Financial authorities in New York have already been investigating the Trump organization for years following the debut of the New York Times' vast report on the Trump family's century-long effort to dodge and evade taxes, but that probe has always been civil in nature.
Because the original investigation was civil, that suggested it may only result in fees, fines, or a significant tax bill, but the investigation is now criminal.
New York Attorney General Tish James announced this morning that her office is joining the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by the district attorney in Manhattan while a separate civil probe continues.
"We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature. We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA," James' spokesman Fabien Levy told CNN. "We have no additional comment."
A person familiar with the investigation said a couple of investigators with the New York attorney general's office, who are steeped in knowledge about the Trump Organization, have joined the district attorney's team. A different person familiar with the matter said the New York attorney general is still conducting a civil investigation. [...]
For the past two years, James' office looked into matters including whether or not it improperly inflated assets on financial statements to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits, as well as how Trump Organization employees were compensated.
I think we can infer that this would not be happening if either office had not already uncovered evidence of criminal activity or at least a good reason to believe they'll find evidence of crimes.
It's easy enough to let it disappear down the memory hole, but the media reports that led to this in first place were pretty astonishing. They revealed that Trump may have benefited from various illegal tax schemes for virtually his entire life; from the time he was just a child to the time before he took office.
I don't know if this will ever lead to a perp walk, but the New York attorney general's office is very close to vanquishing the National Rifle Associate (NRA) for financial crimes that are potentially less significant than the Trump Organization's apparent schemes. The Trump Organization may die before Trump himself does.