Transcript for NY AG Letitia James says ‘Trump cannot avoid justice in the great state of New York’
The very mention of our next guest must strike fear in the heart of you-know-who right now 'cause after shutting down his foundation and filing nearly 70 lawsuits against his administration she now has an active investigation into his business dealings that could severely impact him and his family when he leaves the white house. Please welcome New York attorney general Letitia James. Letitia, welcome to the show. Welcome to "The view." Thank you. Good morning. Thank you for having me. We're thrilled. Now you-know-who may be working so hard to stay in the white house because he knows he's going to have to be facing a mountain of legal problems once he leaves, including your investigation into his business practices. So, please give us the tea. Tell us everything you can tell us within, you know, legal boundaries because you can't tell us thing. Is this -- is this a lot of work, you think, for you? Let me just say that I'm an independently elected official inork and the investigation that we are ongoing is as a result of the testimony of Michael Cohen before congress. In that Michael Cohen testified that, in fact, the financial statements of the trump organization include information that the president, as well as some of his children, perhaps inflated his assets so that they could get financial terms for loans and for insurance coverage. In addition to that, they Ed those same assets for the purposes of evading and avoiding tax liability. Our investigation is ongoing. It's a civil investigation in nature. However, there's a criminal investigation currently be conducted by the Manhattan district attorney cy Vance and there's another civil investigation currently being conducted by my colleague Carl Racine. We're in the midst of taking testimony. As has been publicly reported, we sought the testimony of Eric Trump and we filed and served subpoenas upon him. As you know, during the campaign season unfortunately he failed to comply with our subpoenas and we had to file a motion to compel his testimony and he objected. We went into court. We were successful because our powers in the office of attorney general are broad and he came in to testify and we are -- and the fact that the president is -- Mr. Trump is the president of the United States really has no bearing on our investigation. In fact, the election has no bearing on our investigation. We'll continue our investigation whether he's president or not. Well, sg of president trump, he's reportedly about to go on a pardon blitz. He may try to preemptively pardon himself. Can he even do that based on your legal expertise? So, he can preemptively pardon individuals and the vast majority of legal scholars have indicated that he cannot pardon what he could do is step down and allow the vice president, vice president Mike pence, to pardon him. I suspect he'll pardon his family members, his children, and individuals in his administration as well as some of his close associates. Then I suspect at some point he'll step down and allow the vice president to pardon him. It's important to understand he's pardoned from federal crimes. He is not pardoned from state crimes. Last year I introduced a bill in the state legislature which would close the pardon loophole so that individuals such as the president of the United States would not evade justice.it's important we have this check on presidentia powers and that the state legislature, I'm so happy they passed that bill and it's the law in the state of New York. President trump cannot avoid justice in the great state of New York. So, just to reiterate, there's no way a potential pardon for trump or his three eldest kids would shield them from anything you're investigating? Am I right? Correct, but it's important -- So then -- Joy, it's important to understand my investigation is civil in nature. In the event we uncover any conductor activities that would suggest criminal activities, then that would change obviously our investigation. It would change the posture of our investigation. And you also intend to prosecute him after he's out of office, correct? Joy, again, our investigation currently is civil in nature. It is not criminal. In the event that we uncover any activity -- But will you go ahead with the civil suits? Oh, yes. Our civil suit will continue, whether he's president or not. So after January 20th at 12:00 our investigation will continue, Attorney general James, let me ask you this, president trump recently mentioned you by name during a 46-minute Facebook video saying, quote, these same people that failed to get me in Washington have sent every piece of information to New York so they can try to get me there, end quote. Recently Ivanka Trump tweeted that your subpoena of the trump organization for records related to her consulting fees was harassment pure and simple. How do you respond to these latest comments from the trumps, especially that comment from ivanka? So, in regards to her comments, the politics stop at the door of the office of attorney general. I have a wonderful team of attorneys that cover the entire state of New York. Our number one mission is to focus on justice and to follow the facts and the law of each and every case without fear and/or favor. With respect to the rant of the president of the United States, since I've been in office these past two years, yes, my office has either led or joined 68 lawsuits against this administration. Protecting our environment, protecting immigrants, protecting the rights of women, protecting dreamers, protecting the affordable care act, protecting the census, making sure we have an accurate and fair count so all individuals will be counted, regardless of their circumstance. It's important that individuals understand I have a duty and obligation totand up and defend one thing and that is the consti and the law. I took a sworn oath to do that. I'll continue to do that. It's important that the president of the United States understand that no one is above the law including the president of these United States. I would urge him to act more like the late John F. Kennedy who basically wrote a book which indicated that this is a country of immigrants. How about fdr, who basically stood up and rescued our country at a time of financial ruin during the great depression? What we need from this president is an fdr moment. I doubt we'll get it. I look forward to working with the next administration, an administration I'm confident will follow the law. I look forward to sending to them, along with my colleagues across the nation, attorneys general who stood up and defended democracy each and every time. In all our cases we've won about 80% of those cases. Attorneys general, democratic attorneys general, often don't get the credit. They should because they've been the sole backbone of democracy in the United States over these past four years.
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