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New York investigators subpoena Michael Cohen as they go after Trump Foundation

New York investigators have issued a subpoena to Michael Cohen as part of their investigation into the Trump Foundation. (Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

New York investigators are going after the Trump Foundation, and they're planning to use information from Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, to do it, according to the Associated Press.

The state issued a subpoena to Cohen one day after he pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and other charges, and after Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, said they had some information investigators might find interesting.

“I do believe that he has information about Mr. Trump that would be of interest both in Washington as well as New York state,” Davis said on CNN on Tuesday.

What are they looking for?

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is looking into whether President Donald Trump's charitable organization violated state law by lying about tax liability.

“We can confirm that a subpoena has been issued to Michael Cohen for relevant information in light of the public disclosures made yesterday,” said state tax department spokesman James Gazzale.

This investigation is separate from the lawsuit filed by Democratic New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, which alleges that Trump illegally used foundation money for personal expenses, business expenses, his presidential campaign, and legal settlements.

That lawsuit was the result of a 2-year investigation, and seeks the dissolution of the foundation, as well as a ban on Trump and his family from serving on nonprofits.

“As our investigation reveals, the Trump Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality,” Underwood said in June. “This is not how private foundations should function and my office intends to hold the foundation accountable for its misuse of charitable assets.”

What could come from this?

The taxation and finance department does not have the power to file criminal charges. However, depending on what the investigation reveals, they could refer it to prosecutors who may pursue the case.

In addition to criminal charges, AP reports that there is a chance this probe could result in the release of the president's tax returns, something that Trump's opponents have been calling for since before he was elected.

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