Trump Sues Niece, And Publication Over Pulitzer-Winning Tax Story

In this file photo former US President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing at the White House September 27, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

 

Former US president Donald Trump on Tuesday filed a $100 million lawsuit against his estranged niece Mary Trump and The New York Times, alleging they engaged in “an insidious plot” to obtain his tax returns for the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of his finances.

The lawsuit, filed in Dutchess County, New York state, says that New York Times reporters Susanne Craig, David Barstow and Russ Buettner conducted “an extensive crusade to obtain Donald J. Trump’s confidential tax records.”

“The defendants engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records which they exploited for their own benefit and utilized as a means of falsely legitimizing their publicized works,” the lawsuit says, alleging they were “motivated by a personal vendetta.”

The New York Times and the three journalists won the Pulitzer in 2019 for their investigation of the Trump family’s finances, which the Pulitzer Prize Board said “debunked his claims of self-made wealth and revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges.”

The newspaper’s story alleged that Trump had received more than $400 million in today’s terms from his father’s real estate empire, much of it through fraudulent tax schemes.

Mary was the daughter of the eldest Trump brother Fred Trump Jr, who died in 1981 from complications due to alcoholism.

In her no-holds-barred 2020 memoir, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” she revealed that she was the primary source for the New York Times investigation.

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‘Loser’ 

In this file photo taken on December 7, 2020 -ex-US President Donald Trump looks on during a ceremony presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to wrestler Dan Gable in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. AFP

 

Trump’s 27-page lawsuit asserts that the New York Times reporters “relentlessly sought out his niece, Mary L. Trump, and convinced her to smuggle the records out of her attorney’s office and turn them over to The Times.”

Times reporter Craig tweeted early Wednesday: “I knocked on Mary Trump’s door. She opened it. I think they call that journalism.”

The lawsuit alleges that, by providing information, Mary Trump was in violation of a non-disclosure agreement signed in 2001 after a settlement over the estate of Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump Sr.

The former president is seeking $100 million in compensation and damages, as well as all the proceeds from his niece’s book.

In a statement quoted by NBC, Mary Trump called her uncle “a loser.”

“It’s desperation. The walls are closing in and he is throwing anything against the wall that he thinks will stick,” she said.

“As is always the case with Donald, he’ll try and change the subject.”

Trump is under investigation in New York for tax fraud and other alleged wrongdoings relating to the financial activities of his Trump Organization.

The Justice Department in August also ordered the Treasury to provide a congressional committee with six years of records that Trump has long refused to make public.

US presidents are not required by law to release details of their personal finances, but every US leader since Richard Nixon has done so.

Trump repeatedly said he would release them pending an audit but ultimately broke with the tradition.

“The Times’s coverage of Donald Trump’s taxes helped inform citizens through meticulous reporting on a subject of overriding public interest,” Danielle Rhoades Ha, a spokeswoman for the paper, said in a statement quoted by US media.

“This lawsuit is an attempt to silence independent news organizations and we plan to vigorously defend against it.”

AFP

Last US Troops Leave Afghanistan, Ending 20-Year War – Pentagon

In this file photo taken on October 27, 2014, US Marines board a C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft headed to Kandahar as British and US forces withdraw from the Camp Bastion-Leatherneck complex at Lashkar Gah in Helmand province.  Wakil KOHSAR / AFP

 

The US military announced the departure of the last US troops from Afghanistan Monday, concluding a 20-year conflict that ended with the Taliban seizing control of the country.

“I’m here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the military mission to evacuate American citizens,” head of Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie said.

The last flight, a large C-17 military transport, took off from Hamid Karzai International Airport one minute before midnight Kabul time, McKenzie said. President Joe Biden set a deadline of August 31 for the withdrawal earlier this year.

The final flight took place under heavy security following two attacks on the two-week evacuation operation by Islamic State-Khorasan — one a suicide bombing that left more than 100 people dead, including 13 US troops.

McKenzie said the Taliban had been “very helpful and useful” in conducting the evacuation and the final flights, despite the deep enmity between the two sides.

