N.Y. Today: Trump investigation moves to a new phase

What you need to know for Thursday.

Happy Thanksgiving. We'll catch up on one of the highest-profile criminal investigations that the Manhattan district attorney's office has ever conducted, its inquiry into Donald Trump and his family business. We'll also look at the paragraph that started Thanksgiving as we know it.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

New developments suggest that the long-running criminal investigation into Donald Trump and his family business has returned to its original focus — Trump's statements about the value of his assets in seeking loans.

If prosecutors conclude that Trump intentionally submitted false valuations to potential lenders, they could argue that he engaged in a pattern of fraud.

Four of my colleagues — Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum, Jonah E. Bromwich and David Enrich — write that prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney's office have issued new subpoenas for records about Trump's office buildings, hotels and golf courses. The prosecutors have also questioned a banker from Deutsche Bank, which lent Trump hundreds of millions of dollars over the years.

And earlier this month, they told Matthew Calamari, a Trump executive who had been under scrutiny, that they did not plan to indict him in the purported tax-evasion scheme that led to charges against Trump's company and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.

Taken together, the developments suggest that prosecutors have moved away from those tax issues.

The shift comes as the district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., prepares to leave office at the end of the year. Trump and his company have denied wrongdoing, calling the inquiry a politically motivated witch hunt by Vance, a Democrat who did not seek re-election for a fourth term.

Vance originally indicated that he wanted to decide whether to bring charges against Trump. He is running out of time. It might take prosecutors months to outline their case to a grand jury.

And so, after more than three years of investigating Trump, Vance may have to leave the decision to his successor, Alvin Bragg.

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Suspended today (Thanksgiving Day).

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The paragraph that led to Thanksgiving as we know it is in this book

New-York Historical Society

What would the two men who wrote the book on the first Thanksgiving say about the way we celebrate it now?

They did not say much at that first gathering, 400 years ago.

Michael Hattem, a co-curator of an exhibition at the New-York Historical Society that includes the book in question (above), told me that the Thanksgiving holiday was built on a paragraph deep in a book published in 1622 — and a footnote when that passage was reprinted in the mid-19th century.

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How different those terse beginnings were from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, back at full strength this year with what my colleague Julia Jacobs called "all its helium-filled pomp and corporate-branded holiday cheer." And what would the people who attended the first Thanksgiving say about our at-home preparations? By one estimate, Americans will spend nearly $1 billion on turkey for Thanksgiving this year, $144 million more than last year, partly because the price per pound has jumped.

The Thanksgiving story caught on after the Civil War, according to the historian Philip Deloria, as "American mythmakers discovered that the Pilgrims, and New England as a whole, were perfectly cast as national founders: white, Protestant, democratic and blessed with an American character centered on family, work, individualism, freedom and faith." Over the years the story was taught and retaught, even if "today's teachers aim for less pageantry and a slightly more complicated history," Deloria wrote in 2019.

Hattem said the passage in the 1622 book was "not an extensive account of what happened" at the first Thanksgiving. Edward Winslow, who with William Bradford wrote the book, "did not attach the kind of significance to the event" that it assumed 220 years later when the Rev. Alexander Young wrote the footnote.

Hattem said that Winslow, who wanted to encourage more people to leave England and settle in the American colony, was preoccupied with the alliance between the colonists and the Indigenous Wampanoag tribe led by the man he called Massasoit (actually a title, not a name, according to Deloria). The Wampanoags "weren't just coming to help the colonists or celebrate," Hattem said. They wanted "a political alliance that would protect them from the Narragansetts," a tribe in Rhode Island.

"Winslow leaves all of that out," Hattem said.

All this was largely forgotten until Young's book, "Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers," came out. "He identifies this scene from Winslow's journal as the quote-unquote first Thanksgiving and includes a footnote that literally says this was the first Thanksgiving," Hattem said. In his account, Deloria wrote: "Of such half-thoughts is history made."

Sarah Hale, an influential editor who gave the world the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb," campaigned to make Thanksgiving a holiday. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared not one but two days of thanks — the first, in August, for the Union triumph at Gettysburg, and the other on the last Thursday in November. In 1941, 200 years after Young's book, Congress declared it a federal holiday.

What we're reading

METROPOLITAN DIARY

Like Erroll Garner

Dear Diary:

As I entered the Columbus Circle subway station to catch the D train to Brooklyn, I noticed a man playing a keyboard and soliciting donations.

He was an older man — although probably younger than my 72 years — and the people who were nearby did not appear to be listening to him. I moved in closer and, a pianist myself, quickly realized he was excellent.

I dropped some money into his box, and when he finished the song he was playing, I told him his style reminded me of Erroll Garner.

His face brightened, we bumped fists and he said Erroll Garner was his idol. He began to play a well-known Garner standard, and I said it was one of my favorite tunes to play.

He paused for a moment.

"Do you want to play it together?" he asked.

It had been well over a year since I had played with anyone, but he made room for me, and we started a duet. Our styles clicked right away, and people in the station began to draw near and toss money into his box.

With my train still not there, he asked if I knew Nina Simone's "I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to Be Free," another song I love.

We started in, alternating solos and building in intensity as more people gathered and made donations.

As we brought it to a big conclusion, he asked my name and then introduced me to the crowd as if I were his special guest.

— Michael Esterowitz

Glad we could get together here. See you tomorrow. And, again, happy Thanksgiving. — J.B.

Melissa Guerrero, Rick Martinez and Olivia Parker contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at nytoday@nytimes.com.

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