Trump Biz Probe: Manhattan DA Now Investigating Don Jr.
Former President Donald Trump notoriously refuses to listen to his lawyer’s advice. As a result, he is likely to have fired more personal lawyers than any other U.S. President in history. Trump prefers to listen to advisors who tell him what he wants to hear, many times the exact opposite of what he should be told. That’s the case with the investigation by the Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. investigation into the Trump businesses based in New York.
Donald Trump’s top advisers have reassured him he has virtually nothing to worry about from the Manhattan district attorney’s tax, insurance, and bank fraud investigation that’s been underway for more than two years.
Trump’s advisors have told him that the investigation underway has been nothing but a “fishing” expedition for information. Their reassurances continue even as investigators with the D.A.’s office are expanding their criminal probe into Trump’s business empire, asking questions and grilling witnesses—as recently as in the past few weeks since Trump’s election loss.
Now the word is leaking via the Daily Beast that Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr., the former president’s most trusted corporate officer, Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer at the Trump Organization, has become targets of the Manhattan DA investigation.
This interest and investigation of Donald Trump Jr. and Alan Weisselberg’s activities, as well as other new revelations, show just how delusional Trump’s most trusted advisors have been about the tremendous gravity of the criminal investigation underway by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Trump turn over 8 years of income taxes filed personally and on behalf of his Trump Organization. There are no more appleals or delays available to Donald Trump. Trump’s only strategy at this point is to insist that the New York prosecutor’s criminal probe is nothing more than a politically motivated investigation being waged by New York Democrats. That, however, is hyperbole and made-up fiction.
The fact is Allen Weisselberg has loyally served as the chief financial officer at the Trump Organization, and has been a fixture in separate investigations far beyond Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s team, and has been under a microscope since 2019. Also, Weisselberg has been a recurring witness in other investigations conducted by the feds and on Capitol Hill, including for his alleged role in masterminding a plot to conceal the Trump-directed hush-money payoff during the 2016 election to pornographic film star and alleged Trump mistress Stormy Daniels. Trump has been fingered by his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen as “Individual #1” in his prosecution by the SDNY justice department. He was not indicted in that criminal case because of retired Attorney General William Barr’s actions. Now, Trump’s day of reckoning is approaching.
Trump will soon face the same fate of going to prison that Michael Cohen endured for his role in that payoff, which constituted a breach of campaign finance law. That matter will be hitting him just as the Manhattan DA charges him with a myriad of crimes committed by Trump and his companies before and during his presidency.
On top of all the potential misery heading his way, Donald Trump now has to face the likelihood that Donald Jr., a chief MAGA spokesman and campaigner while simultaneously serving as the Trump Organization executive vice president, may face a criminal indictment also. It seems that Donald Jr. will take criminal responsibility by fronting the business with his brother, Eric Trump. According to his company bio, Trump Jr. is involved in “deal evaluation [and] analysis,” as well as the leasing operation, among other functions.
While Donald Trump was president, Donald Jr. oversaw the Trump Organization’s international dealings. While in that position, then-President Trump raked in millions from foreign business deals, with income flowing in from licensing agreements and buildings in various nations across the globe.
According to Forbes, Trump’s two sons also “unloaded $118 million worth of the president’s real estate since his January 2017 inauguration, striking deals everywhere from New York City and Los Angeles to Charleston, South Carolina and the Dominican Republic.”
According to the Daily Beast, Donald Trump Jr.’s prominent role in the Trump Organization over the past 4 years has attracted interest from another jurisdiction, Washington, D.C., attorney general. They sued the Trump inaugural committee, as well as the Trump Organization, charging that they had misused over $1 million in fundraising when the committee “grossly overpaid” in booking fees at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. during the inauguration festivities in 2017. In fact, last month, after the national election, the D.C attorney general’s spokesperson said that the office had alerted Trump Jr. It sought to interview him as part of the ongoing investigation.
Meanwhile, the separate inquiry into Trump and his company by the Manhattan DA and his prosecutors have broadened their investigation to include the Trump family’s financial assets and potential crimes committed by recruiting extra manpower.
This past Thursday, The New York Times reported that the…
“Manhattan district attorney’s office had brought on Mark Pomerantz, a well-known former federal prosecutor, to aid in its investigation of Trump and his real-estate company.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that Manhattan DA prosecutors are now taking a closer look at loans Trump had taken out on multiple buildings, including the marquee title, Trump Tower in Manhattan.
