WTF Community

Day 582

Updated 8/24/2018 10:00 AM PDT

1/ The chief financial officer at the Trump Organization was given immunity by federal prosecutors in New York in exchange for information about Michael Cohen as part of their criminal investigation into hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal during the 2016 presidential campaign. Allen Weisselberg, who is identified in court filings as "Executive-1," helped authorize $420,000 in reimbursements to Cohen and was granted immunity in exchange for his grand jury testimony about his role in the payments last month. According to prosecutors, Cohen – then Trump's attorney – sent an invoice to Weisselberg in January 2017 for "Payment for services rendered for the month of January and February, 2017," which reflected Cohen's $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels in October 2016, as well as an additional $50,000 for "tech services." Weisselberg directed another Trump Organization executive to "pay from the Trust" and to "post to legal expenses." Executives at the Trump Organization "'grossed up' for tax purposes" the reimbursement, doubling the invoice to $360,000, adding a $60,000 bonus. After he was elected, Trump handed over control of his financial assets and business interests to Eric and Trump Jr., and Weisselberg. (Wall Street Journal / NBC News / Washington Post)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

This is the big one! Weisselberg knows it all. This is the seismic event that will bring down the Trump Organization!

:man_dancing: :man_dancing: :man_dancing:


The announcement came just one day after Pompeo announced that he would visit North Korea to continue negotiations over the country’s nuclear disarmament.

Yet another embarrassing foreign policy debacle on the world stage.

1 Like

Snarky comment by George Conway (Kelly Anne’s husband.) responding to Renato Mariotti’s tweet.


George Conway Retweeted Renato Mariotti

It means that Individual-1 needs a real lawyer.


THREAD: What does the grant of immunity to Trump Organization CFO Alan Weisselberg tell us?

Pt. 2


George Conway Retweeted Donald J. Trump

What everyone should want, and the country needs, is a “President” capable of comprehending what it means to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” Art. II, § 3.


“Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.” Jeff, this is GREAT, what everyone wants, so look into all of the corruption on the “other side” including deleted Emails, Comey lies & leaks, Mueller conflicts, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr…

1 Like

Interesting article out from Ronan Farrow and Adam Entous at the New Yorker today.

Here’s what looks like a counter-punch which pundits and some of those listed think is a conspiracy theory linked to Sebastian Gorka, and Black Cube which names several former Obama administrators as formulating an ‘Echo Chamber,’ who’s specific aim is to undermine T’s foreign policies and any attempt to undermine Obamacare/ACA. They wrote a memo concerning this former Obama group as being conspirators against the current T admin.

In early 2017, some of Donald Trump’s advisers concluded that they faced a sophisticated threat responsible for “coordinated attacks” on the new Administration. They circulated a memo, titled “The Echo Chamber,” which read like a U.S. military-intelligence officer’s analysis of a foreign-insurgent network. Instead of being about enemies in a distant war zone, however, the network described in the memo consisted of former aides to President Barack Obama.

The memo claimed that the “communications infrastructure” that the Obama White House used to “sell Obamacare and the Iran Deal to the public” had been moved to the private sector, now that the former aides were out of government. It called the network the Echo Chamber and accused its members of mounting a coördinated effort “to undermine President Trump’s foreign policy” through organized attacks in the press against Trump and his advisers. “These are the Obama loyalists who are probably among those coordinating the daily/weekly battle rhythm,” the memo said, adding that they likely operated a “virtual war room.” The memo lists Ben Rhodes, a former deputy national-security adviser to President Obama, as “likely the brain behind this operation” and Colin Kahl, Vice-President Joe Biden’s former national-security adviser, as its “likely ops chief.” Rhodes and Kahl both said in interviews that the allegations are false and no such organization exists.

Those who are listed (and some are podcasters)

Suggests that they are the “brains behind the organization”
Ben Rhodes - former deputy national-security adviser to President Obama (Co-Head)
Colin Kahl, Vice-President Joe Biden’s former national-security adviser (Co-Head)

Black Cube also assembled a list of six additional journalists and commentators it described as being “close to Rhodes vessels of his message.”

“Likely operative group”
Jake Sullivan, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden,
Ned Price - former CIA analyst
Jon Finer - Senior Advisor to Deputy National Security Advisor Antony Blinken
Jon Favreau - Obama Speachwriter
Tommy Vietor - Nat Security
Dan Pfeiffer - former Obama campaigner and advisor to Obama

Both the memo and Black Cube documents reference attacks in the press on Sebastian Gorka, a former deputy assistant to President Trump. In a section titled “Gorka Allegations,” the Black Cube documents reference allegations that he was anti-Semitic and affiliated with Nazi groups, which Rhodes mentioned in a tweet on one occasion. (Gorka has disputed the allegations.) The memo identifies the former Obama Administration officials purported to be in the Echo Chamber as “the people who would be behind coordinated attacks such as the one against Seb Gorka.” Later, it cites an article Kahl wrote in Foreign Policy, which questioned whether Gorka had a top-secret security clearance.

