Follow the Money
(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
It’s obvious that Trump is furious, but about what? At the beginning of the week he threatened with a government shutdown in September if he doesn’t get the money for ‘the wall,’ even arguing that it would help Republicans in the elections. Then he claimed that Robert Mueller has a conflict of interest, because he once had a business dispute with Trump over the membership fee of a golf club and Trump didn’t make him FBI Director after he fired Comey. About a confidential meeting with New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger Trump tweeted that the abundance of fake news had made the press the enemy of the people, while Sulzberger had just warned him for the use of such language. And with Mueller already investigating Trump’s tweets to see if they constitute obstruction of justice or witness tampering the president tweeted that Jeff Sessions should end the Mueller ‘witch hunt’ right now. Immediately after that tweet was posted Trump’s lawyers went into full damage control mode, and Rudy Giuliani told every network that would have him that the president had only expressed an opinion but not given his Attorney General an order.
There are at least three possible reasons why Trump is freaking out. The first is Michael Cohen’s revelation that Trump knew in advance about the June 9th, 2016, meeting, which was kept in the headlines by Giuliani’s uncontrolled blabbering on CNN about a second, preparatory meeting two days earlier that was attended by Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Richard Gates. There was absolutely no need for Hizzoner to make this public and three hours later he denied that there had been another meeting. The second is the back and forth between Trump’s lawyers and Mueller about Trump being interviewed by the Special Counsel. Mueller insists that both collusion and obstruction of justice have to be topics, but Trump only wants to answer questions about collusion and seems to think that he can convince Mueller that his probe is a witch hunt. However, the Washington Post reported that in 558 days in office Trump made 4,229 false public statements, an average of 7.6 per day, and his lawyers will definitely keep him away from Mueller because the president would set a world record in committing perjury. And the third is the most intriguing reason: the subpoena for Allen Weisselberg by the Southern District of New York.
From the very beginning of Mueller’s investigation Trump has said that his business practices should be off limits, but testimony by Weisselberg, the CFO of the Trump Organization, will put them front and center. For at least twenty years Trump has made money via shady deals with foreign investors that allowed him to operate money losing properties and pose as a successful businessman, according to reporting by Adam Davidson in the New Yorker. Weisselberg knows everything about those arrangements and will talk.
His testimony contains two risks for Trump: combined with his tax returns, which are undoubtedly already in Mueller’s possession, it may show that the president is not nearly as rich as he pretends to be, but more importantly, it may preclude Trump from continuing to operate the more than 500 businesses of the Trump Organization, and effectively shut it down. That will hurt him more than anything else, because money is the most important thing in Trump’s life.
Yesterday the insanity that rules in Washington, DC reached another climax. Alledgedly under orders from the president the senior leadership of the intelligence community issued a stern warning about Russian meddling in US elections at the White House press briefing, while a totally unhinged Trump at a campaign rally last night called it all a hoax.
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