A spokesperson for Manhattan Cyrus DA Vance declined to comment on The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) story. Jason Miller, a senior adviser to former President Trump, also declined to discuss the reported investigation; the Trump Organization didn’t return a request for comment, and Alan Weisselberg did not respond to questions posed by the WSJ.
Trump appears to adopt the strategy of projecting an air of legal invincibility, having come out the other end as (in his mind) a winner in the Mueller investigation and two Senate impeachment trials.
He’s clearly buoyed by the failure of those attacks and leaks about various other probes and serious allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct he committed before and during his presidential term. He’s even sneered at the New York City criminal investigation. According to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, advisors and confidants report that Trump believes the probe is just “more bullshit” because it is “relying” on people like his former legal pit-bull Cohen.
Cohen, indeed, has been interviewed multiple times by investigators. But the scale of the investigations in New York goes well beyond just the word of Trump’s ex-fixer and personal attorney. In November, Vance sent a subpoena to the Trump Organization for records related to consulting fees, including some possibly paid to Ivanka Trump, who at that time last year served as a senior official in the White House.
Some former President Trump’s closest advisers have also been reassuring him for weeks that he has nothing to worry about. According to two people who’ve spoken to the ex-president, the New York investigators aren’t going to find anything to bring him down, recently according to one source….
“He’s asked about it a few times [in recent weeks], and I have told him, as I think he already believes, that it’s a lot of political grandstanding.”
Still, the reality that much of Trump’s immediate post-presidency is likely to be consumed by different investigations and litigation is something that weighs on the 45th U.S. President’s mind. Especially since Trump is no longer a beneficiary of the significant legal privileges of being a sitting president.
Trump has reportedly fretted to his advisors that his political enemies will be probing or “suing me for the rest of my life” in the past few weeks.
Investigators in Manhattan DA Vance’s office have stayed tight-lipped about the scope of the criminal inquiry underway. But it has been common knowledge for almost half the time of Trump’s presidency. The Manhattan DA’s office has been looking into potential tax and insurance fraud, possible falsification of business documents, and the hush-money operation. That could still be charged by the SDNY, assuming the new Attorney General Merritt Garland appoints either a new head of the SDNY office or a special prosecutor.
The most dangerous district attorney’s probe of the former president and his namesake focuses on whether or not Trump’s enterprise intentionally falsified the value of its properties to lock down loans and tax breaks. In recent years, Trump, his administration, and his attorneys were locked in court standoffs with Vance’s team and Democratic lawmakers over whether the then-sitting president’s tax returns could be provided to investigators. But this week, the former president and his companies suffered a significant blow when news broke that the U.S. Supreme Court had finally cleared the way for the Manhattan D.A. to see Trump’s long-concealed tax returns and other financial records for a wide-ranging fraud probe. In response to the Supreme Court decision, District Attorney Vance released just one three-word statement: “The work continues.”
Conservatives currently enjoy a sizable majority on the Supreme Court, a majority that Trump created. The former Republican president continues to vent his anger for not protecting his interests to his satisfaction.
In fact, just three days before the Supreme Court’s decision, Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow told The Daily Beast that the ex-president’s lawyers “are planning on filing our cert petition in March” challenge the tax decision of the lower court. Trump’s attornies quest was to keep those tax returns out of the hands of the Manhattan D.A. and that the “petition will raise significant issues.”
That game plan has literally no chance of succeeding following Monday’s SCOTUS decision and order. As a result, Trump’s lawyers have ghosted questions from reporters from all the major news sources on whether their strategy had changed.
While Trump’s lawyers know enough to keep the mouths shut, their client released a statement complaining…
“The Supreme Court never should have let this ‘fishing expedition’ happen, but they did,” and baselessly accusing his foes of engaging in “fascism” against him.
In the written statement, Trump repeated the “big lie” that he “won” the 2020 presidential election in a landslide. That lie led to a months-long, anti-democratic crusade by Trump and Republicans to nullify the outcome of the election. This multi-pronged effort culminated in the deadly and unprecedented January 6, 2021, MAGA riot at the U.S. Capitol, leading to hundreds of white supremacist terrorists being arrested. The terrorists claim to have had the authority of President Trump to do what they did, including actions that caused the deaths of 5 people and the injury of almost 100 police officers.
This past week it was confirmed that Manhattan DA personally Michael Cohen and Vance’s investigators for the fifth time showing how critical investigators view Cohen’s role in helping them bring charges against the former president. Cohen’s response to the SCOTUS decision…
“The Supreme Court has now proclaimed that no one is above the law. Trump will, for the first time, have to take responsibility for his own dirty deeds.”
Supreme Court allows release of Donald Trump tax returns