Trump vows to fight New York's lawsuit against foundation

An undated file

Trump Foundation "has operated in persistent violation of state and federal law governing New York State charities" for more than a decade by, among other things, paying off legal bills with charitable funds, the New York Attorney General's Office said in a lawsuit it filed Thursday.

Underwood said her office's 21-month investigation, begun under her predecessor Eric Schneiderman, uncovered "extensive unlawful political coordination" by the foundation with Trump's campaign, as well as "repeated and willful self-dealing" to benefit Trump's personal and business interests.

The lawsuit also claims Trump used the foundation illegally to raise $2.8 million to support his presidential campaign in a televised fundraiser on January 28, 2016 - held as he skipped a Republican presidential primary debate.

The Trump campaign, at the time, said the foundation meant to cooperate with the investigation.

The foundation and Trump Organization spokespeople have not responded to requests for comment from the AP.

However, Mr Trump is reported to have said he will not settle the case against his organisation.

Also named in the suit were Mr Trump's children, Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr.

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The attorney general's office seeks to dissolve the foundation and asks for $2.8 million in restitution.

The lawsuit adds to Trump's legal problems, including an investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether his 2016 campaign colluded with Russian Federation. "Now he resigned his office in disgrace, and his disciples brought it when we would not settle", he said in another tweet. It claims that the foundation came to be "co-opted" by the campaign. The foundation and campaign were in touch about how to disburse the funds, and Trump presented large presentation copies of supposed checks from the foundation to veterans' charities at his campaign rallies.

Underwood's suit claims that the foundation's charitable assets were used to pay off Trump's legal obligations, promote his hotels and to buy personal items.

"Is there any way we can make some disbursements this week while in Iowa?" then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski wrote in an email to the chief financial officer of Trump's business, the Trump Organization. He later sent a list of veterans' groups "purportedly approved by Mr Trump to receive grants from the Foundation".

The president fired back on Twitter, blasting the "ridiculous" lawsuit and former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman - who resigned May 7 after allegations of sexual misconduct from multiple women - for spearheading the investigation but not having "the guts" to bring the suit.

Bondi later said there were not many complaints about Trump University in Florida, and she strongly denied any connection to the political donation, which she personally solicited.

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