Trump's finance chief Allen Weisselberg is granted immunity from prosecution

Posted August 26, 2018

Publishing executive David Pecker granted federal immunity in the Michael Cohen investigation, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Cohen - who arranged hush-money payments shortly before the November 2016 USA presidential election to two women who said they had had sex with Trump in 2006 - on Tuesday pleaded guilty in NY to campaign finance violations and other criminal charges.

According to the report, the Manhattan District Attorney is looking at what role the organization may have had in the arrangement of payments Michael Cohen made to women who claimed to have had sexual relationships with Donald Trump. An assistant said both were out of the office on Friday.

Weisselberg, the 71-year-old Trump Organization CFO, is intimately familiar with Trump's business dealings, having overseen his corporate ledgers through his rise in the NY real estate world and his worldwide dealings in the years before he launched his presidential bid.

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The investigation would seek to determine how the Trump Organization accounted for the reimbursement it paid Cohen, the report said, noting that the company labeled the reimbursement as payment for legal fees. When Mr Trump stepped away from the company after his election victory, he handed control to his two sons and Mr Weisselberg. Mr. Weisselberg has worked for the Trump family for more than four decades, including as treasurer for the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

"Look what happened here with Cohen: They found several million dollars of tax problems with Cohen and they got him to plead to crimes that I don't even think were crimes when it comes to election law", Penn said.

People shop in the President Donald Trump campaign store in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City, New York, U.S., August 24, 2018.

He said in court that Trump directed him to arrange the payments.

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It is the latest fallout from the wider inquiry launched by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017 into suspected collusion between the Trump election campaign and Russian Federation.

Mr Cohen said that the first payment was made in "coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office" and the second payment was made "under direction of the same candidate". The White House has dismissed the suit as politically motivated. "I know of stories of infidelities on the president's part, and also stories on the children, I mean, between the Trumps and the Kushners, they have more skeletons in the closet than the Adam's Family, as the old joke goes".

As the negative news mounted throughout the past week, allies also expressed frustration with the lack of a coordinated pushback effort.

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