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Trump calls New York criminal investigation 'corrupt' and 'in desperate search of a crime'

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WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump tore into New York Attorney General Letitia James and other prosecutors Wednesday after James' office said it is pursuing a criminal investigation of the Trump Organization.

Trump attacked James, who announced the criminal inquiry Tuesday, and other officials in a long statement that said: "There is nothing more corrupt than an investigation that is in desperate search of a crime.

"But, make no mistake, that is exactly what is happening here," he said. "The Attorney General of New York literally campaigned on prosecuting Donald Trump even before she knew anything about me."

Trump said the prosecutors' investigations are simply "a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of the United States."

"Working in conjunction with Washington, these Democrats want to silence and cancel millions of voters because they don't want 'Trump' to run again," he said.

Trump said lawmakers failed to stop him in Washington, so they turned the issues over to New York investigators "to do their dirty work."

The statement, however, did not address the subject of the investigation, which stems from allegations made by his former attorney Michael Cohen, who claimed when he testified to Congress in 2019 that Trump had deliberately inflated the worth of his assets in official documents.

Trump referred to Cohen without using his name, saying he was "a lying, discredited low life" who was sentenced to three years in prison, even though he was released to home confinement in July.

James' spokesperson, Fabien Levy, said Tuesday that the investigation is "no longer purely civil in nature," adding, "We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA."

An official familiar with the investigation said it had developed some evidence suggesting a possible crime, so two lawyers from the office will work on the matter with the Manhattan district attorney's office.

James has been at the forefront of legal action against Trump's family business.

Her yearslong probe into Trump's charitable foundation led to its dissolution in 2018. More recently, her investigation of whether Trump's business had inflated the value of its assets for the purposes of tax breaks and loans came to a head in October when Eric Trump, the president's son and an executive at his business, sat for a pre-election deposition.

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