n late 2016, I had lunch with a former high-ranking Trump Organization executive, a person who said he was happy to share dirt on his old boss, but who confessed to not having much dirt to share. This executive wrote a list of people whom I might contact to find out about anything potentially illegal or unethical that Donald Trump may have done. At the bottom of the list was the name Weisselberg. “Allen is the one guy who knows everything,” the person told me. “He’ll never talk to you.” I have had nearly identical conversations with different people who work or have worked for the Trump Organization many times since. They all described his role similarly: Allen Weisselberg, the firm’s longtime chief financial officer, is the center, the person in the company who knows more than anyone.
.. It is safe to say that the entire world of Trump watchers—those journalists, political folks, and advocates who carefully monitor every bit of Trump news—went bonkers. Weisselberg is the man to whom those people most want to speak. He is also the man who has, for decades, been the most circumspect.
.. “I’ve spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up,” Cohen explains to Trump.
It is difficult to hear the tape and not wonder how Weisselberg developed this particular expertise and whether he had deployed it before.
More importantly, it offers more justification for Robert Mueller and other federal, state, and local prosecutors to investigate the Trump Organization’s general business practices.
.. Weisselberg’s son Barry works at the Trump-run Wollman Skating Rink, in Central Park; his other son, Jack, works at Ladder Capital, which has been a primary lender to the Trump Organization in recent years, when few other lenders would work with a company that had experienced several bankruptcies.
.. Last month, the New York State Attorney General, Barbara Underwood, sued the Trump Foundation. Weisselberg had been deposed and showed a surprising willingness to give answers that put the President in an unflattering light.
.. In January, 2016, during Trump’s Presidential campaign, his foundation made a series of donations to veterans-advocacy organizations in Iowa that were explicitly designed to gain support for his candidacy.
.. Were Weisselberg eager to protect his longtime boss, he could have answered the questions far more narrowly. It was an early hint that Weisselberg, like Cohen, may not jeopardize his own freedom to defend Trump.
- .. There is, for example, a question about where Trump got more than two hundred million dollars in cash to buy and lavishly upgrade a money-losing golf course in Scotland.
- In a deal in Azerbaijan, Trump knowingly did business with a family that is widely suspected of laundering money for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
- The F.B.I. has reportedly investigated the source of funds for a Trump-branded property in Vancouver, Canada; while the Trump hotel in Toronto also has suspicious funding.
- Many of the key questions about Donald Trump revolve around his funding sources and his business partners: Did he knowingly receive funds from criminals? Did he launder money for criminals?
- Did he receive remuneration to look the other way when his partners broke the law?
- Was much of his business built around selling his famous name to make illegitimate projects seem viable?
Was much of his business built around selling his famous name to make illegitimate projects seem viable?
.. Weisselberg is a big fish—perhaps the biggest fish of all. Fearing that Weisselberg might implicate them in a crime, any cronies, dealmakers, attorneys, and others who might want to exchange information for leniency from prosecutors, will now do so.
.. With Cohen and, now, Weisselberg providing information, it is becoming increasingly certain that the American people will—sooner or later—have a far fuller understanding of how Donald Trump conducted business. That is unlikely to go well for him.
1973was the year that saw the end of US involvement in the Vietnam War, the year that English rock band Deep Purple released Smoke on the Water, and the year the US Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade. People were sporting Farrah Fawcett hairstyles and computer technologies were changing the way businesses operated. The corporate sector was driving development of Database Management Systems (DBMS), using them to maintain information about clients, vendors, employees, inventory, supplies, product orders, and service requests. At the same time, in a lab at the University of California at Berkeley, Eugene Wong and Michael Stonebraker were beginning work on INGRES (INteractive GRaphics REtrieval System), one of the world’s first RDBMSs. Initially, the researchers had raised funds to build a geographic database system for Berkeley’s economics group (1). However, inspired by Edgar Codd’s 1970 seminal work on the relational model (2) and by white papers that IBM had just released regarding SystemR — the first implementation of SQL and an experimental database system built on the relational data model (3, 4), the two researchers decided to use the money to seed their relational database project instead (1).