US troops led a NATO coalition to eject the Taliban from power in 2001 after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States by Al-Qaeda, which was based in Afghanistan and protected by the Taliban.

The sound of gunfire was heard across Kabul after the US military confirmed their exit to end the 20-year war.

AFP

Twitter Suspends Pro-Trump US Lawmaker

In this file photo US Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene(R-GA) holds a press conference to call for the dismissal of Dr. Anthony Fauci on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on June 15, 2021. 
JIM WATSON / AFP

 

Twitter said Tuesday it had suspended the account of controversial US lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene, a staunch supporter of former Republican president Donald Trump, for a week over a “misleading” tweet on coronavirus vaccines.

The tweet in question, sent on Monday, said the US Food and Drug Administration should not give final approval to anti-coronavirus vaccines, with Greene saying they were “failing” and did not curb the spread of the virus.

Twitter labeled the message “misleading” and suggested that users consult information provided by US health authorities about vaccines and mask-wearing.

“The tweet you referenced was labeled in line with our Covid-19 misleading information policy,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to AFP.

“The account will be in read-only mode for a week due to repeated violations of the Twitter rules.”

The platform’s rules on Covid misinformation state that a seven-day suspension comes with a fourth violation of the site’s terms of use.

If the first-term Georgia congresswoman were to break the rules again, she could face a permanent ban.

Greene accused Twitter of suspending her for “speaking the truth, and tweeting what so many people are saying.”

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The lawmaker has been a staunch defender of Trump and his unsubstantiated claims that Democrats stole the 2020 presidential election.

In February, she apologized for her past support for QAnon conspiracy theories but was stripped of her two committee assignments.

Then in May, she courted controversy by repeatedly equating mask mandates with Nazis forcing Jews to wear yellow stars in wartime Germany.

AFP

Trump Moves To Block Congress From Getting His Taxes

In this file photo ex-US President Donald Trump speaks following a section of the border wall in Alamo, Texas, on January 12, 2021.  MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

Former US President Donald Trump moved Wednesday to block the Treasury from handing over years of his tax records to a congressional committee, which some belief could expose abuse of tax laws.

In a Washington court filing, Trump’s lawyers objected to a Justice Department order last week that the Treasury, after stalling for years, needed to provide the House Ways and Means Committee with six years of records that Trump has long refused to make public.

The lawyers argue that while the committee claims to be investigating how the Internal Revenue Service handles cases like Trump’s — the former president said for years that his taxes were under audit — in fact, the request is driven by politics.

The aim of the Democratic-controlled panel, the filing says, “is to expose the private tax information of one individual — President Trump — for political gain.”

“The requests single out President Trump because he is a Republican and a political opponent,” it adds.

“They were made to retaliate against President Trump because of his policy positions, his political beliefs, and his protected speech, including the positions he took during the 2016 and 2020 campaigns,” it said.

The US Justice Department ordered the Treasury on Friday to hand Trump’s tax records to the committee, which subpoenaed them in 2019.

Committee chairman Richard Neal had argued that his members needed the returns to understand how the IRS conducts its presidential audits and whether Trump had exerted “undue influence” over the agency.

Trump claimed for years that he could not make the records public because they were under audit, and when he was president, the Republican-controlled Treasury and Justice Department sided with him on the issue.

Both departments are now led by Democrats, and the Justice Department argued last week that the committee had a legitimate interest in seeing Trump’s records.

Some suspect that the records would show the billionaire property tycoon manipulated the tax code to pay very little over a long period.

Trump is under investigation in New York for tax fraud and other wrongdoings relating to the financial activities of his Trump Organization.

In February the Supreme Court declined to block a subpoena of Trump’s taxes by a New York prosecutors.

All US presidents since Richard Nixon, who took office in 1969, have made public their tax and asset records.

Trump To Visit ‘Lawless’ Texas-Mexico Border

In this file photo former US President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing at the White House September 27, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

 

Former US president Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he will visit the US border with Mexico in a move to contrast his tough stance against immigration with successor Joe Biden’s more humane approach.

