On CNN Tuesday, former federal prosecutor Elie Honig walked through the implications of the new report showing Manhattan prosecutors are close to finishing their investigation of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg — and may be prepared to bring charges against him.
"We're on the brink of two make-or-break decisions," said Honig. "First, prosecutors will need to sit down, assess all their evidence and decide, do we have enough evidence to indict Allen Weisselberg? If so, then the big decision is, does he flip? Whether he flips will mean everything for this investigation. He's the exact right person to target to try to flip. He's in the inner circle, the only person not named Trump who is in the inner circle of the Trump Org. If they flip him, he can open up a universe of evidence."
"What is this new reporting from The New York Times, what does it tell you about the types of charges Weisselberg could be facing, especially when you're getting into this issue of prison time?" asked anchor Erin Burnett.
"Prosecutors seem to be looking to make tax charges against Allen Weisselberg," said Honig. "The charge is that he was paid by the Trump Organization not with a paycheck, but in the Trump Organization paying for tuition, for cars, for apartments. That can be a lot of income. Normally that kind of income is taxable. If they were doing this to try to get around the taxes, to try to beat having to pay taxes, that could be a tax fraud charge."
"A lot is going to depend on the amount here," Honig added. "Tax fraud charges can be as minor as a misdemeanor under New York state law, meaning nobody is going to flip on a misdemeanor, you don't go to jail. Or they could be up to seven years per year of tax fraud. He could be looking at very little time or very serious time. That's going to be a huge factor when deciding whether to flip."
Elie Honig on potential Allen Weisselberg indictment www.youtube.com
'If Weisselberg doesn't cooperate he's got to worry Trump may turn on him': Former White House lawyer
The New York Times revealed Tuesday that sources with knowledge of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's investigation into former President Donald Trump and his company the Trump Organization may indict the CFO Allen Weisselberg as soon as this summer.
Speaking to MSNBC host Joy Reid, former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal and ex-federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner warned Weisselberg that this is going to come down like a ton of bricks.
Kirschner explained that the evidence should concern Trump because it makes it more likely that Weisselberg could make a plea deal and hang Trump out to dry.
"But there's also a long game to be played here," Kirschner continued. "I've had defendants who were not exactly like Weisselberg, but they were people that I desperately needed to bring on board to build my case against the bigger criminal fish, and they wouldn't plead guilty. Allen Weisselberg may not plead guilty. So, here's how we play the long game as prosecutors. We indict him. We try him. We convict him. And we sit down with him again after a jury has said, guilty, but before a judge has sentenced him. And we say, 'What are you going to do now, chief? You still have an opportunity. We can still reduce your sentence somewhat, but guess what? You're not going to get as good a deal as if you had come on board and cooperated upfront when you should have.' So, there are still a lot of moving pieces to the Allen Weisselberg part of this equation."
Reid asked if it was possible for Trump to walk away from the case without consequences if he is able to successfully blame it all on Weisselberg. Katyal said he didn't think so.
"We'll have to study this new reporting by the New York Times, but to me, it looks like the first domino for Donald Trump is starting to fall," said Katyal. "And this has been an inexorable path since the Supreme Court, 9-0, said Trump Tax returns have to be turned over, so these financial records that you're seeking about Trump are now in the hands of prosecutors. We know that those New York prosecutors have convened a grand jury. They're going to sit for six months, three days a week."
He also explained that prosecutors sent a warning letter to the Trump Organization calling it a criminal investigation. All prosecutors must do is tell Weisselberg is what will happen if he doesn't cooperate.
"I think prosecutors here know one other thing, which is that Allen Weisselberg knows where all the keys to the kingdom are," Katyal continued. "He knows everything. So, most normal companies have a compliance office that deals with all these questions. Not the Trump Organization. The Trump Organization's compliance office was basically, like, a giant sharpie drawing of the presidential seal or something like that. So, it's really all up to Weisselberg. And so, if they can flip Weisselberg, and I suspect they can because of that dynamic that Michael Cohen was just revealing, this kind of prisoner's dilemma where if Weisselberg doesn't cooperate, he's got to worry that Trump may turn on him. Each of them has to worry about that and that becomes a race to get information and that's why I think ultimately bad news for Trump."
Watch the video below:
Weisselberg news www.youtube.com
'Trainwreck' Marjorie Taylor Greene mocked by Democratic lawmaker as a 'blister on the Republicans' feet'
On CNN Tuesday, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) tore into the continued erratic behavior of far-right, QAnon-curious Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).
"Marjorie Taylor Greene is refusing to honor Capitol Police because she objects to calling the January 6th insurrection an 'insurrection,'" said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "She says Congress is not a temple of democracy. What's your reaction?"
"Well, she is a blister on the Republicans' feet that will be there until she leaves," said Speier. "Everything's a mistake. It was a mistake that she was embracing QAnon. It was a mistake that she didn't appreciate how serious the Holocaust was. Is it a mistake that she's calling the Democratic Party a Nazi organization? I mean, she is a trainwreck. I think that the less time spent on her, the better because frankly, she doesn't deserve our attention."
"What about the apology we heard from her yesterday for comparing mask mandates here in the United States to Jews being forced to wear Stars of David during the Holocaust?" said Blitzer. "Should she still face a censure vote? And to [Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy's point, should your Democratic colleague Ilhan Omar also face censure for her comments?"
"I would say at this point, Mr. McCarthy should worry about his Republican minority and let the Democratic caucus worry about its Democratic majority," said Speier. "I think this can only get worse and worse and less deliberative in terms of the work we need to do if we keep throwing up these motions. You didn't see the Democrats put up a censure motion for Ms. Greene. I would suggest it's really time for us to do the work of the American people and let those who want to have these extreme views stand alone."
Jackie Speier calls Marjorie Taylor Greene a "blister on the Republicans' feet" www.youtube.com
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