For the ongoing support of the larger INGRES project, the two received funding from the National Science Foundation and three military agencies: the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Army Research Office, and the Navy Electronic Systems Command (1, 5). The context of the military’s interest in the development of such systems, together with the the confluence of the Cold War and the emergence of computer technologies to manage information, likely influenced the system’s concern with access control, protection, security, ownership, and the database “administrator.”
“Trump was strutting up and down, talking to his new members about how they were part of the greatest club in North Carolina,” Dodson says. “And when I first met him, I asked him how he was — you know, this is the journalist in me — I said, ‘What are you using to pay for these courses?’ And he just sort of tossed off that he had access to $100 million.”
“So when I got in the cart with Eric,” Dodson says, “as we were setting off, I said, ‘Eric, who’s funding? I know no banks — because of the recession, the Great Recession — have touched a golf course. You know, no one’s funding any kind of golf construction. It’s dead in the water the last four or five years.’ And this is what he said. He said, ‘Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.’ I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.’
.. None of the big US banks have done business with Trump for going on two decades. DeutscheBank is the only big bank that will touch him. And, of course, they’re not even a US bank. The point is, none of it mattered. The Trump’s had the Russia money. That’s all they needed.
President Trump’s impetuousness and his simplistic view of American interests have again put national security at risk. He has taken sides with Saudi Arabia and four other Sunni states in their attempt to isolate and bully Qatar, the tiny gulf nation that is arguably America’s most important military outpost in the region.
.. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen chose to cut ties to Qatar for a number of reasons .. principally because Qatar has a relatively close relationship with the Sunni states’ greatest rival, Shiite Iran.
.. even if his goal is to isolate Iran, allying with Saudi Arabia to punish Qatar is a self-defeating way to go about it: Qatar is home to the forward headquarters of the United States Central Command and is a major intelligence hub. It hosts Al Udeid Air Base, with more than 11,000 U.S. and coalition forces.
There is no sign that Mr. Trump has actually thought any of this through.
.. It is true that Qatar, like Saudi Arabia, can be a troublesome partner, but Saudi Arabia’s complaint about Qatar and terrorism is hypocritical. Qatar has long been accused of funneling arms and money to radical groups in Syria, Libya and other Arab countries. But so has Saudi Arabia
.. Qatar has a reason to work with Iran: They share a large natural gas field in the Persian Gulf. At the same time, Qatar is helping a Saudi-led coalition fight the Iranian-linked Houthi rebels in Yemen, and backing insurgents fighting an Iranian ally, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.
.. Even the $110 billion weapons package he signed in Riyadh turned out to be fantasy, a collection of letters of interest or intent, not contracts, all begun during the Obama administration
.. Legislation blocking this deal is working its way through Congress. At a minimum, lawmakers should refuse to resupply the Saudis with precision-guided munitions that are killing civilians in Yemen and implicating America in the process. Even better would be to hold up the package until the Saudis enter into serious negotiations on Yemen and resolve their differences with Qatar.
President Donald Trump’s proposed infusion of funding for infrastructure turns on a critical question: how the administration will get private investors to put up most of the money... Mr. Trump’s advisers say they can get private investors to flock to put up the capital for such projects by curtailing permitting requirements and regulations, and by offering incentives to states and cities to turn to the private sector for financing... it plans to encourage cities and towns to raise fees—like roadway tolls or water-usage charges—that will provide the revenue streams for private-equity investors... The municipal bond market remains a more attractive source of funding to many state and local officials needing funding for major projects, Ms. Crebo-Rediker said, and many local governments lack expertise in how to structure public-private partnership deals...finding money for projects isn’t the problem; it is the dearth of attractive investments... Blackstone Group LP last month disclosed that Saudi Arabia has agreed to invest $20 billion in an infrastructure fund that the New York firm hopes will reach $40 billion and have spending power of as much as $100 billion once debt is added... while the administration says it will devote $200 billion more to infrastructure over the coming 10 years, the department is also cutting funding to existing programs that support major projects.
Mr. Trump said in Twitter messages Tuesday that Gulf Arab leaders cited Qatar as a source of funding for extremism during his trip to the region last month, before a diplomatic rupture this week that holds implications for regional cooperation.
He tweeted: “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!”