The top prosecutor who led the investigation into the now-defunct Trump University explained why he thinks Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg held a larger position at the company than his business card title revealed.
Former New York Assistant Attorney General Tristan Snell was interviewed by MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber on "The Beat."
"There are experts here who say money man only scratches the surface, he was at times basically the acting CEO," Melber noted. "What, if anything, can you tell us about that based on your knowledge and is that good or bad for him as he faces this heat?"
"Well, first off, you can find out a lot about an organization, about a company, about a target without actually having them cooperate with you. So we were able to get a lot of information on how the Trump Organization worked and Weisselberg's role in it despite the fact that we did not have Weisselberg's cooperation," Snell explained. "We never even felt like we needed to bring him in as a witness because we had already had enough knowledge of everything that we didn't really need Weisselberg, but we were still able to find the Trump Organization liable and a lot of why the judge in the Trump University case decided that Trump Organization was liable was because of Weisselberg's very heavy-handed day-to-day control of the organization."
"Very much he was the acting CEO. II would also say that he was basically the COOO, the Chief Operating Officer of the Trump Organization, a role which has never really been filled, at least not that I know of in the past 20 years," he said, although Matthew Calameri has taken on the position since the end of the Trump University case.
"So the CFO, you know, they're the ones actually keeping the books and tracking the P&Is and seeing exactly what money is coming in, what money is going out, and making high-level decisions based on that. Weisselberg was doing more than that, e would decide which businesses would live and which businesses would die," he said "A lot of times it was Weisselberg who was the enforcer, he was not just the bean counter, he had a lot of power within the organization to determine what businesses were going to do what, which ones would go forward and which ones would be shut down."
The Beat www.youtube.com
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Matthew Calamari, a former bodyguard to Donald Trump and chief operating officer of the Trump Organization, is under investigation by Manhattan prosecutors as part of their probe into whether the benefits offered by the business amount to illegal tax evasion.
"Prosecutors' interest in Mr. Calamari, once Mr. Trump's bodyguard, indicates that their probe into the Trump Organization's alleged practice of providing some employees with cars and apartments extends beyond Allen Weisselberg, the company's chief financial officer, and his family," reported Rebecca Ballhaus and Corinne Ramey. "Receiving benefits — such as free apartments, subsidized rent or car leases — from an employer, and not paying taxes on such benefits, can be a crime, although experts said prosecutors rarely bring cases on such perks alone."
The report noted that neither Calamari nor Weisselberg have currently been accused of a crime. However, sources say that Trump is keeping a close eye on Weisselberg for any signs that he could flip on the family for a deal.
Calamari is a colorful figure; according to an anecdote from a 1993 book, he told Trump that he would be willing to kill for his boss.
"Prosecutors in recent weeks advised Mr. Calamari and his son, Matthew Calamari Jr., that they should hire their own lawyer, people familiar with the matter said," said the report. "The elder Mr. Calamari, who works as the Trump Organization's chief operating officer, and his son, the company's corporate director of security, had previously been represented by a lawyer who was also representing other Trump Organization employees, one of the people said. Such a recommendation is often a sign that prosecutors' interest in a subject is intensifying, but doesn't mean the Calamaris will be charged with wrongdoing."
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Fox News is smearing FBI because far-right fears Feds are closing in on insurrection leaders: ex-official
Former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi says he thinks the debunked conspiracy theory Fox News personality Tucker Carlson has been pushing — that it was the FBI who attacked the Capitol and not Trump supporters seeking to overturn the election — is because conservatives fear the bureau is closing in on those who incited the attack.
Before Carlson pushed his conspiracy theory about the FBI, he pushed Trump's "Big Lie" about election fraud.
"I want to ask you about the idea of [Matthew Dowd's] that [Trump] was a clear and present danger and ask you if he still is," MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace said. "Because this is a story not just because this crazy ladies squatting in a mansion talking to Icelandic reporters furthered them, but because the disgraced ex-president grabbed them and sent them to his Justice Department and asked the Justice Department to act on them."
"You're absolutely right," Figliuzzi replied. "Let's be clear here, we're not talking about conspiracies that just spontaneously sprung up from the population as they do — urban legends that need to get swatted down or that take on a life of their own — we're looking at conspiracy as a deliberate strategy,."
"Deception as a strategy," he explained. "And you could argue that the former president now out of office has absolutely no guardrails and zero accountability and can engage in this even more often."
Figliuzzi explained the latest Fox News conspiracy theory that the FBI was behind the insurrection as because the bureau is closing in on the leadership of the attack.
"I think that they are frightened out of their minds that the FBI is actually looking at the root causes of this. And we have some confirmation of that because NBC News obtained one of the FBI interview transcripts of one of the January 6 defendants," he said. "And low and behold, what is one of the questions they asked him? 'Do you know anybody in Congress or congressional staffers? "If that is becoming a standardized question under certain circumstances, they have every right to be worried and that's why we'll see them continue to plant this cockamamy theory that the FBI did it."
Frank Figliuzzi youtu.be
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