Earlier this month, NY Attorney General Letitia James issued subpoenas to former US President Donald Trump and his two eldest children, Donald Trump, Jr. and Ivanka Trump, as part of an ongoing civil tax fraud investigation into the Trump Organisation. The AG claims to have uncovered “significant evidence” of fraudulent dealings.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, and fixer told MSNBC on Saturday that there is “not a chance” Trump would throw himself on the line for Ivanka and Don Jr. The NY AG’s office has filed a motion to compel the trio to respond to subpoenas requiring separate sworn testimonies as part of a probe examining the Trump Organisation’s valuations and transactions.
“Donald cares only about Donald, more than he would care about his children”, said Cohen.
As for Ivanka and Don Jr., Cohen believes the chances they cooperate with the probe are “slim to none”. Cohen, 55, was disbarred and served three years in prison after pleading guilty to eight criminal counts, including five counts of tax evasion. Cohen’s crimes were committed while he was retained as Trump’s personal attorney.
The New York state legal action is reportedly designed to advance a civil investigation into whether the Trump Organisation committed fraud while reporting the valuation of certain properties to tax authorities and banks.
“For more than two years, the Trump Organisation has used delay tactics and litigation in an attempt to thwart a legitimate investigation into its financial dealings”, the NY AG noted in a news release.
“You may recall that there was the district attorney’s case here for Trump Soho where it was either Don or Ivanka was in very big trouble as a result of lying about the number of units that had been sold”, Cohen recounted to MSNBC.
The ex-lawyer said that Trump explicitly told him something to the effect of “if one or the other has to go to prison, make sure that it’s Don because Don would be able to handle it”.
Ivanka and Don Jr. notoriously avoided criminal indictments from the Manhattan DA’s office in 2012, after long-time Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz contributed over $50,000 to Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr.’s re-election campaign.
In 2017, a joint probe conducted by ProPublica, WNYC, and The New Yorker found that the Manhattan DA’s fraud investigation was dropped some months after the Trump legal team reached a settlement in which they agreed to return 90% of the disgruntled Trump SoHo buyers’ deposits, as well as their legal fees. Vance maintains that his decision was ethical.
“I did not at the time believe beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had been committed”, Vance claimed at the time. “I had to make a call and I made the call, and I think I made the right call”.
In an unusual move, the plaintiffs agreed to not cooperate with prosecutors in the future, unless subpoenaed.
“It’s a very unfair situation for my children. Very, very unfair,” Trump told The Washington Examiner in an interview published Friday.