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Trump Suggests He Will Be Questioned as New York Investigation Nears End

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Donald J. Trump suggested that he will face questioning by the New York attorney general’s office on Wednesday, a potentially crucial turning point in a long-running civil investigation into his business practices.

The stakes for Mr. Trump are uncommonly high. While he has sat for numerous depositions over the years, he fought for months to avoid such questioning, which could shape the outcome of the investigation into the former president and his family real estate business, the Trump Organization.

The questioning comes at a legally perilous moment for Mr. Trump. Two days ago, while he was at his golf club in New Jersey, the F.B.I. searched his Florida home as part of an investigation into sensitive material that Mr. Trump took when he left the White House.

He has denied wrongdoing and lashed out at the F.B.I. search as “an assault” that “could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries.” He has also called the investigation by the New York attorney general, Letitia James, a politically motivated witch hunt.

He repeated his criticism on his Truth Social account. “In New York City tonight. Seeing racist N.Y.S. Attorney General tomorrow, for a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. history!” he wrote. “My great company, and myself, are being attacked from all sides. Banana Republic!”

Since March 2019, Ms. James’s lawyers, assembling an encyclopedic understanding of the Trump business, have scrutinized whether Mr. Trump and his company improperly inflated the value of his hotels, golf clubs and other assets.

Early this year, Ms. James said in a court filing that the company’s business practices were “fraudulent or misleading,” but added that her office needed to question Mr. Trump and two of his adult children to determine who was responsible for that conduct.

The questioning of Mr. Trump — which comes days after the attorney general’s office questioned Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. — likely represents the final stage of Ms. James’s investigation.

Because her investigation is civil, Ms. James can sue Mr. Trump but cannot file criminal charges. Still, the specter of criminal charges hangs over the case: The Manhattan district attorney’s office had been conducting a parallel criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump fraudulently inflated valuations of his properties.

And depending on Mr. Trump’s answers to questioning on Wednesday, it could breathe new life into that investigation, which lost momentum earlier this year.

Mr. Trump is also contending with a litany of other criminal investigations. Along with the F.B.I. search this week of Mar-a-Lago, his home and private club in Palm Beach, Fla., federal prosecutors are questioning witnesses about his involvement in efforts to reverse his election loss; a House committee held a series of hearings tying him more closely to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol; and a district attorney in Georgia is investigating potential election interference on the part of Mr. Trump and his allies.

Ms. James’s inquiry could wrap up sooner than those investigations. Rather than file a lawsuit that would take years to resolve, she could first pursue settlement negotiations with the former president’s lawyers to obtain a swifter financial payout. But if she ultimately sues Mr. Trump — and if Ms. James prevails at trial — a judge could impose steep financial penalties on Mr. Trump and restrict his business operations in New York.

In seeking to fend off a lawsuit from Ms. James, Mr. Trump’s lawyers are likely to argue that valuing real estate is a subjective process, and that his company simply estimated the value of his properties, without intending to artificially inflate them. While Ms. James has contended in court papers that the Trump Organization provided bogus valuations to banks to secure favorable loans, Mr. Trump’s lawyers might argue that those were sophisticated financial institutions that turned a hefty profit from their dealings with Mr. Trump.

It is unclear whether Mr. Trump will raise that argument in his questioning.

The questioning represents the culmination of months of legal wrangling. In January, Mr. Trump asked a judge in New York to strike down a subpoena from Ms. James seeking his testimony and personal documents. The judge, Arthur F. Engoron, sided with Ms. James and ordered the Trumps to testify, a ruling that an appellate court upheld.

And at Ms. James’s request, Justice Engoron held Mr. Trump in contempt of court, finding that he had failed to comply with the terms of Ms. James’s subpoena seeking his documents. It was an embarrassing two-week episode that compelled Mr. Trump to pay a $110,000 penalty.

At an April court hearing for the contempt order, one of Ms. James’s lawyers, Kevin Wallace, indicated that the investigation was nearing its conclusion. Ms. James’s office, he said, would need to bring an “enforcement action” in the “near future.”

The lawsuit — or a settlement agreement — would be likely to accuse Mr. Trump and his company of fraudulently inflating the value of his golf clubs, hotels and other properties on his annual financial statements. Mr. Trump’s company provided the statements to banks in hopes of obtaining loans.

Ms. James revealed in a court filing this year that Mr. Trump’s longtime accounting firm, which compiled these statements, had cut ties with him. The firm, Mazars, essentially retracted nearly a decade’s worth of Mr. Trump’s financial statements.

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Five State Parks to Visit This Winter

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California is home to 279 state parks, which cover more than a million acres combined and stretch from 230 feet below sea level at the Salton Sea to more than 10,000 feet above at the snowy San Jacinto Peak. The state park system, the biggest in the nation, preserves impressive waterfalls and wildlife reserves, some of the world’s largest trees and the state’s most stunning flowers.

Today I have some recommendations for state parks to visit in the winter, no matter what sort of vacation you’re craving. And you can now check out free vehicle day-use passes for most of California’s state parks from your local library.

Happy traveling.

Roughly 20 miles north of Santa Cruz, Año Nuevo State Park is one of the few places in North America where you can see elephant seals up close. The massive animals, each about the size of an S.U.V., can be viewed at the park year-round, but winter tends to be the busiest and most exciting season, as it’s when the pups are born.

From December through March, the seals come ashore to mate, give birth and nurse their young. Park docents offer guided walks starting on Dec. 15 and continuing every day until March 31, with the exception of Dec. 25. Read more about reserving a tour.

About 90 miles southeast of Sacramento in the Sierra Nevada foothills, the city of Columbia was once the second largest in California. Between 1850 and 1880, more than a billion dollars’ worth of gold was mined in the area. And in 1945, the State Legislature designated the site the Columbia State Historic Park so that a typical gold rush town could be preserved.

During the holiday season, visitors to the park can watch confectioners make giant handmade candy canes and can enjoy special events, including a Los Posadas Nativity procession and a Christmas equestrian parade.

Though spring is typically the best time to catch its famous wildflower blooms, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a lovely place to visit in the winter. The largest state park in California, it offers miles of hiking trails, sweeping vistas of the rugged Borrego Badlands, excellent stargazing and “an unparalleled opportunity to experience the wonders of the California desert,” said Jorge Moreno, a state parks department spokesman.

Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park is 2,000 acres of dense pine, fir, aspen and cedar forest along the quiet western shores of Lake Tahoe. Winter visitors to Sugar Pine Point can camp in the snow and explore miles of marked cross-country skiing trails.

Thirty miles south of Redding, William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park is a memorial to William B. Ide, a leader of the 1846 Bear Flag Revolt against Mexican control of California. The park features an old adobe home, blacksmith shop and other historic sites, which can be toured on the weekends. The park’s annual Pioneer Christmas Party, which recreates the settlers’ earliest holiday celebrations, will take place this year on Dec. 17.

Today’s tip comes from Lyn Allred, who recommends the town of Cambria on the Central Coast:

“Right on the ocean, the peaceful wooden path has gorgeous vistas and benches on which to contemplate life. Hotels line the street across from the ocean and the quaint Old Cambria is a quick drive east. Be sure to stop by Linn’s for some yummy treats. Many hotels will welcome your dog, too.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.


Have you visited any of the travel destinations that we’ve recommended in the newsletter? Send us a few lines about your trip, and a photo!

We’d like to share them in upcoming editions of the newsletter. Email us at CAToday@nytimes.com. Please include your name and the city in which you live


The Times recently asked readers to tell us what they were thankful for this year, in fewer than 100 words. The responses touched on large moments of gratitude, like a lifesaving drug or the birth of a child, as well as the mundane joys of life, like ice cream and exercise.

Here’s a sweet one from Annalisa McMorrow, 53, who lives in Point Reyes Station:

“A tiny record store opened up in our tiny Northern California town. I am a vinyl junkie and immediately became a regular. Now, one of the owners knows my tastes so well, he’ll text me randomly: “Mule Variations and Swordfishtrombones. Interested?” I’m the round-the-clock caregiver for my disabled husband. The owners hold the LPs for me until I can make it in. Their store is a bright spot of promise and nostalgia in a life that can be sad.”


Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.

Briana Scalia and Maia Coleman contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

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Slain Idaho student Madison Mogen’s stepdad speaks out: ‘We’re angry’

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The devastated stepfather of Madison Mogen, one of the four slain University of Idaho students, described her death as “the hardest thing in the world” — as he shared his frustration in the lack of progress in the case.

“It’s still hard to believe sometimes. We get up in the morning, and it’s like, ‘Nah this isn’t happening,’ then it kicks in,” Scott Laramie told Fox News Digital on Monday.

The 21-year-old student known as Maddie, her close friend Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20, were butchered in the off-campus home in Moscow on Nov. 13.

Authorities have not yet named a suspect or found the knife used in the massacre that has left the community reeling.

Laramie said police told him they have no leads nearly three weeks after the shocking crime.

Jake Schriger and his girlfriend Maddie Mogen, one of the four slain University of Idaho students.
maddiemogen/Instagram

“They update us every day. We asked them to check in with us whether they have anything or not,” he told the outlet, as he lamented the agonizing lack of progress in the probe.

“We’re angry. Anybody would be,” he said. “I’m just hoping they come up with something sooner than later. I just would like to have justice for these kids.”

Maddie was raised by Laramie — whom she called dad — and her mother Karen Laramie in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Slain Idaho students
Slain University of Idaho students Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21.

“We love her and we miss her, and it’s the hardest thing in the world to try to figure out how to live without her,” a tearful Laramie told the news outlet.

“It’s the hardest thing to imagine right now,” he added.

On Friday, Mogen’s boyfriend, Jake Schriger, also broke his silence about losing her.


Here’s the latest coverage on the brutal killings of four college friends:


“She was the first person I talked to every morning and the last person I talked to before bed,” Schriger said at a vigil held in Post Falls, Idaho. “She was the person that I loved most.”

Laramie told Fox News Digital that he has been in touch with Schriger.

“He’s all broken up. He’s having a hard time dealing with this too. Those two, they were really good together. They really clicked,” he said.

The house where the slain roommates lived.
The four roommates shared the house with two others who were unharmed.

The scene of the Univ. of Idaho murders.
Cops have not named a suspect in the murders.

Investigators on scene of murders.
Investigators have not recovered a murder weapon.

Blood seeps through wall of murder house
Blood seeped through the exterior wall of the home.

Madison Mogen
Madison’s family has been left shattered by the shocking murders.

flyer seeking information
Authorities have not yet named a suspect or found the knife used in the massacre that has left the community reeling.

Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves.
Madison and Kaylee were close friends, according to their families.

Maddie adored all things pink and sparkly and loved rewatching the 1987 flick “The Princess Bride,” Laramie told the outlet.

“Everybody just wanted to be near her,” he said. “She had the world at her fingertips, and could have done anything she wanted to do. We were just so proud of her.”

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China’s Xi to Visit Saudi Arabia for Regional Summits

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — China’s leader will travel to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday for a flurry of summits bringing together heads of state from across the Middle East, a region where longtime American allies are growing increasingly closer to China.

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, will visit the kingdom for three days and attend Saudi-China, Gulf-China and Arab-China summits, the Saudi state news agency reported on Tuesday. More than 30 heads of states and leaders of international organizations plan to attend, the report said, adding that Saudi Arabia and China were expected to sign a “strategic partnership.”

Mr. Xi’s visit to Saudi Arabia is aimed at deepening China’s decades-old ties with the Gulf region, which started narrowly as a bid to secure oil, and have since developed into a complex relationship involving arms sales, technology transfers and infrastructure projects.

The Chinese leader is expected to sign a flurry of contracts with the Saudi government and other Gulf States, sending a message that Beijing’s clout in the region is growing at a time when Washington has pulled away from the Middle East to devote more attention to Asia.

The grand state visit will inevitably draw comparisons to Donald J. Trump’s arrival in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, for his first trip abroad as president in 2017. He was greeted by streets decorated with American flags and an enormous image of his face projected on the side of a building.

Saudi Arabia has been a close American ally for more than half a century. But its authoritarian rulers have long sought to deepen other alliances to prepare for an emerging multipolar world.

U.S.-Saudi ties have been especially fractious over the past few years, with the administration of President Biden declaring a “recalibration” of the relationship and pressing the kingdom over human rights violations, including the 2018 murder of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi — a Saudi citizen and U.S. resident at the time — by Saudi agents in Istanbul.

“Xi clearly wants to make a statement at a moment at which the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia is strained,” said James Dorsey, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

“It’s a good moment to replant the flag, if you wish. And I think it’s a good moment for the Gulf States to say, ‘Hey, we have other options. Washington, you’re not the only ones out there.’”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Vivian Nereim reported from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and David Pierson from Singapore.

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