Former president Donald Trump's habit of inflating assets could soon come back to haunt him, according to Timothy O'Brien, a Bloomberg opinion writer and the author of Trump Nation.
O'Brien appeared on MSNBC on Thursday night, where he discussed reports that the Manhattan district attorney has convened a second grand jury as part of an investigation into the Trump Organization. The new grand jury reportedly will focus on the valuation of the Trump Organization's assets.
"Donald Trump inflates the value of his assets like someone sticking a pump into a bicycle tire," O'Brien said. "He does it all the time, he does it every day. It is wily nilly. ... This is not new behavior."
For example, Trump has "played a game" with reporters over the years because it was "important to his ego" to stay on Forbes magazine's list of the richest Americans, O'Brien said.
"But it's a very different matter when you go into a bank and you say you need a loan, and you lie about how much the value of your asset is, in order to get a bigger loan that you possibly can't pay back later," O'Brien said. "It is consequential when you go to tax authorities and low-ball the value of a property so you have to pay fewer taxes on it. ... He has a whole possible stew of problems with insurers, in which he's made claims for losses that are more excessive than the losses he's actually incurred, and he possibly pocketed the difference. All of that is in play right now."
Unlike the first Manhattan grand jury – which indicted Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Alan Weisselberg — the new panel appears to be focusing on Trump's "own culpability," O'Brien said.
"The first round smacked of minions and people being rounded up who might testify against Trump," he said. "What we learned about today, it does seem like it's starting to land directly in Trump's lap."
Asked how Trump is likely to react, O'Brien said the former president's initial response will be to denigrate those who are pursuing him, attempting to undermine their credibility.
But he added, "When push comes to shove, he gradually unwinds. If he has to end up getting in a situation where he is going to be deposed, where he has to testify in front of a jury, he is going to completely unspool and do real damage."
Tim O'Brien on MSNBC www.youtube.com