Former President Donald Trump said the New York attorney general office’s decision to work alongside the Manhattan district attorney in a criminal probe of his business dealings is nothing more than a “continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of the United States.”
Mr. Trump said New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. are “possessed” with taking him down.
“Working in conjunction with Washington, these Democrats want to silence and cancel millions of voters because they don’t want ‘Trump’ to run again,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “As people are being killed on the sidewalks of New York at an unprecedented rate, as drugs and crime of all kinds are flowing through New York City at record levels, with absolutely nothing being done about it, all they care about is taking down Trump.”
“There is nothing more corrupt than an investigation that is in desperate search of a crime,” the former president said. “But, make no mistake, that is exactly what is happening here.”
Ms. James’ office announced Tuesday it is conducting a criminal investigation into Mr. Trump’s business empire — expanding what previously had been a civil probe.
“We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the company is no longer purely civil in nature,” Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for Ms. James, said in a statement.
“We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA,” Mr. Levy said.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has been leading a criminal investigation into Mr. Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, for two years.
Mr. Trump, in his statement, said Ms. James made it clear during her 2018 campaign that she was targeting him “BEFORE she had seen even a shred of evidence.”
“This is something that happens in failed third world countries, not the United States,” he said. “If you can run for a prosecutor’s office pledging to take out your enemies, and be elected to that job by partisan voters who wish to enact political retribution, then we are no longer a free constitutional democracy.”
Mr. Trump said that Democrats have been bent on canceling his Make America Great Again movement and have turned to New York prosecutors after previous investigations have failed to sink him.
“This is what I have been going through for years,” he said. “It’s a very sad and dangerous tale for our Country, but it is what it is, and we will overcome together.”
Mr. Trump’s allies rushed to his defense.
“The New York Attorney General criminal investigation into the Trump Organization and the January 6 Democrat-led commission is a clear message from Democratic leaders that they intend to come after Trump and his supporters,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group. “Democrats should stop hiding behind politically charged probes and instead address the real issues facing our country.”
• This article is based in part on wire-service reports.