The memo also claims that other former Obama Administration officials are part of the Echo Chamber. Jake Sullivan, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, is identified as one of the leaders of the Echo Chamber. The former Obama Administration officials Tommy Vietor, Ned Price, Jon Favreau, Jon Finer, and Dan Pfeiffer are all listed as “likely operations officers.” Many of those former officials have publicly criticized Trump’s foreign policies, but Rhodes and Kahl said there was no “Echo Chamber,” “network,” “ops chief,” or “virtual war room.” In a statement, Rhodes described the memo as “a bizarre effort to validate ‘deep state’ conspiracy theories” and said that, “given Trump’s many efforts to intimidate and malign his critics, it’s worth asking how his White House and outside enablers acted on this strange memo.” In an e-mail, Kahl added that “the NSC’s role is to staff the President and coordinate the interagency on foreign affairs. It is not the NSC’s role to conduct military-style network analysis of domestic opponents.”

1 Like

Podcast from Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer 8/23/18

1 Like

My favorite tweet response to this story :point_down:

1 Like

Yup…turning on the heat for Giuliani and noting his close ties (Board Member) with Pharmacutical Purdue, producer of OxyContin which is a huge money maker, and yes, a firm that has blown the Opiod crisis up.

Kyle Griffin

Sens. Maggie Hassan and Sheldon Whitehouse are demanding info from DOJ and the DEA about Rudy Giuliani’s history with opioid maker Purdue Pharma.

Purdue employed Giuliani Partners for years, clad with its founder’s shiny post-9/11 reputation and political connections. When a federal investigation in the mid-2000s threatened company executives with the prospect of felonies and jail time, the firm helped Purdue’s top brass get off with misdemeanor “misbranding” convictions and community service in 2007. Purdue Pharma’s parent company, Purdue Frederick, pleaded guilty to a misbranding felony that cost it $600 million, but Giuliani helped strike a deal that enabled Purdue Pharma to continue selling its blockbuster painkiller OxyContin. “Among Mr. Giuliani’s missions was the job of convincing public officials that they could trust Purdue because they could trust him,” as the New York Times put it that year.

The letters also cite investigations suggesting that Giuliani used his political connections to influence the relatively lenient outcome of the federal suit, as well as the lax approach Drug Enforcement Agency took in curbing misuse of the drug.

1 Like

Podcast… is Pod Saves America. :clap::clap::clap:

Thanks @Pet_Proletariat for directing us to it!

1 Like

House Judiciary Dem’s calling on Chairman Goodblatte (R-VA) to call on Congress to protect the Mueller investigation and stem Prez’s pardon power and sending him letter (within tweet)

Kyle Griffin (NBC news)

Every House Judiciary Democrat is calling on Chairman Goodlatte to call the Committee back into session to let members meet with DOJ about the implications of the Cohen probe; to respond to “possible abuse” of pardon power by Trump; and to take up legislation to protect Mueller.

Very interesting article by NYT and Propublica on how Mueller has been so successful on spearheading this investigation. Says more about Mueller’s steadfastness, his integrity, not to mention his chops…

But as it has been, the judicial system HAS gone soft on Corporate crime - see that no one was jailed for the SubPrime Mortgage scandal.

But the T fiasco, and well, Manafort’s malfeasance is part of a greater problem. These guys work the system…and some are smarter than others.

Read on.


What’s Mueller’s secret? For one thing, he has a focus. He and his team have sufficient resources to go after a discrete set of investigations. In the early 2000s, the Justice Department had similar success setting up the Enron Task Force, a special SWAT team of government lawyers that prosecuted top executives of the failed Texas energy trader. That contrasts with the financial crisis, when the Justice Department never created a similar task force. No single department official was responsible for the prosecutions of bankers after the global meltdown.

The investigation’s techniques are also instructive. The Southern District of New York, which was referred the Cohen case by Mueller, raided President Trump’s former attorney’s offices and fought for access to the materials, even as Cohen asserted attorney-client privilege. When federal prosecutors investigate large companies, out of custom and deference they rarely use such aggressive tactics. They place few wiretaps, conduct almost no undercover operations and do almost no raids. Instead government attorneys reach carefully negotiated agreements about which documents they can review, the product of many hours of discussion with high-powered law firms on behalf of their clients. All the battles over privileged materials happen behind closed doors and without the benefit of a disinterested special master, as the Cohen case had.

