NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump portrayed Robert Mueller as the bane of his existence, but even with the special counsel’s Russia investigation wrapped up, he may still have to contend with state and federal investigators in New York.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan continue to pursue at least two known criminal inquiries involving Trump or people in his orbit, one involving his inaugural committee and another focused on the hush-money scandal that led his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to plead guilty last year to campaign finance violations.
The president also faces inquiries from New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, who recently opened a civil inquiry into Cohen’s claims that Trump exaggerated his wealth when seeking loans for real estate projects and a failed bid to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Meanwhile, a state regulatory entity is looking into whether Trump gave false information to insurance companies.
Cohen told Congress in testimony last month he is in “constant contact” with prosecutors involving ongoing investigations.
Trump has dismissed the New York investigations as politically motivated.
“These investigations could pose a danger to everybody in Trump’s inner circle,” said Patrick J. Cotter, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York. “They are very real and very significant. If you’re Trump, this has got to feel, in some ways, like an even greater threat than the Russia probe.”
Special counsel Mueller on Friday gave the report on possible collusion with the Kremlin in the 2016 presidential election to the office of U.S. Attorney General William Barr. Its contents remain confidential, but Barr said he plans to write his own account of Mueller’s findings. The White House said it had not seen or been briefed on the document.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan declined to comment on the New York probes but has told a federal judge it is still investigating campaign-finance violations committed when Cohen helped orchestrate six-figure payments to a porn actress, Stormy Daniels, and a former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, to keep them quiet during the campaign about alleged affairs with Trump. Cohen says Trump ordered the payments and later reimbursed him for his efforts. So far, nobody besides Cohen has been charged.
Political observers have continued to speculate that Cohen, who is scheduled to report to prison in May, might secretly be providing investigators with additional information.