We just learned longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg was granted immunity in the Michael Cohen probe, becoming the latest figure close to President Trump to cooperate with investigators. Weisselberg follows Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, David Pecker and, of course, Cohen. Pecker, like Weisselberg, had immunity; the others got plea deals.
.. But the latest news is potentially even bigger than its predecessors. And that’s because none of these other figures can likely hold a candle to Weisselberg when it comes to knowing about any skeletons in Trump’s closet.
.. Cohen, O’Brien had argued even months before, was a relatively small fish in Trumpworld; Weisselberg, by contrast, has been deeply involved in Trump’s business and finances for decades:
.. Weisselberg . . . has worked for the Trump family since the 1970s, and knows more about the Trump Organization’s history and finances than nearly anyone. Almost 71 years old, he joined the company after graduating from college and worked for the president’s father, Fred, as an accountant. He has since become the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer and one of the president’s closest business confidants (alongside Jason Greenblatt, who was Trump’s in-house legal counsel before the president named him as a special diplomatic envoy to the Middle East).
.. Over the years, Weisselberg’s professional duties also came to include handling Trump’s personal finances as well as the Trump Organization’s corporate finances. He has paid household bills, made large purchases for Trump, and has communicated with Trump’s outside investment advisers. After Trump became president his lawyers created a trust that safeguards his interest in the Trump Organization while ostensibly managing the company without his input. The trust is run by Weisselberg and the president’s two eldest sons, Donald Jr. and Eric.
.. Weisselberg has served as something of a jack-of-all-trades for Trump. He worked for the Trump Organization and the Donald J. Trump Foundation, yes, but he also handled personal stuff — up to and including tax returns, and he apparently consulted with Cohen on how to handle paying for the rights to a story about an alleged Trump affair
.. immunity deals aren’t analogous to plea deals. Sometimes, they are ways to prevent a witness from invoking their Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, by allowing them to avoid liability only for the things they say during testimony — and not necessarily for the underlying crimes. That would mean Weisselberg wouldn’t necessarily be a willing participant in the immunity deal, even as it would require him to speak more openly.