New York prosecutors appear to be “aggressively” pursuing their tax fraud-related investigation of the Trump Organization, which led in criminal charges being filed against the former president’s company and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, in July.
The Trump Organization’s lawyers and Weisselberg are set to appear in court Monday for the first time since they were arraigned three months ago, on charges that they participated in a 15-year scheme to defraud taxpayers by paying company executives with untaxed benefits.
NPR reported Monday that there are “plenty of signs” that New York State Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. are “aggessively working the case, including an unannounced court appearance in August by attorneys for both Weisselberg and the Trump Organization.”
“The fact that they are having sealed proceedings is consistent with an ongoing grand jury investigation and suggests the district attorney may be considering further charges or defendants,” said Adam Kaufmann, a former investigations division chief at the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the New York investigation has recently focused on Matthew Calamari, Trump’s one-time bodyguard who later became the Trump Organization’s chief operating officer.
“Mr. Calamari and his son, Matthew Calamari Jr., have lived in Trump Organization apartments, and the elder Mr. Calamari has driven a company car. Earlier this month, the younger Mr. Calamari testified before a grand jury that continues to investigate Mr. Trump’s business affairs, according to people familiar with the matter,” the newspaper reported, adding that Jeff McConney, a senior finance executive who prepared the elder Calamari’s tax returns, also recently testified to the grand jury.
One major question hanging over the investigation is whether Weisselberg will turn on the company and his former boss, reaching a deal with prosecutors to testify against them. Bloomberg News reported Friday that it’s unlikely Weisselberg will “flip” because he’s not facing a lengthy prison sentence if convicted.
“Allen Weisselberg has made the calculation that he can escape, or if he gets a jail sentence, he can get through it,” said New York defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor Adam Frisch, who is not involved in the case.
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Trump DOJ Investigation Statement Contains Two Key Revelations: Former FBI Official
Former FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok explained two key revelations in an exclusive CNN interview with Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
“Major news this morning in a story that CNN broke overnight,” CNN’s John Berman reported. “For the first time, the Department of Justice is publicly acknowledging that it is looking into a specific aspect of the plot from high-level Donald Trump allies to overturn the 2020 election.”
“We learned that federal prosecutors are reviewing the fake electoral college certifications from 2020 that falsely declared former President Trump the winner of seven states, states that he lost,” he explained.
“The fake electoral certifications were signed by Trump allies, who falsely claimed to be the rightful electors in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, and Wisconsin.”
For analysis, Berman and co-host Brianna Keilar interviewed Strzok.
Berman noted Monacco’s “carefully chosen words.”
“How do you read it?” Berman asked.
“Well, absolutely. You know, in my experience, any time the Department of Justice or FBI makes a comment on an ongoing investigation, particularly at a high level, those words are very carefully chosen and they’re very closely scrutinized,” Strzok replied. “Certainly, when you hear them coming from the deputy attorney general herself, I have no doubt that the intention and the plan to do that was probably — went up to the attorney general and certainly the office of the attorney general.”
“And it’s important when you’re looking at a statement like that to read it very carefully and there are two things I see in there.” he explained. “One, prosecutors are looking at it. What that means to me is they are examining the allegations, they’re looking at federal law, they’re seeing what the elements of the particular crimes that might be involved are and are looking where the evidence falls and doesn’t fall.”
“And the second thing, the last point is she says she can’t comment anymore on ongoing investigations. That means exactly what it says, that means right now there are investigations — plural — that are open and ongoing within the Department of Justice about this matter,” he explained. “So that’s a very significant event and to me it indicates just how high the level of investigation is now going within DOJ.”
Psaki Rips Doocy Apart Over Crime Claim: ‘I Think We Should Be Responsible in Reporting to the Public’
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has clearly grown tired of Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy, even growing apparently angry after delivering an exceptionally long and detailed response to his claim President Joe Biden isn’t doing enough to “keep Americans safe.”
After he asked, “would you agree that the most important job for any president is to keep Americans safe?” Doocy got slammed with facts.
Crime has existed in America since before America was America, but Doocy suggested in his first year President Biden should have somehow eliminated crime.
“If the President’s never satisfied if people don’t feel safe,” Doocy began, “does he know that after a year in office, people do not feel safe in this country?”
(Fox News has turned crime into a hot business, bragging about its “up-to-the-second crime coverage.”)
“Well, Peter, I think if we look at the facts here, we’ve seen a surge of crime over the last two years. Would you agree with that?” Psaki replied.
“So what are you attributing the rise in crime to that?” Doocy said to a very prepared Psaki, who, in a rare move, accused him of not being “responsible” in his reporting.
“Well, I think we should be responsible in how reporting to the public what the, what the, what the roles are, what the reasons for the surge in crime,” she began.
“Gun violence is a huge reason for the surge in crime. Underfunding of some police and police departments and their need for additional resources, something the President has advocated for consistently through the course of his career. That’s something we know we need to take action on. And it is absolutely true that he will not be satisfied or complacent when officers are being gunned down or when Americans have to worry about whether they can safely ride the subway or bus,” Psaki continued, growing more and more angered. “That should not be a political issue. He’s somebody who has had a long career many decades of fighting for funding for police departments for local communities in order to reduce crime.”
Doocy was undeterred.
“He’s been here in office for more than a year, and the murder rate is nearing a 25-year high. So why don’t we see and hear more from the President about this? We hear all the time about things that you guys are doing to fight the pandemic. Because that is a risk to American people. A rising murder rate is a risk to American people too.”
“And he has spoken to crime, but I think what people are most focused on as they should be or what actions he has taken. He has unveiled a strategy to focus federal law enforcement resources on combating violent crime, offered unprecedented levels of funding through the rescue plan for cities and states to put more cops on the beat and invest in proven community anti-violence programs, something every Republican voted against.”
“The Department of Justice has announced $139 million in grants to cities for community policing, which will put 1000 more officers on the streets. He’s also proposed doubling those grants, and he’s called for an additional $750 million for federal law enforcement. He’s announced a zero-tolerance policy for gun dealers who sell, willfully sell, illegal guns and we’ve launched gun trafficking strike forces in New York and cities across the country. Actions are important here and he has a long record of them.”
“Does the President think that any of that is working?” Doocy dared to ask.
“The president thinks you should have a plan to address crime and gun violence. He has one, and we look forward to working with people who support that effort.”
Jen Psaki: “Well, Peter, I think if we look at the facts here, we’ve seen a surge in crime over the past two years. Would you agree with that? I think we should be responsible in how we’re reporting to the public what the reasons are for the surge in crime.” pic.twitter.com/vPgz5bl6FH
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 24, 2022
Trumps Could ‘Turn on One Another’ as Investigations ‘Go Up the Food Chain’: MSNBC Analyst
Former president Donald Trump and his family are facing “existential” threats from ongoing criminal investigations in New York and Georgia, according to MSNBC political analyst and Trump biographer Tim O’Brien.
“I think you’re going to start to see this vice squeeze in,” O’Brien said Saturday. “The Trumps will happily throw underlings under the bus as this gets hotter. I think the question is whether or not the family members will turn on one another as it goes up the food chain.”
“The Manhattan DA’s case has existential consequences to it,” O’Brien added. “Donald Trump and perhaps his children could end up in orange jumpsuits if that case goes the full route. That’s not going to be the case with (New York AG) Letitia James’ prosecution, that’s a civil case. I also think the Georgia case has an existential threat. Donald Trump acting like a 19th-century ward heeler, called up the secretary of state and said find me some votes, and there’s proof of that, there’s evidence.”
Watch the full interview below.
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