NEW YORK — The loyal controller of the Trump Organization was declared a hostile witness Monday as he sought to absolve his longtime employer of criminal wrongdoing for a multi-year tax fraud scheme by pinning it all on his boss. Testifying for the prosecution under immunity, Jeffrey McConney, a senior vice president, admitted to regularly helping executives cheat on their taxes while working down the hall from Donald Trump on Fifth Ave. The primary beneficiaries, said the 67-year-old McConney, were the senior-most Trump Org executives outside of the Trump family: his boss, Chief Financial Off...
Stories Chosen For You
On Tuesday, following the conviction of the Trump Organization on over a dozen criminal offenses as part of a tax fraud scheme, Andrew Prokop wrote for Vox that former President Donald Trump has far more worrisome legal concerns headed his way.
"Two subsidiaries of the Trump Organization were found guilty on 17 counts of tax fraud and other financial crimes. The charges were specifically about whether the company properly paid taxes related to 'fringe benefits' that its former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg received as part of his salary. Trump himself was not charged," wrote Prokop. "Weisselberg, who initially was charged with the company, struck a plea deal with prosecutors in August and testified at this trial, but he did not implicate Trump himself in any wrongdoing. An attorney for Trump said the company would appeal the verdict."
This result is "embarrassing" for the former president, Prokop wrote — however, it is far from the most dangerous litigation coming Trump's way.
"Trump has lately found himself in a much more dangerous legal morass, with both federal and state prosecutors building cases against him," wrote Prokop. "One enormous threat to Trump is the Justice Department’s investigation of his attempt to stay in power after losing the 2020 election. This probe ramped up in intensity over the course of this year, and dozens of Trump aides and associates are under scrutiny. Recently, Trump lost a legal battle to prevent lawyers who worked in his White House counsel’s office from testifying to a Washington, DC, grand jury."
Other major investigations against Trump include the national security investigation of classified documents stashed at Mar-a-Lago, and the state investigation by Atlanta prosecutor Fani Willis into the plot to overturn the Georgia election, in which Trump is considered to have serious legal exposure. Any one of these investigations could potentially lead to charges for the former president.
"Even [Alvin] Bragg’s Manhattan district attorney’s office is getting involved again, having recently refocused on the long-dormant investigation of whether Trump violated the law by secretly paying adult film actor Stormy Daniels so she wouldn’t allege an affair with him before the 2016 election," noted the report. All of which poses a far greater threat to Trump than the prosecution of his family business.
On Tuesday, POLITICO reported that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has confirmed he met with an indicted former Florida congressman to discuss Venezuela policy — without realizing he was working with the dictator of Venezuela.
"Sen. Marco Rubio acknowledged on Tuesday through a spokesperson that he met with indicted ex-Rep. David Rivera to discuss a potential deal to normalize relations between the United States and Venezuela — but didn’t know that his one-time friend and long-time political ally was working on behalf of strongman Nicolás Maduro," reported Gary Fineout. "Rubio’s dealings with Rivera emerged Monday night after federal authorities arrested and charged the former Miami lawmaker with eight criminal counts, including money laundering, conspiracy and failing to register as a foreign agent for work allegedly connected to the Maduro regime."
"An unsealed indictment states that Rivera and an unnamed U.S. senator from Florida met in July 2017 in Washington to discuss a possible deal with Maduro in which the Venezuelan leader would agree to 'hold free and fair elections in Venezuela,'" said the report. "The senator was not identified by name, but Rivera and Rubio have known each other for years and once owned a house together in Tallahassee."
Rubio, who was recently re-elected overwhelmingly in the 2022 midterm, has spent his career publicly condemning the Venezuelan regime, which is known for political repression and the widespread starvation of its people. Many refugees of the communist South American state have settled in South Florida.
"Rivera and the senator first met to discuss Venezuela on July 9, 2017 at a private residence in D.C., according to the indictment," said the report. "The pair gathered three days later at a Washington hotel with several others, including an unidentified Venezuelan politician who attended the meeting by telephone, according to the indictment."
The Biden administration itself has recently moved forward with a plan that would ease some sanctions against Venezuela, including allowing Chevron to restart its oil business in the country, in return for Maduro resuming talks with the opposition to hold fair elections.
In a panel on CNN Tuesday, longtime Mitch McConnell strategist Scott Jennings assessed former President Donald Trump as failing to lift his latest presidential campaign off the ground.
One of the key blows to his credibility even among many Republicans, Jennings argued, was the moment Trump called to "terminate" the Constitution so he could be reinstalled in office — something he belatedly tried to pretend he never said, even though it was a public post on his Truth Social platform.
"For the former president's campaign — not much of a campaign so far, but his announcement, does this impact this?" asked anchor Anderson Cooper.
"Well, he's had a really bad month," said Jennings. "I mean, he announced his campaign, it was super flat. The midterms have been widely interpreted by a lot of Republicans as a repudiation of his impact on the party, and a lot of folks who used to support him are really rethinking whether they want to go though this again."
"There was also the neo-Nazi, white supremacist lunch, and tearing up the Constitution," Cooper jumped in.
"Absolutely, and his saying we have to tear up the Constitution, which I think on January 6th is what he also said," Jennings agreed. "I mean, when you're the president you take an oath. To the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. He failed on January 6th. He's now saying it again. So all of this is just a story for Republicans to consider about whether you want to drag these heavy bags through another campaign, only to have the majority of the American people tell us for a third time we don't want it."
Scott Jennings on Trump's attack on the Constitution www.youtube.com