Trump said in a statement that he would join Texas Governor Greg Abbott to visit “our nation’s decimated southern border” on June 30.

“The Biden administration inherited from me the strongest, safest, and most secure border in US history and in mere weeks they turned it into the single worst border crisis in US history,” he said.

“We went from having border security that was the envy of the world to a lawless border that is now pitied around the world.”

Trump is taking advantage of data showing the Biden administration, promising a more humane approach to migrants fleeing poverty and violence in Central America, has struggled to fend off hundreds of thousands attempting to cross the border in recent months.

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In this file photo ex-US President Donald Trump speaks following a section of the border wall in Alamo, Texas, on January 12, 2021. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

From March to May more than 530,000 people were apprehended and pushed back into Mexico after attempting to cross without legal immigration papers, according to the Customs and Border Protection.

There is no official estimate on how many did get through, but the sheer number of attempts suggests a rise in successful crossings, CBP officers have said.

And Republicans have sought to damage Biden’s popularity by highlighting what they call a crisis at the border.

Abbott meanwhile announced that he would resume building a Trump-planned wall along the border after Biden stopped the project.

Texas “will do what Biden REFUSES to do — protect our citizens along the southern border,” Abbott tweeted Tuesday.

Trump’s announcement was the latest sign that, since leaving the White House on January 20, Trump intends to keep challenging the Democrat by holding out the possibility of running again in 2024.

With a strong sway over the Republican voter base, Trump has flexed his influence since leaving office, appearing at a major Republican conference in February, and joining a local candidate’s event in North Carolina and a party fundraiser in Florida since then.

AFP

New York Prosecutors Form Grand Jury In Trump Probe

File photo: Former US President Donald Trump delivers an update on “Operation Warp Speed” in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on November 13, 2020.
MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

New York prosecutors have convened a grand jury that is expected to decide whether to indict former president Donald Trump, suggesting they may have found evidence of a crime, US media reported Tuesday.

The development is the latest step towards the 74-year-old Trump, who left the White House in January, possibly becoming the first ever ex-US leader to face criminal charges.

Trump fired off a statement in response to the reports, rejecting the investigation as “purely political” and “a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history.”

“It’s never stopped… No other President in history has had to put up with what I have had to,” he wrote.

The grand jury was set up recently and will sit three days a week for six months, reported The Washington Post, citing two unnamed people familiar with the case.

The panel is also hearing several matters unrelated to Trump’s case, the paper added.

The Washington Post said the move, also reported by ABC, suggests that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance may have found evidence of a crime, if not by Trump then somebody close to him.

A spokesman for Vance refused to comment when contacted by AFP.

In the United States, prosecutors typically refer important cases to grand juries made up of citizens who examine the prosecution’s case in secret. They hear evidence and can request additional documents before deciding whether criminal charges should be brought.

Vance and New York state Attorney General Letitia James, both Democrats, are investigating Trump’s business dealings — prompting the Republican to claim he is being persecuted.

“This is purely political, and an affront to the almost 75 million voters who supported me in the Presidential Election, and it’s being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors,” Trump charged in his statement.

– Will Trump lieutenant turn? –

Investigators are examining whether the Trump Organization committed tax evasion, insurance and bank fraud.

Vance’s probe initially focused on hush payments made to two women who allege they had affairs with Trump — but the investigation has since been expanded.

Investigators suspect the Trump Organization may have artificially inflated and reduced the value of assets, particularly several properties in New York state, to either get bank loans or reduce their taxes.

Last week, James said her office was investigating the Trump Organization in a “criminal capacity” and was working with Vance’s team.

The Trump Organization did not respond to an AFP request for comment on Tuesday.

Vance, who leaves his post at the end of December, acquired eight years of Trump’s tax returns in February after a years-long legal battle that went to the Supreme Court.

Investigators are notably looking into the remuneration of key executives at the Trump Organization, according to the Post.

According to several media, Vance’s team has been looking closely at the Trump Organization’s long-serving chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, one of the family’s most loyal servants.

Investigators believe Weisselberg knows all of the Trump family secrets and have been putting pressure on him for months to cooperate with their investigation.

