The news that the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg has been granted immunity as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s never-ending Russia probe theoretically means there are now no limits to what Mueller can investigate pertaining to President Trump’s life.
Weisselberg was given immunity concerning the investigation into former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen, proving again how one window opens an even bigger window when it comes to special counsel probes.
Weisselberg’s relationship with Trump goes back to the early 1970s, even to the days of his father, Fred Trump.
He was involved in many heavily reported moments of Trump’s business career, from his financial struggles in the early 1990s to his casino dealings and his failed Trump University endeavor. “Allen has been with me for thirty years and knows how to get things done,” Trump wrote in his 2004 book Think Like a Billionaire.
All these matters were brought up during the 2016 presidential campaign in attempts to score political points against Trump and now they are fair game to be aired again by Mueller, thanks to the Weisselberg card.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) warned how untethered the Mueller probe could turn out to be, in an interview with Breitbart News in September 2017:
“[F]rom the very beginning when this special counsel was appointed, there have not been any effective limits to the scope or duration of the investigation.
“We see that in play with some of the leaks that have come out, focusing on things [Paul] Manafort may have done three or four years ago, far before the [2016 presidential] campaign.”
Indeed, the media are currently playing up the guilty verdict against Manafort as a crucial moment in the investigation of Trump.
“To do something on Manafort for things he did in 2013 or ‘14, that is a scalp for the media to hang, but does that really answer the questions that Mueller was put in there for?” DeSantis continued,
“That’s the danger of not having an appointing order that has limits on what they’re looking for.”
Deep Sea Fishing
The Weisselberg play now assures that, for Mueller, the fishing expedition is truly on.
An “individual who is familiar with an aspect of the Mueller inquiry but asked to not be named” told New York magazine in 2017 that the Russia probe was originally different from regular investigations in that prosecutors had no solid allegations of wrongdoing that they could use as a starting point.
“This is a backward investigation,” the individual said:
“You don’t have a crime. You’re searching. And so you’re not really sure exactly what you’re searching for. So you start asking around and you see what comes up. And you start creating a paradigm and you see what else comes up and figure out at some point whether or not there’s a crime.”
And so Manafort and Cohen lead to Weisselberg and Weisselberg leads to every business venture Trump has engaged in for 40+ years.
If Mueller finds some financial transaction that was not filed right, some settlement on some issue in which all the ‘i’s weren’t dotted and the ‘t’s not crossed 100% right, will this be presented as proof of “high crimes and misdemeanors” by Trump and cause for his removal from office?
Most likely not. But it will all serve the continuing interest of Trump opponents to obstruct, block and thwart his attempts to implement his agenda via any form of nuisance and distraction they can come up with.
A fishing expedition over the length and breadth of the president’s colorful business career promises to ensure the Mueller nuisance will never end.