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It Didn’t Take Long for NY AG Letitia James to Respond to Trump’s Defense of the NRA


It seems New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) noticed when President Donald Trump accused her office and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) Monday morning of laying “siege” to the National Rifle Association (NRA).

President Trump earlier Monday claimed that James and Cuomo are “illegally using the State’s legal apparatus to take down and destroy” the NRA.

The two tweets, when combined:

The NRA is under siege by Cuomo and the New York State A.G., who are illegally using the State’s legal apparatus to take down and destroy this very important organization, & others. It must get its act together quickly, stop the internal fighting, & get back to GREATNESS – FAST! People are fleeing New York State because of high taxes and yes, even oppression of sorts. They didn’t even put up a fight against SALT – could have won. So much litigation. The NRA should leave and fight from the outside of this very difficult to deal with (unfair) State!

James’ office released a statement on Twitter just a few hours later.

“Attorney General Letitia James is focused on enforcing the rule of law. In any case we pursue, we will follow the facts wherever they may lead,” the statement said. “We wish the President would share our respect for the law.”

James announced through a spokeswoman over the weekend that she has “launched an investigation” into the NRA’s finances and “issued subpoenas.” The announcement came down after NRA internal strife spilled out into the public.

Not only was it reported that Steve Hart, a longtime lawyer for the NRA board, had been suspended, NRA president Oliver North also announced he will not serve a second term in that role.

North had expressed concerns in a memo that the NRA might lose its nonprofit status due to alleged mismanagement of funds. An outside lawyer for the NRA said that the organization will cooperate fully, that it is “prepared for this” and that it has “full confidence in its accounting practices and commitment to good governance.”

James made waves before she was officially sworn in as Attorney General, vowing to “use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well.”

“We want to investigate anyone in his orbit who has, in fact, violated the law,” she said. “Donald Trump’s days of defrauding Americans are coming to an end.”

“We can spot a carnival barker,” James added. Some predicted that such comments could come back to haunt James by opening her up to claims of prosecutorial bias. Not long after that, attorneys for the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which agreed to dissolve in December, highlighted James’ “anti-Trump campaign” to their advantage.

“Newly elected New York Attorney General Letitia James ran on an anti-Trump campaign where she expressed grave antipathy and animus toward Mr. Trump,” they said. “Attorney General James has referred to President Trump as an ‘illegitimate President’ […] and has vowed to ‘use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well.’”

President Trump echoed that thinking on Monday, given the “& others” he referred to in his tweet.

Despite these complaints, James has had some recent success with her inquiries. Deutsche Bank, known for lending the Trump Organization more than $300 million according to public filings, has begun turning over records to the New York Attorney General’s office.

It happened in response to subpoenas issued by James having to do with specific Trump Organization projects. Already, the bank has started giving James’ office loan documents and emails related to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort; the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago; and the Trump’s failed bid at purchasing the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, “a person familiar with the production” told CNN.

Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.

[Image via MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.