Observers are closely watching whether Weisselberg will turn against his former boss.

Trump’s ex-personal lawyer Michael Cohen — jailed for tax evasion and violating campaign finance laws — was one of his closest henchmen before turning against his former boss and deciding to cooperate with prosecutors.

Twitter Suspends Accounts Promoting Trump Affiliated Websites

File COMBO of Twitter and Former US President, Donald trump

 

Twitter on Thursday confirmed that it pulled the plug on several accounts trying to skirt its ban on former president Donald Trump by promoting his blog posts.

The ex-president launched a page on his website earlier this week promising comment “straight from the desk of Donald J Trump.”

The page was made public just before Facebook’s independent oversight board on Wednesday upheld the platform’s ban on Trump.

Twitter accounts with names playing on Trump themes and seeking to amplify the Trump website posts were taken offline, according to the platform.

“As stated in our ban evasion policy, we’ll take enforcement action on accounts whose apparent intent is to replace or promote content affiliated with a suspended account,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.

Twitter said it permanently suspended Trump’s account after the deadly January 6 Capitol riot because there was a risk he would further incite violence, following months of tweets disputing Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.

False and misleading claims about American politics have plummeted, a trend for which Twitter and Facebook are keen to take credit.

With Trump muted, Biden less engaged on social media, and no election cycle underway, Americans are now living in a different media ecosystem.

“The single most important thing was de-platforming Donald Trump,” said Russell Muirhead, a Dartmouth University professor and co-author of “A Lot of People Are Saying,” a book whose title plays on one of Trump’s most popular sayings, used when promoting unproven theories.

“It has removed a daily blizzard of misinformation from the ecosystem,” Muirhead told AFP. “Not being bombarded is helping people’s misinformation immune systems to reset themselves and recover.”

Social media was long Trump’s weapon of choice, letting him fire off comments without having to explain or back claims.

Biden Unveils Reversal Of Trump’s Tax Cuts For Wealthiest People

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the nation about the new coronavirus relief package from the Rosevelt Room of The White House on February 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum-Pool/Getty Images/AFP
File photo: U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the nation about the new coronavirus relief package from the Rosevelt Room of The White House on February 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum-Pool/Getty Images/AFP

 

President Joe Biden will call for reversing his predecessor Donald Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy to pay for a huge middle class families spending program, senior administration officials said Wednesday.

Biden will use his speech to a joint session of Congress to unveil the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, funded by ending Trump’s tax cuts and closing loopholes used by the most wealthy to escape paying their share, officials said.

“The president will be proposing a set of measures to make sure the wealthiest Americans pay the taxes that they owe, while also ensuring that no one making less than $400,000 a year will see their taxes go up,” one official, who asked not to be identified, told reporters.

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The spending plan, which will need approval by a deeply divided Congress, would pour money into early education, childcare, higher education and other building blocks in what the Biden administration argues will be reconstruction of the country’s battered middle class.

Some $800 billion would be sent out in tax cuts for lower income people and another $1 trillion would be invested.

The strategy, an official said, is “to build back better and generate a strong and inclusive economy for the future.”

Tax credits will cut child poverty and halve the price of childcare, allowing mothers to remain longer in the labor force, the official said, predicting “a larger, more productive and healthier workforce.”

The plan to pay for the huge government program will likely be a lightning rod for Republican members of Congress.

But the White House is banking on voter support by targeting the tax increases firmly at the super rich.

They would pay a top income tax rate of 39.6 percent, ending the reduction to 37 percent enacted under Trump.

The Biden plan would also end loopholes and capital income tax breaks, while raising “billions,” according to the White House in tighter taxes on inherited wealth.

Officials said that the measures would be enough to pay for the nearly $2 trillion spending program within 15 years — and make the country fairer.

“The president’s plan makes clear where we should be reducing the tax burden and where he thinks we should appropriately increase taxes,” an official said.

“There is broad support among the American people for this approach, there’s broad support for the American people for the investments these resources will go to,” he said.

“These reforms are fundamentally about fairness in the tax code.”

