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The New York attorney general's office is suing Donald Trump over what it alleges is "a pattern of persistent illegal conduct" involving his charity foundation.

The suit names Donald J Trump as a director of the Donald J Trump Foundation, alongside his sons Donald and Eric, and his daughter Ivanka.

The legal filing alleges "a pattern of persistent illegal conduct, occurring over more than a decade" including "extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign".

It also accuses the charity of conducting "repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Mr Trump's personal and business interests".

Image: Trump is alleged to have used charity money to deal with a lawsuit against his Mar-a-Lago resort

The president is accused of using the charitable assets of the foundation to "pay off his legal obligations, to promote Trump hotels and other businesses, and to purchase personal items".

New York's attorney general, Barbara Underwood, has begun a special proceeding to dissolve the Trump foundation under court supervision and obtain restitution of $2.8m (£2.1m) alongside additional penalties.

The suit also alleges that the Trump charity raised in excess of $2.8m "in a manner designed to influence the 2016 presidential election at the direction and under the control of senior leadership of the Trump presidential campaign".

Mr Trump responded to the filing with a series of tweets composed in under two minutes.

Now that I am back from Singapore, where we had a great result with respect to North Korea, the thought process must sadly go back to the Witch Hunt, always remembering that there was No Collusion and No Obstruction of the fabricated No Crime.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2018

So, the Democrats make up a phony crime, Collusion with the Russians, pay a fortune to make the crime sound real, illegally leak (Comey) classified information so that a Special Councel will be appointed, and then Collude to make this pile of garbage take on life in Fake News!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2018

The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000. I wont settle this case!…

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2018

….Schneiderman, who ran the Clinton campaign in New York, never had the guts to bring this ridiculous case, which lingered in their office for almost 2 years. Now he resigned his office in disgrace, and his disciples brought it when we would not settle.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2018

Responding to the filing, the president described it as part of what he called "the Witch Hunt" and stressed "there was No Collusion and No Obstruction of the fabricated No Crime."

He said: "The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000. I won't settle this case!…"

Mr Schneiderman resigned as New York's attorney general in May and has been replaced by Barbara Underwood.

The president added: "….Schneiderman, who ran the Clinton campaign in New York, never had the guts to bring this ridiculous case, which lingered in their office for almost 2 years. Now he resigned his office in disgrace, and his disciples brought it when we would not settle."

Trump
Image: The Donald J Trump Foundation is accused of illegally supporting the Trump presidential campaign

"The Trump Foundation also entered into at least five self-dealing transactions that were unlawful because they benefitted Mr Trump or businesses he controls," the attorney general's office added.

These included a $100,000 payment to settle legal claims against the Mar-A-Lago resort; a $158,000 payment to settle legal claims against his Trump National Golf Club in 2008 from a hole-in-one tournament; and a $10,000 payment at a charity auction to purchase a painting of Mr Trump that was displayed at the Trump National Doral in Miami.

The attorney general's office said that it was only after it began its investigation that the foundation paid excise taxes on three of the transactions, and that Mr Trump restored funds for those transactions to the charity.

However, the office alleges that the foundation has still not paid excise taxes on the Mar-A-Lago or Trump National Golf Club transactions.

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In addition to the filing, the attorney general sent referral letters to the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service.

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