The New York attorney general's office said Tuesday that it is conducting a criminal investigation into former President Trump's business empire, expanding what had previously been a civil probe, the AP reports. “We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the company is no longer purely civil in nature," Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for Attorney General Letitia James, said in a statement. “We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA,” Levy said. James' investigators are working with the Manhattan district attorney's office, which has been conducting a criminal investigation into Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, for two years. James and District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. are both Democrats.
James' office offered no explanation for what prompted the change in its approach to the investigation or why it chose to announce it publicly. James’ disclosure of a widening investigation is not necessarily an indication that she is planning to bring criminal charges. In New York, if that were to happen, the state attorney general can do so through a county district attorney, like Vance, or with a referral from Gov. Andrew Cuomo or a state agency. James’ civil investigation and Vance’s criminal probe had overlapped in some areas, including examining whether Trump or his businesses manipulated the value of assets—inflating them in some cases and minimizing them in others—to gain favorable loan terms and tax benefits. (More details here.)