Indeed it’s worse than that. The government has essentially privatized corporate law enforcement. The government effectively outsources the investigations to the companies themselves. The companies, typically trying to appear cooperative or to forestall government action, hire law firms to do internal investigations. Imagine if Mueller relied on Trump to investigate whether he colluded with the Russians or violated any other laws, and Trump hired Rudy Giuliani’s firm to do the probe.

The aggressive Mueller techniques have yielded the most crucial element for white-collar cases: flippers; i.e., wrongdoers who agree to testify against their co-conspirators. Rick Gates, the Manafort protégé, helped tighten his mentor’s noose. We are going to see in the next few months how many people flip and what they will say. No wonder President Trump mused that flipping “almost ought to be illegal.”

Mueller’s experience has given him the courage to take cases to trial, where juries are mercurial and the federal bench has turned hostile. Mueller’s prosecutors tried a “thin case” against Manafort, as the expression goes, boiling their evidence down to a few elements that the jury could absorb easily. They even managed to overcome the open hostility of U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis. Good prosecutors are used to that in white-collar cases. Judges and justices have not looked favorably upon white-collar prosecutions for more than a decade now, overturning verdicts and narrowing statutes. But with well-marshaled evidence and clear presentation, prosecutors can surmount the difficulties.

1 Like

Here’s some additional good news about Weisselberg’s immunity arrangement.

I was wondering if the immunity would just apply to matters relating to Michael Cohen and particularly the two hush money payments. If that were the case, the “return” for prosecutors might be rather limited (albeit significant in that Weisselberg would be confirming these two crimes). However, according to Barbara McQuade, former U.S. Attorney, who just spoke on an MSNBC panel hosted by Ali Velshi, the immunity agreement is likely to be wide ranging and will thus serve as an extremely powerful tool for prosecutors – you might say it provides them with X-ray vision into every corner of the Trump Organization:

I think it is very significant. When immunity agreements are granted, they are not usually specific to one particular target like Michael Cohen. . . . It’s usually for any and all crimes that you have knowledge of. . . . The fact that [Weisselberg] thought he needed immunity suggests that he believes he has some criminal exposure himself. So this is a real gift to prosecutors because if they want to build a case now against other executives in the Trump Organization or Trump himself, they don’t need to use Michael Cohen as a witness, who has a lot of baggage. In fact, that could even explain why there was not a cooperation agreement along with his plea agreement that was entered the other day.

So it appears that prosecutors have the full cooperation of the Big Kahuna, the lawyer at the heart of the Trump Organization, who has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with Trump for decades. They no longer need Cohen who is a less credible witness.

Weisselberg is now highly motivated to dish up the goods on each and every crime Trump has committed of which he has knowledge. Doing so allows him to play his “get out of jail free card” for those crimes. If he holds back information about any crimes, he may wind up being charged for them later. More from McQuade:

Generally, the idea is ‘I have immunized you. You agree to talk to me. Tell me everything you know. I agree not to use any of those statements against you, but you are now giving up your Fifth Amendment rights not to testify, not to incriminate yourself, so I get to ask you about anything I want to, any topic whatsoever.

So it would likely not be very specific to one particular investigation, for example, Michael Cohen, but about anything, any crimes that he knows of. . .

There’s a real incentive in that situation, for someone like Weisselberg, to volunteer everything he knows under that umbrella because he gets protection for everything that he talks about, any crimes he’s ever committed, any crime he knows of – this is his moment to get it off his chest because they’re not going to use these statements against him.

The other panelist, Jill Wine-Banks, former Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor, asserted:

[This] could really lead to the downfall of the Trump Organization.

BOOM :boom:


Because of course he did :woman_facepalming:t2:

1 Like

Oh shit! :joy::joy::joy:

(CNN)A former Trump World Tower doorman who says he has knowledge of an alleged affair President Donald Trump had with an ex-housekeeper, which resulted in a child, is now able to talk about a contract he entered with American Media Inc. that had prohibited him from discussing the matter with anyone, according to his attorney.

On Friday, Marc Held – the attorney for Dino Sajudin, the former doorman – said his client had been released from his contract with AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer, “recently” after back-and-forth discussions with AMI.
CNN has exclusively obtained a copy of the “source agreement” between Sajudin and AMI, which is owned by David Pecker.


