As you’ve probably heard by now, prosecutors in various states have taken a keen interest in Donald Trump. In New York, for example, there are a number of investigations into the ex-president’s business and its financial practices, including ones being conducted by the Westchester district attorney, the Manhattan district attorney, and the New York attorney general. In the case of the Manhattan D.A.’s office, the Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, were charged with a cornucopia of felonies in July, which is obviously no good, very bad news for the family business. (Both the Trump Organization and Weisselberg have pleaded not guilty.) But that’s not the only probe undoubtedly keeping Team Trump up at night. For instance, last month, New York Attorney General Letitia James subpoenaed Donald Trump for his testimony as part of a civil fraud investigation—which he naturally responded to by suing her—and now James has demanded a word with the ex-president’s eldest children. And they’re not happy about it!
The Associated Press reports that James’s office confirmed on Monday that it has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, seeking testimony and documents as part of a multiyear civil probe of matters including “the valuation of properties owned or controlled” by Trump and his company. Before she became a senior White House adviser, Ivanka Trump served as an executive at the Trump Organization. After Trump was elected in 2016, both Don Jr. and Eric Trump took over the day-to-day running of the company. James’s investigation appears to deal with matters predating Trump’s time in the White House, i.e. when both children in question were Trump Organization employees.
In response to the subpoenas, because they are nothing if not chips off the old block, Ivanka and Don Jr. have refused to comply; ABC News reports that the duo will shortly be filing motions to quash the orders. A document filed jointly by James’s office and an attorney for the Trump Organization noted that the Trump kids will now be named as respondents in the A.G.’s ongoing inquiry, according to the outlet. In a statement, James’s office told ABC News, “As her investigation into financial dealing of the Trump Organization continues, Attorney General James is seeking interviews under oath of Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump. Despite numerous attempts to delay our investigation by the Trump Organization, we are confident that our questions will be answered and the truth will be uncovered because no one is above the law.”
Both James and the Manhattan district attorney’s office are investigating whether the Trump Organization broke the law by inflating the value of its properties to attract lenders, while deflating them to minimize its tax bills. For example, when the Trump Organization was listing its assets for potential lenders in 2012, it said an office building it owns at 40 Wall Street was worth $527 million; a few months later, it told property tax officials the building was worth $16.7 million. In 2019, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, told Congress that in his experience, Trump “inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.” This past November, The Washington Post reported that the D.A.’s office had convened a second long-term grand jury to hear fresh evidence about the Trump Organization’s “financial practices” and would potentially vote on levying new charges. (It was the first grand jury, which met last spring, that returned the felony indictments against the Trump Organization and Weisselberg.) The new grand jury will meet three days a week over six months, sources told the Post at the time; according to one person familiar with the matter, staffers in the D.A.’s office have been working closely with James’s office.
While it’s not clear what the outcome for Ivanka and Donny-boy will be re: dodging the subpoenas, history is certainly not on their side. In 2020, James’s office subpoenaed Eric Trump, who initially refused to comply, before agreeing to sit for questioning in the fall. In October, a judge ordered their father to be deposed in a case accusing his security guards of assaulting protesters. As for the Trump family’s history of sitting for depositions, that hasn‘t gone so well either. In 2007, after Trump sued biographer Tim O’Brien for penning an unflattering but accurate portrait, O’Brien’s lawyers caught Trump in dozens of his own lies during a deposition, and in 2009, a judge dismissed the case altogether. In December 2020 and February 2021, Ivanka Trump and Don Jr., respectively, were deposed under oath by D.C.’s attorney general, and it certainly seems as though they lied about their involvement in their father’s inauguration.
Neither lawyers for the Trumps nor the Trump Organization responded to the AP’s requests for comment. In suing James, lawyers for the ex-president claimed the A.G. had violated his constitutional rights in a “thinly-veiled effort to publicly malign Trump and his associates.”
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In other Don Jr. news…
Someone agreed to marry him, but not to tell people about it for a year. Per the New York Post: