The NRA, which the attorney general said her office is investigating, is “a very important organization” that’s “under siege” by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James, Trump said on Twitter. He urged the NRA, which is chartered in the president’s home state and has an office there, to leave “this very difficult to deal with (unfair) State” and “fight from the outside.”
Trump urged the organization to “get its act together quickly, stop the internal fighting, [and] get back to GREATNESS ― FAST!”
James, who has called the NRA a “terrorist organization” and vowed to investigate its tax-exempt status, fired back at Trump hours later, imploring him to respect the law.
“Attorney General Letitia James is focused on enforcing the rule of law,” her office said in a statement. “In any case we pursue, we will follow the facts wherever they may lead. We wish the President would share our respect for the law.”
Trump’s tweets add to a tumultuous few days for the NRA.
James confirmed the state investigation over the weekend and said her office had issued subpoenas to the NRA and affiliates, demanding that they preserve financial records for investigators, The New York Times reported.
Meanwhile, NRA President Oliver North announced at the group’s annual convention over the weekend that he will not seek a second term amid a financial crisis and a power struggle with the group’s longtime leader, Wayne LaPierre.
LaPierre fended off North’s effort to pressure him to resign and called for North’s removal, according to news reports.
As that turmoil boiled into public view, the group has been waging a high-stakes financial lawsuit with a major contractor. And money has been getting tight as membership and financial contributions wither in the age of Trump’s gun-defending rhetoric.
Adding to the NRA’s financial woes, the Cuomo administration has for the last year been battling the group in court over an NRA insurance program for gun owners who fire a weapon in self-defense. The NRA’s lawsuit says it “suffered tens of millions of dollars in damages” because the state is discouraging financial institutions and insurers based in New York from doing business with the gun group.
The state Department of Financial Services has called the insurance program illegal, saying it “unlawfully provided liability insurance to gun owners for acts of intentional wrongdoing.”
North, in a letter read to the NRA convention on Saturday, said the group’s financial irregularities “threatened” its tax-exempt status.
The NRA’s 76-member board meets on Monday as the annual convention concludes.
This article has been updated to include a statement from James’ office.