Shi-Ka-Ka- Boom yeah…

Well this hibernating story is on it’s way out…I remember hearing about it, and it could not be confirmed by reporters etc.

T supporters still all in…

But this might explode in his ‘wherever.’:joy:


More payoffs! We now know for certain that AMI did enter into a contract with the doorman, Don Sajudin, since CNN has obtained a copy of the contract. Back in April, when the story first broke, I believe the existence of the contract was only “alleged.”

What we still don’t know is if there is any truth to Sajudin’s story. I hope that this renewed attention will spur further investigations so we can find out if Sajudin was just gaming AMI or if his story is actually true.

In today’s article, CNN links to an April 12 article by the Associated Press and quotes briefly from it. Seeing the headline of that April article reminded me that I had read it at the time and that there was something in there that CNN was ignoring. Sure enough, the AP article from April includes this:

The woman at the center of the rumor about Trump denied emphatically to the AP last August that she’d ever had an affair with Trump, saying she had no idea the Enquirer had paid Sajudin and pursued his tip.

The AP has not been able to determine if the rumor is true and is not naming the woman.

“This is all fake,” she said. “I think they lost their money.”

Was the AP interviewing the correct woman? Was she telling the truth? Back in April, I wondered why no reporters pursued this more vigorously – there was a big brouhaha about it and then all reporting on it died out.

I feel it was irresponsible of CNN to make a big splash about this today yet fail to include the above paragraph from the article they referenced. My concern is that if this turns out to be a story about AMI paying $30,000 in 2015 to hush up what is proven to be a false claim about Trump, the whole thing may fizzle again and the Right may drag out their hackneyed fake news mantra (unwarranted since the contract is real, but they’ll push it regardless). On the other hand, if this leads to the discovery that Trump does, indeed, have a secret “love child,” that could be the story of the century.

Interesting times! :slightly_smiling_face:


I expect a follow up piece from Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker soon. Here’s his original piece from April.


New Yorker piece on Weisselberg…good detailed review of where he fits in…

“Allen is the one guy who knows everything,” a former Trump Organization executive told @AdamDavidson, in 2016, about Allen Weisselberg. “He’ll never talk to you.”

Friday’s news that Weisselberg is working with prosecutors could prove very bad for Trump.

The fact that Weisselberg has “flipped”— and may flip further—could shift the calculus of other figures in the Trump orbit as well. Weisselberg is a big fish—perhaps the biggest fish of all. Fearing that Weisselberg might implicate them in a crime, any cronies, dealmakers, attorneys, and others who might want to exchange information for leniency from prosecutors, will now do so.


This topic was automatically closed 15 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

It is a gold mine of details that is far reaching. And will surely be a bonanza for Mueller.

This Bloomberg article just popped up …

Weisselberg is deeply familiar with the Trump Organization’s financial housekeeping. Trump — a man who rarely trusts anyone — confided in Weisselberg and relied on him to sign off on details of the company’s most significant deals. Weisselberg oversees the trust that Trump set up to manage his interests in the Trump Organization while he’s in the White House, and also had a prominent position inside the president’s troubled charitable foundation. In short, he was privy to decisions at the Trump Organization that Cohen was never allowed to take part in.

That kind of knowledge is gold to federal investigators. Mueller’s team signaled long ago that it might take a closer look at the president’s business dealings as part of its examination of Russia’s assault on the presidential campaign. It’s likely that the probe is exploring whether Trump or others on his business and campaign teams — including members of his family — discussed exchanging policy favors (lifting economic sanctions on Russia, for example, or shifting the U.S. stance on Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine) in exchange for financial or political quid pro quos.

Trump’s intersection with murky funding from overseas sources, including Russia, goes back years (as I’ve detailed before in columns about the Trump SoHo hotel and Trump’s partnership with the Bayrock Group). In a column about Cohen and Weisselberg in April, I noted that Weisselberg was a possible candidate for a subpoena given the fact that Mueller had already subpoenaed the Trump Organization for business records — and given the fact that Weisselberg has had a front row seat in deals involving transactions like the Trump SoHo.

Adding all of that up suggests that federal prosecutors have had incentives to pressure Weisselberg to reconsider his loyalties to Trump. That makes the Trump family’s reclusive accountant a significant player in this unfolding historical drama, even though he spent decades shunning the spotlight his famous boss courted so obsessively. And remember: It was a forensic accountant — the guy who knew all the boring details about taxes and buried financial bodies — who ultimately brought down Al Capone. :man_dancing: :man_dancing: :man_dancing:

Thx. @Keaton_James for fixing my post! :grin:

1 Like