Offering the latest evidence that the walls are closing in on President Donald Trump, federal prosecuters reportedly have granted immunity to Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg for providing information about the president’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty this week to violating campaign finance laws at Trump’s direction, to pay off two women who say they had affairs with Trump.
Following previous reports that Weisselberg had testified before a grand jury earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal broke the immunity revelation on Friday. Describing Weisselberg as “Trump’s longtime financial gatekeeper,” the Journal noted that he has been an executive at the Trump Organization for decades, and “after Mr. Trump was elected, he handed control of his financial assets and business interests to his two adult sons and Mr. Weisselberg.”
In the immediate wake of the news, legal analyst Harry Litman, a former U.S. attorney, told MSNBC there is now “a sense that the dam is breaking over the last week and people are rushing in from all sides.”
According to Litman, “Everybody’s who around Trump now—and has been over the last ten years intimately—is in a world of hurt with legal battles on all sides.”
News of Weisselberg’s immunity deal followed reporting on Thursday that David Pecker and Dylan Howard, two top executives at American Media Inc. (AMI), publisher of the tabloid The National Enquirer, were also granted immunity for sharing information with prosecutors about the hush-money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
“Pecker’s apparent decision to corroborate Cohen’s account, and implicate Trump in a federal crime, is another vivid example of how isolated Trump is becoming,” wrote Vanity Fair‘s Gabriel Sherman, who broke the AMI story. On Tuesday—the same day as Cohen’s plea—former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted on bank and tax fraud felonies.
Trump’s isolation was the focus of The New Yorker‘s new cover, revealed Friday, which depicts hounds closing in on the president:
— The Hill (@thehill) August 24, 2018
In an interview with “Fox & Friends” that aired Thursday morning, Trump denounced the longstanding legal practice of “flipping” former confidantes for criminal investigations and court proceedings, declaring that it “almost ought to be illegal.”
The mounting convictions, guilty pleas, and grants of immunity this week, all “provide leverage and pressure on Trump himself,” concluded Litman. “If the organization goes down, it’s terrible for him. If all his people are put under pressure and tell the secrets they know, it’s terrible for him. There’s a real sense that the criminal justice system is biting back [against the president].”
Trump is a racist — but he is also ‘deeply mentally ill’: Trump biographer
On Monday's edition of MSNBC's "Hardball," anchor Chris Matthews discussed President Donald Trump's racist outbursts against congresswomen of color with Pulitzer Prize-winning tax journalist and Trump biographer David Cay Johnston.
Johnston agreed that Trump has been deeply racist throughout his career — but added that another major problem is Trump's cognitive faculties are severely impaired.
"Is he the kind of guy, in a back room with other right-wing business guys, who would make slurs about people of color?" said Johnston. "Is he that kind of guy?"
"That's not Donald's style. Donald's actions are what matter here," said Johnston. "He once removed a black blackjack dealer because he thought it would curry favor with his biggest gambler, [alleged mobster] Bob Libutti. He's found to have discriminated in his casino business against blacks, Asians, women, Puerto Ricans. He has a long history of actions. We should be paying attention to his actions, and they're flat-out racist."
Republicans in Congress are angry about Trump’s latest racist comments — but not because they’re racist
There can be no denying that amid the firestorm from President Donald Trump tweeting that Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) should "go back where they came from," Republicans in Congress are upset.
However, as many of them make clear in conversation with reporters, the fact that these comments were racist is not the main reason they are angry at the president. Rather, they are frustrated that his comments are hogging the news cycle, which leaves them incapable of discussing their agenda — and of criticizing the agenda of the Democratic representatives he targeted.
Lara Trump says the president is the real victim: He ‘gave up his entire life’ to be president
Campaign advisor Lara Trump defended her father-in-law saying that he's the real victim in this exchange between four Congresswomen of color. Then she repeated that these women can "leave" the country.
Trump began the fight Sunday when he told four Congresswomen that if they didn't like what was happening in the United States Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." The women are all citizens and all but one was born in the United States.
"The reality is everything he says, of course, was taken and misconstrued," she said, alleging Trump's statements were taken out of context. You can read them below: