Trump at the center of the Democrats, the media-hating machine, it would be nearly impossible to remove him from Republican voters.”

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There was a time in journalism when an unknown source could not be quoted saying things like a “hate machine”.

Of course these elections are premature, but can anyone really doubt that Trump has a virtual lock on the Republican nomination? He says they will still participate if they are prosecuted – and if they are, the US will face “big problems” it has never seen before. Keep in mind, however, that he may never be charged, which would enable him to add the justice investigation to the list of “frauds.”

But whether Trump can win a general election — against Joe Biden, who just cast doubt on his candidacy, or anyone else — remains to be seen.