For months, some of Donald Trump’s top advisers have assured him that he has virtually nothing to fear from the Manhattan district attorney’s tax investigation, which they see simply as “fishing” for information. But investigators at the district attorney’s office have been expanding their criminal investigation into Trump’s business empire, asking questions and cross-examining witnesses, as recently as in recent days, not just about Trump but about his eldest son in particular. , Don Jr., and Allen Weisselberg. , one of the former president’s most trusted officers, The Daily Beast learned.
This latest round of interest in the activities of Trump Jr. and Weisselberg, as well as other new developments, underscores the resources and gravity that New York prosecutors are devoting to the investigation, just as Trump continues to publicly denounce the investigation as another example. Democrats. mess with him.
For years, Weisselberg has served loyally as the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer and has been an integral part of independent investigations far beyond the team of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. (Vance’s specific interest in Weisselberg, however, dates back to 2019). Weisselberg has been a recurring character in other investigations by the feds and on Capitol Hill. including for his alleged role in planning a plot to hide the secret money bounty directed by Trump during the 2016 election from pornographic movie star and alleged Trump lover, Stormy Daniels. A resulting federal investigation that occurred during Trump’s presidency ended up jailing former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, in part because of his role in that payment, which was a violation of campaign finance law.
During his father’s administration, Trump Jr. became MAGA’s chief spokesperson and activist, while simultaneously serving as executive vice president of the Trump Organization, running the business with his brother, Eric Trump. According to his company’s bio, Trump Jr. is involved in “evaluating deals [and] analysis ”, as well as the leasing operation, among other functions. Trump Jr. has also overseen the organization’s international dealings, whose growth was somewhat hampered by his father’s rise to the presidency.
Yet in that four-year period, then-President Trump continued to raise millions from foreign business entanglements, with revenue coming from building and licensing deals in various nations around the world. And according ForbesTrump’s two sons also “dumped $ 118 million in real estate from the president since his inauguration in January 2017, striking deals everywhere from New York City and Los Angeles to Charleston, South Carolina and the Republic. Dominican “.
Trump Jr.’s prominent role in the Trump Organization has also attracted interest from another jurisdiction. Earlier last year, the Washington, DC attorney general sued Trump’s inaugural committee, as well as the Trump Organization, claiming they had wasted more than $ 1 million on fundraising when the committee “overpaid[ed]When reserving part of the Trump International Hotel in DC during the opening festivities in 2017. Last month, the spokesman for the DC attorney general said the office had alerted Trump Jr. that it was seeking to interview him as part of the ongoing investigation.
“Have asked about it multiple times [in recent weeks], and I have told him, as I think he already believes, that it is a lot of political bombast.“
And in their separate investigation into Trump and his company, Manhattan prosecutors have also expanded the range of investigation into Trump family assets and recruited additional staff. Thursday, The New York Times reported that the Manhattan district attorney’s office had hired Mark Pomerantz, a well-known former federal prosecutor, to assist in the investigation of Trump and his real estate firm. According to The Wall Street Journal, prosecutors are now scrutinizing the loans Trump had obtained on various buildings, including the title of the former president and former reality TV star’s brand, Trump Tower in Manhattan.
A spokesperson for Vance declined to comment on this story. Jason Miller, a senior adviser to former President Trump, also declined. A representative for the Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment. Weisselberg did not respond to a request for comment at press time.
Trump, for his part, wants to continue projecting an air of legal invincibility, having come out the other side as (in his view) a winner in the Mueller probe, two impeachment trials in the Senate, and several other serious investigations and allegations of wrongdoing. or misconduct. In recent days, while casually monitoring the news of the New York criminal investigation, the former president sneered as expected. One of the reasons Trump has said he feels the investigation is simply “more nonsense” is because it “depends” on people like his former legal pit bull Cohen, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
Cohen has, in fact, been interviewed multiple times by investigators, but the scale of the investigations in New York goes far beyond the word of Trump’s former repairman 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 the time last year served as a senior White House official.
Meanwhile, some of former President Trump’s closest advisers have also been reassuring him for weeks that he has nothing to worry about and that investigators in New York are not going to find anything to bring him down, according to two people who have spoken. with the former president recently. “You have asked about it several times [in recent weeks], and I have told him, as I think he already believes, that it is a lot of political grandstanding, “said one of these people.
Still, the reality that much of Trump’s immediate post-presidency is likely to be consumed by different investigations and litigation weighs heavily on the 45th president of the United States. No longer a beneficiary of the important legal privileges that comes with being a sitting president, Trump has privately worried that his enemies will investigate me or “sue me for the rest of my life,” according to one person who has spoken about this. with Trump in recent weeks.
Investigators in Vance’s office have generally been silent about the scope of the criminal investigation. But for nearly half the time of Trump’s presidency, the office has been investigating possible tax and insurance fraud, possible falsification of business documents and the secret money operation. One focus of the district attorney’s investigation reportedly has to do with whether Trump’s company intentionally misrepresented its property values to block loans and tax breaks. In recent years, Trump, his administration, and his attorneys have been caught in court clashes with Vance’s team and Democratic lawmakers over whether the then-acting president’s tax returns could be provided to investigators.
Ironically, years ago, Vance had been accused of failing a criminal investigation against Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump for allegedly misleading potential buyers of their Trump SoHo condos.
But this week, Trump’s crew took a major blow, when it emerged that the United States Supreme Court had finally cleared the way for the Manhattan district attorney to view long-hidden tax returns and other financial records. Trump for a broad fraud investigation. In response to the order, Vance released just a three-word statement: “Work continues.”
Conservatives currently enjoy a sizable majority on the Supreme Court, a majority that Trump created and in which the former Republican president continues to vent his anger at not protecting their interests to his satisfaction. Three days before the court order, Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, told The Daily Beast that the former president’s attorneys “are planning to file our petition for a certificate in March,” to challenge the lower court’s decision in your quest to keep those tax returns out. from the Manhattan district attorney, and that the “petition will raise significant issues.” Following Monday’s Supreme Court order, Trump’s lawyers and team did not respond to inquiries about whether his strategy had changed.
On Monday, Trump issued a statement complaining: “The Supreme Court should never have allowed this ‘fishing expedition’ to happen, but they did,” and baselessly accused his enemies of engaging in “fascism” in her against. In the written statement, he returned to regurgitate the lie that he “won” the 2020 presidential election in which he was decisively defeated by Democratic contender Joe Biden. That lie led to a months-long undemocratic crusade by Trump and Republicans to overturn the election result, a multi-front effort that culminated in the deadly MAGA riot on January 6 in the United States Capitol. .
The new developments in the New York research come as Cohen sat down with the Vance researchers for the fifth time Thursday. Vance personally participated in the interview, showing how investigators critically view Cohen’s role in helping them press charges against the former president.
“The Supreme Court has now proclaimed that no one is above the law,” Cohen told The Daily Beast. “Trump, for the first time, will have to take responsibility for his own dirty actions.”