This has been some week in the Trump/Russia connection.
On Wednesday, the New York Times broke a story confirming Trump was presented two weeks before his inauguration highly classified intelligence indicating Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered cyber attacks to get Trump elected.
Since the Trump Corporation is headquartered in Manhattan, there are certain activities the New York AG is expected to investigate.
Last month, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed a civil lawsuit against Donald Trump, Donald Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump, as well as the Trump Foundation, stating:
“[Years] of illegal conduct by the Foundation and its board members includes improper and extensive political activity, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions, and failure to follow basic fiduciary obligations or to implement even elementary corporate formalities required by law.”
By legal definition, the Trump Foundation case meets all federal requirements for criminal prosecution. Violations are financially significant, involve activity spanning several years, are conspicuous, elaborate, and provide incredible explanations.
However, New York state law prohibits the attorney general legal authority to present criminal cases. Only after another state agency submits a referral to the AG is the AG then permitted to seek an indictment.
Since it has evidence of fraud, the state charities bureau could make this referral. But the bureau operates under the AG’s auspices.
Even if the New York City Police Department (NYPD) uncovered the Trump fraud, only Manhattan local district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. could prosecute. Vance, though, has no interest in pursuing anything pertaining to Trump.
Therefore, it is illegal for Underwood to criminally charge the Trumps.
But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has the authority to change this.
Alphonso David, Cuomo governor’s attorney, said in a statement:
“At Governor Cuomo’s direction, the state stands ready to provide the (New York) Attorney General with the appropriate criminal referral on this matter if and when she asks for it.”
Underwood’s spokeswoman, Amy Spitalnick, replied:
“We continue to evaluate the evidence to determine what additional actions may be warranted, and will seek a criminal referral from the appropriate state agency as necessary.”
After filing the June lawsuit, Underwood deferred criminal findings to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). She also requested a state judge dissolve the Trump Foundation and ban the president, his sons, and daughter Ivanka from holding further leadership positions in New York charities.
If you are a New York resident, you may contact Gov. Cuomo’s office via this email form, via Twitter at @NYGovCuomo, or telephone at 518-474-8390. His mailing address is: The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo / Governor of New York State / NYS State Capitol Building / Albany, N.Y. 12224.
Image credit: Crooks and Liars