On Tuesday evening, the New York Timesreported that the Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg, is on the verge of being indicted and that the charges could come down as soon as this summer:
“In recent weeks, a grand jury has been hearing evidence about Mr. Weisselberg, who is facing intense scrutiny from prosecutors as they seek his cooperation with a broader investigation into Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization, the people with knowledge of the matter said. The prosecutors have obtained Mr. Weisselberg’s personal tax returns, the people said, providing the fullest picture yet of his finances.”
If Weisselberg does indeed wind up being charged, according to former federal prosecutor Elie Honig, that could also wind up bringing down former President Donald Trump.
During an appearance on CNN shortly after the Times story broke, Honig remarked:
That led host Erin Burnett to inquire:
Honig added that the prison time Weisselberg could be facing would help determine if he agrees to flip on Trump and tell what he knows to prosecutors:
There’s another possibility that Weisselberg has to take into consideration: That Trump will flip on him in order to save his own ass. That alone should give Weisselberg all the motivation he needs to cooperate with investigators.
Donald Trump is on the verge of losing everything he owns, as banks are calling in his massive loans and threatening him with seizure of his assets (i.e. properties and bank accounts) unless he starts paying back what he owes them, which is estimated to be anywhere from $420 million to $1 billion.
Dean Enrich, financial investigative reporter for the New York Times, said recently on MSNBC that Trump is desperately trying to find way to make “a lot of cash quickly” to keep the wolves at bay:
“There are both civil and criminal and congressional investigations that are still seeking after years of trying to get Trump’s financial records from Deutsche Bank and, you know, it’s anyone’s guess what that is going to show. We know at Deutsche Bank, though, there were employers who raised money laundering concerns in both the Trump and [Jared] Kushner accounts. We still don’t have the full story about what happened there.”
MSNBC host Alex Witt asked Enrich:
“I trust you will get to the bottom of that, Let me ask you, though, is this just the beginning? How many more banks or financial institutions have relationships with Donald Trump and what’s the impact on his finances of this?”
“I think it’s a very serious financial impact for him. He has hundreds of millions of dollars of debt coming due in the next few years, most of it to Deutsche Bank, but not all of it. And normally, a borrower would go to the lender and say, ‘can we refinance the loan, extend it a few years?’ That’s not going to be an option for Trump with most of these loans.”
Things are so bad, Enrich added, that Trump is on the precipice of financial default, and that would be catastrophic because some of his largest lenders plan to go after his assets and grab them to compensate for lack of repayment:
“He’s going to need to come up with a lot of cash quickly or he’s going to be at risk of defaulting. In the case of Deutsche Bank, if he defaults, the bank has recourse to his personal assets. They could go to court to seize his property or the money he has in various banking accounts. So he’s going to need to come up with cash very quickly and his businesses right now are struggling, so it’s very unclear to me where he might be able to get that money.”
How will Trump raise hundreds of millions of dollars in a short amount of time? His name and brand are so toxic thanks to his deeds over the past four years that no one wants to do business with him. He, his family, and his company are also facing numerous legal threats in multiple jurisdictions.
Karma is starting to take one hell of a bite out of the Donald.
Fox News host Sean Hannity — who has a net worth of approximately $250 million and earns an annual salary of over $40 million — has a message for anyone who’s struggling to make ends meet or put food on the table for themselves and their family: Get a second job and don’t you dare accept any food stamps or other government assistance.
According to Media Matters For America, Hannity made the remarks about refusing government assistance on the Thursday edition of his radio show:
But the Fox host was just getting warmed up, giving a full-throated endorsement of predatory capitalism that creates billionaires but leaves children and veterans starving and homeless:
Yeah, freedom is so much more important than a roof over your head or something to eat. Sure, you’re starving and living in a cardboard box, but at least you have you FREEDOM! Try paying your bills with a big batch of American freedom and see how that turns out.
The solution, according to Hannity, is working two jobs. Because who needs sleep, right?
So let’s take a closer look at Hannity’s math regarding the working two jobs suggestion:
You have two full-time (40 hours a week) minimum wage jobs that pay $7.25 an hour. That means you’ll earn $2320.00 a month. After taxes, you might see $2000 of that.
Multiply $2,000 by 12 and you wind up with $24,000, which is what you’re supposed to pay rent, buy groceries, and use for utilities, clothes, etc. with. How long is that going to keep your family afloat? And how long can most people work two jobs before they collapse from exhaustion?
Here’s a better idea: Tax rich assholes like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Rupert Murdoch, etc. at a 50% rate. Then take that money and invest in things like infrastructure, schools, health care, and food security.