AFP

Capitol Police Sue Trump Over January 6 Insurrection

In this file photo former US President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing at the White House on September 27, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

 

Two Capitol Police officers sued former US president Donald Trump Tuesday for inciting the January 6 insurrection that left dozens of their fellow officers injured and one dead.

Officers James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby said they suffered “physical and emotional injuries” in the riot they said was fomented by Trump, when he was in his final weeks as president and refusing to accept his election defeat.

“The insurrectionists were spurred on by Trump’s conduct over many months in getting his followers to believe his false allegation that he was about to be forced out of the White House because of massive election fraud,” they said in the suit filed in federal court in Washington.

“The insurrectionist mob, which Trump had inflamed, encouraged, incited, directed, and aided and abetted, forced its way over and past the plaintiffs and their fellow officers, pursuing and attacking them.”

Blassingame, a 17-year veteran of the Capitol police force, said he incurred injuries to his head and back and suffers emotionally from the event.

READ ALSO: Biden To Unveil $2 Trillion ‘Once-In-A-Century’ Infrastructure Plan

The African-American officer said he was subjected to racist attacks during the assault on Congress from the Trump supporters.

In this file photo taken on December 7, 2020 -ex-US President Donald Trump looks on during a ceremony presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to wrestler Dan Gable in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. Former president Donald Trump will not testify in his Senate impeachment trial next week, an advisor said on February 4, 2021.

 

Hemby, an 11-year officer, has hand and knee injuries after being crushed against Capitol building doors, and was sprayed in his face and on his body by chemical sprays in the attack.

“Officer Hemby normally has a calm demeanor but has struggled to manage the emotional fallout from being relentlessly attacked,” the suit says.

The lawsuit compiles numerous instances in which it says Trump encouraged the insurrection.

It accuses Trump of directing and abetting assault and battery and emotional distress, incitement to riot, and violating public safety statutes.

The officers asked the court for compensatory damages of a minimum of $75,000 each and an unstated amount in punitive damages.

AFP

Trump To Face Another Lawsuit Over US Capitol Attack

A Democratic congressman filed a lawsuit on Friday against former president Donald Trump, his son Donald Jr, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and a Republican lawmaker for allegedly inciting the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Trump, 74, and the other defendants waged a “campaign of lies and incendiary rhetoric” which led to the assault on Congress, Representative Eric Swalwell of California charged in the civil suit filed in a US District Court in Washington.

Another Democratic congressman, Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, filed a similar suit against Trump last month.

Both suits cite a little-used law, the Ku Klux Klan Act, to make the case against the former president.

The 1871 rule was designed to prevent the white supremacist KKK from intimidating elected officials.

Trump, Donald Jr, Giuliani, and Representative Mo Brooks, a congressman from Alabama, all spoke at a rally that preceded the January 6 attack on Congress by Trump supporters seeking to block the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.

“Unable to accept defeat, Donald Trump waged an all-out war on a peaceful transition of power,” Swalwell said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

“He lied to his followers, again and again, claiming the election was stolen,” he said, “and finally called upon his supporters to descend on Washington DC to ‘stop the steal.'”

“The defendants assembled, inflamed and incited the mob, and as such are wholly responsible for the injury and destruction that followed,” Swalwell said.

The suit demanded unspecified monetary and punitive damages to be determined at a jury trial.

Swalwell was one of the impeachment managers for Trump’s trial in the Senate on the charge of inciting insurrection.

Trump was impeached by the Democratic-majority House of Representatives for his role in inciting the attack on the Capitol but acquitted by the Senate.

Thompson and the NAACP, a civil rights organization, filed suit against Trump, Giuliani and two right-wing groups, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, last month.

Jason Miller, a Trump spokesman, responded to the latest lawsuit in a statement to The Washington Post. “Eric Swalwell is a low-life with no credibility,” Miller said

-AFP

Trump To Be Allowed Back On YouTube When ‘Risk Of Violence’ Falls

In this file photo former US President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing at the White House September 27, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

 

Former US president Donald Trump will be allowed back on YouTube but only when the threat of his inciting violence abates, the head of the popular online video sharing platform said Thursday.

YouTube in late January suspended Trump’s channel, joining other social media platforms in banning his accounts following the deadly January 6 Capitol riot.

“We will lift the suspension of the Donald Trump channel when we determine that the risk of violence has decreased,” YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki said during a streamed Atlantic Council interview.

“Given just the warnings by the Capitol Police yesterday about a potential attack today, I think it is pretty clear that that elevated violence risk still remains.”

Wojcicki said that when the Trump channel is reinstated, it will remain subject to the same “three strike” system as everyone else at YouTube.

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Uploading videos that break YouTube rules such as those against inciting violence or falsely attacking election integrity would earn the channel more strikes and suspensions.

Channels that get three strikes within a 90-day period are removed from YouTube, Wojcicki noted.

 

In this file photo taken on December 7, 2020 -ex-US President Donald Trump looks on during a ceremony presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to wrestler Dan Gable in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. AFP

 

“This was the first strike,” she said of the Trump channel.

“We have applied strikes to over world leaders; (Jair) Bolsonaro in Brazil for Covid-19 misinformation, channels taken down now in Myanmar.”

Factors considered when assessing when it is safe to allow Trump back on YouTube will include online rhetoric along with concerns expressed by police departments and government agencies regarding risks of politically fueled violence, according to Wojcicki.

She felt it important to hold world leaders to the same standards as everyone else on YouTube, reasoning that it is “a very dangerous path to say some people have a free pass” when it comes to breaking content rules.

The Google-owned firm has faced criticism over its slow response following the violence in Washington, as well as the proliferation of conspiracy theories on the platform.

Trump has been banned from other online platforms including Twitter and Facebook. An independent board created by Facebook is reviewing the decision by the leading social network.

AFP

New York Prosecutors Obtain Trump’s Tax Records – Spokesman

(FILES) In this file photo former US President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing at the White House September 27, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

 

New York prosecutors investigating former president Donald Trump’s finances have received his tax returns following a marathon legal battle, a spokesman said Thursday.

“Our office obtained the records on Monday,” Danny Frost, a spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, told AFP.

Vance’s office obtained the returns after the Supreme Court on Monday rejected a last-ditch bid by Trump’s lawyers to block the release of the records.

The prosecutor is investigating hush payments made to two women who allege they had affairs with Trump and possible fraud.

Vance, a Democrat, fought for over a year to obtain the eight years of returns.

He issued a subpoena to Trump’s accountants Mazars USA in August 2019 ordering the company to furnish documents stretching back to 2011.

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Vance’s probe was initially focused on payments made before the 2016 presidential election to two women who claim they had affairs with Trump, including porn star Stormy Daniels.

But the state-level investigation is also now examining possible allegations of tax evasion, and insurance and bank fraud.

Trump, who left the White House last month, called the investigation “a continuation of the greatest political witch hunt in the history of our country.”

US presidents are not required by law to release details of their personal finances but every US leader since Richard Nixon has done so.

Trump repeatedly said he would release them pending an audit but ultimately broke with the tradition.

Vance’s investigators have interviewed Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who received a three-year prison term after admitting making hush payments to the two women.

In this file photo taken on December 7, 2020 -ex-US President Donald Trump looks on during a ceremony presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to wrestler Dan Gable in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. AFP

 

The ex-lawyer had testified to Congress that Trump and his company artificially inflated and devalued the worth of their assets to both obtain bank loans and reduce their taxes.

If Trump were charged and convicted he could face a possible jail term. Unlike federal offenses, state crimes are not subject to presidential pardons.

Investigators also recently interviewed employees of Deutsche Bank, which has long backed the former president and the Trump Organization, US media reported.

They spoke to staff at Trump’s insurance broker Aon, too.

Vance’s investigation is taking place behind closed doors in front of a Grand Jury.

It is unclear if and when it will lead to a prosecution, which would be the first of a former US president.

In July, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s argument that as a sitting president he was immune from prosecution.

Trump’s lawyers then challenged the scope of the requested documents, saying it was too broad.

AFP