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New York Attorney General Letitia James ends bid for governor as Trump investigation ramps up

Letitia James drops out of NY governor's race
New York Attorney General Letitia James ends campaign for governor 00:27

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she is suspending her campaign for governor and will run for reelection as attorney general. James led the investigation into former Governor Andrew Cuomo, and has been investigating the Trump Organization.

"I have come to the conclusion that I must continue my work as attorney general," James said in a statement. "There are a number of important investigations and cases that are underway, and I intend to finish the job. I am running for re-election to complete the work New Yorkers elected me to do."

James' surprise announcement came just hours after The Washington Post reported that James is seeking a deposition from former President Donald Trump early next year as part of her investigation into the Trump Organization. A source familiar with the matter confirmed to CBS News that James has asked to depose Trump on January 7 as part of a civil investigation into whether Trump's company committed financial fraud. 

Investigators with James' office worked with the Manhattan district attorney as part of a probe that in July led to criminal charges against Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization's longtime chief financial officer, and two related corporate entities. They have pleaded not guilty.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James
Letitia James, New York state attorney general, speaks during a news conference in New York on Aug. 6, 2020. Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Trump Organization has not yet responded to a request for comment. In a statement to the Washington Post, the company said the investigation is "another political witch-hunt."

"The only focus of the New York AG is to investigate Trump, all for her own political ambitions," the statement said. "This political prosecution is illegal, unethical and is a travesty to our great state and legal system." 

James received national attention after her office oversaw the investigation and subsequent report into allegations of sexual harassment against former Governor Andrew Cuomo, which ultimately led to his resignation.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who took office in August after Cuomo resigned, is running for a full term. The June primary is still months away, but Hochul has boasted strong fundraising numbers and led in early polls.

Hochul's campaign announced last month that she has raised $10 million since filing to run for a full term over the summer. 

A Siena College poll released on Tuesday showed Hochul leading James 36% to 18%, while New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams was at 10%. Hochul also received high marks from Democrats, with two-thirds saying that she demonstrates honesty and integrity and works hard for the people of New York.

Hochul's perceived strength, which also includes endorsements from the Democratic Governors Association and EMILY's List, hasn't stopped other candidates from challenging her in recent weeks. Congressman Tom Suozzi entered the race on November 29 and New York City Mayor de Blasio has been considering a run after his term ends. They both polled at 6% in the recent Siena College poll.

James will be the most high-profile candidate in the New York attorney general race. Daniel Goldman, who was lead counsel for the impeachment investigation into Trump's dealings with Ukraine, and Zephyr Teachout, who lost to James in the 2018 primary, are also seeking the job. 

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