Hannity is a greedy douchebag. He’s got his millions, and the rest of us can starve for all he cares.
The only thing that matters to Donald Trump is money. His family, his friends, even his own health are a distant second to his lust for money and his willingness to do whatever is necessary (legal or illegal) to obtain more of it.
To put it another way, consider this perfectly-worded paragraph from Chauncey Devega of Salon:
“Donald Trump is the leader of a political crime family. As president, he abused the power and influence of the office to personally enrich himself, his family and his inner circle. Much of Trump’s apparent extortion, self-dealing, influence-peddling, and outright blackmail was done in plain sight. One such scheme, in which Trump attempted to extort the president of Ukraine into launching a phony investigation of Joe Biden, resulted in his impeachment (that is, for the first time).”
But the thing is, money always leaves a trail, whether in the form of bank records, tax statements, or financial disclosure forms used to obtain loans for real estate projects such as the ones the Trump Organization has been building or branding for decades.
That trail of dirty money is what will send Trump to prison and destroy his company in the very near future.
In September of last year, Dan Alexander published an important book entitled White House, Inc.: How Donald Trump Turned the Presidency into a Business, that takes a close look at the trail of cash that leads from Trump to all sorts of sordid characters across the globe:
“Alexander cautions that we may never see substantive evidence that directly connects Trump to Russian bankers and oligarchs, as so many observers in the news media and among Trump’s critics have repeatedly suggested. But that doesn’t mean there’s no evidence of apparent corruption: Both in his book and in this conversation, Alexander offers compelling evidence that Trump’s otherwise inexplicable foreign policy decisions may often have been shaped by venal interests.”
During a recent interview, Alexander was asked what areas of Trump’s finances offer the best opportunity for prosecution and conviction. He replied:
“At the federal level, Trump is no longer protected by the Office of Legal Counsel’s opinion saying presidents cannot be indicted while in office. That could be problematic for him, especially given the material already uncovered in the hush-money case and the Mueller report. But I would not be surprised if the Biden administration elects not to reopen those wounds. Regardless, the investigations by the Manhattan DA and the New York State attorney general will remain serious threats. Presidential pardons will not impede those matters, and the officials overseeing them are responsive to left-leaning constituencies.”
It all comes down to New York, which is ironic when you consider that Donald Trump considers himself the quintessential New Yorker. Maybe he’ll even get a chance to try out the Empire State’s prisons.
The reelection campaign of President Donald Trump is in serious financial trouble, and it appears things are getting worse by the day.
HuffPost reports that it has looked at filings by the campaign with the Federal Elections Commission and found that campaign manager Bill Stepien has had to take a 33 percent pay cut — $5,000 a month — because the Trump 2020 team is running dangerously low on cash:
“Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien appears to have taken a 33% pay cut ― $5,000 a month — when he accepted his promotion this summer, another sign of money trouble for a campaign that spent over $1 billion only to have the incumbent president behind in the polls.
“Stepien had been deputy campaign manager before he moved up to the top job on July 15 — the day before his firm received $10,000 rather than the $15,000 it had been getting monthly since December 2018.”
Ouch! That’s got to be painful and humiliating for a campaign that was once rolling in money but has reportedly burned through as much as $800,000 in recent months, leading to a cancellation of television ads in some markets, including key battleground states where Trump is already trailing Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Veterans of other campaigns noted that the slashing of Stepien’s pay is the surest sign yet that the Trump 2020 campaign is in total disarray fiscally:
“’That’s a humiliating blow,’ said Rick Wilson, a longtime Florida GOP consultant and Trump critic.
“’Plainly, they have big money problems and I am guessing Stepien cut his own salary as a prelude to cutting others,’ said David Axelrod, the Democratic strategist behind former President Barack Obama’s successful 2008 campaign. ‘They made a big bet that they could invest early in building a small-dollar digital universe to compete with the Democrats that would pay off late. Well, now it’s late, and they seem to be low on cash..”
However, Trump himself and his company, the Trump Organization, are doing just fine, despite the cash crunch that has led to Stepien taking a salary reduction:
“A HuffPost analysis of FEC filings shows that from the time he took office through July 31, Trump’s various businesses — from his golf courses to his bottled water company — have taken in $6,979,984 from the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and their two joint fundraising committees.”
Polls show Trump remains behind Biden by a significant margin, most notably in the all-important battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which provided a major portion of Trump’s electoral victory in 2016.
Wilson said it appears the lavish spending by the Trump 2020 team has finally caught up with them, and that he believes the president himself may have gotten fleeced by his staff:
“Don the Con got conned. Trump got played by all these people who are making a killing off of this.”