The Slatest

The Trump Organization’s CFO Got Immunity From Prosecutors, but Hold Your Horses on Calling It a Game-Changing Flip

Weisselberg, a shorter bald man with a mustache, stands next to Trump while Trump gestures.
Allen Weisselberg and Donald Trump on The Apprentice.
Laurence L. Levin/NBC

First, the news: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg was granted immunity by federal prosecutors in New York in exchange for testifying about his knowledge of the illegal off-books payments that Michael Cohen made during the 2016 campaign to women alleging they’d had affairs with Trump.

Second, the freakout:

Third, the caveats. While O’Brien, Haberman, and Davidson are all veteran journalists who know a lot about Trump, and Weisselberg is someone who would have knowledge of whatever dirty Russian money or tax-evasion shenanigans POTUS/his company might have been involved in, we don’t yet have any evidence that prosecutors anywhere have asked him about those things. The Journal’s story says only that Weisselberg testified to a grand jury in New York about Cohen’s involvement in payments to two women, and that the newspaper “couldn’t determine whether Mr. Weisselberg told prosecutors that Mr. Trump had knowledge of the payments.” (Cohen said in court that Trump directed the payments and has previously released an audio tape that appears to support this claim.) So it’s not that we don’t know whether Weisselberg is giving up All The Goods on Trump’s financial history—we don’t even know if he testified against Trump in a limited campaign-finance case that, because Cohen pleaded guilty this week, is already closed. (The New York case, moreover, was handled by local U.S. attorneys and not by Robert Mueller’s special counsel team.)

That all said, there’s a caveat to the caveats, which is that if Weisselberg did “flip” and incriminate Trump, even in this limited case, the president is going to be so angry about it that it might be worth Weisselberg’s while to go full informant on everything. Mueller’s team might also be pursuing further charges regarding Trump’s business ties to Russians. But those are things that might happen, not outcomes that are an inevitable step on the way to impeachment and #Resistance triumph. Let’s not go overboard!