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State subpoenas Cohen in probe of Trump Foundation

ALBANY — The Cuomo administration issued a subpoena Wednesday to Michael Cohen, a day after the former lawyer to President Trump pleaded guilty on eight felony counts in a tax, bank fraud and elections law case.

The investigation by state and local agencies began months ago and involves the activities of a charitable foundation created by Trump.

A state official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Cohen personally called the state tax department after receiving the subpoena on Wednesday.

A Cuomo administration official confirmed the subpoena and said it is part of a probe by "multiple Cuomo administration agencies."

The demand for information from Cohen was sent after his lawyer told NBC News that Cohen has information that could be of interest to Attorney General Barbara Underwood in the lawsuit she commenced against the Trump Foundation in May. Underwood, the state's top lawyer, sued the foundation and its directors, including the president and his children, alleging the foundation violated a series of laws, including unlawful political coordination with Trump's campaign.

James Gazzale, a state tax department spokesman, said the agency issued a subpoena Wednesday to Cohen "for relevant information in light of the public disclosures made yesterday." He declined to provide a copy of the subpoena.

"We will be working with the New York Attorney General and the Manhattan District Attorney, as appropriate,'" Gazzale added. He declined further comment.

An administration official said the investigation could eventually involve more Cuomo administration agencies than just the tax department.

In Syracuse Wednesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo told reporters that it would be "an impeachable offense" if Trump pardons Cohen, who in court implicated the president as part of a scheme that paid off two women for their silence in advance of the 2016 presidential election.

A day after the guilty pleas by Cohen and the criminal conviction of Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, Cuomo said the events were "not just embarrassing for the president and not just inherently condemning of the president."

"This was his lawyer and his campaign manager. There’s not a lot of distance between those two points," Cuomo said.

The governor's comments came five months after Joseph Percoco, his onetime top adviser and former campaign manager, was convicted in a federal court in a bribery scheme involving $300,000 in payments made by entities with business before the state government.

After not directly criticizing Trump by name for more than a year, Cuomo this year — facing a primary and general election campaign fight — has markedly stepped up his rebukes of the president.

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