There were numerous clues yesterday that the Trump-related criminal indictments handed down were merely the opening round: the protective order built into the Trump Organization indictment with regard to upcoming discovery. The widespread reports that the criminal probe was far more broad than what made it into the indictment. Michael Cohen’s confirmation as a cooperating witness that he’s seen more than this. New York Attorney General Tish James’ statement confirming that the probe is “ongoing.”
But now we’re getting confirmation that not only is the criminal probe just getting started, it’s focused directly at Donald Trump himself. The New York Times is now reporting that the New York probe is entering a “new phase” which will “focus on Mr. Trump.”
In case that’s not specific enough, the New York Times article goes on to spell out that “In the next phase of the broader investigation into Mr. Trump and his company, the prosecutors are expected to continue scrutinizing whether the Trump Organization manipulated property values to obtain loans and tax benefits, among other potential financial crimes, according to people familiar with the matter.”
So now we have confirmation of what we were already pretty sure was the case. Yesterday’s indictments were merely about starting the process of pressuring Allen Weisselberg to flip, and starting the process of getting the Trump Organization to collapse in on itself. Now we’re getting into the stuff that we were always told this probe was about: Donald Trump himself having committed crimes like mortgage fraud and tax fraud.
And since we now know for sure that New York prosecutors are gearing up to try to criminally indict Donald Trump himself, it’s a fair bet that we’ll see them be as aggressive as possible. Weisselberg doesn’t want to flip? Fine, they’ll arrest his kids. He still doesn’t want to flip? Fine, they’ll offer immunity to Calamari instead. Calamari doesn’t want the deal? They’ll arrest him and his kids. Sooner or later someone will crack.
So this probe is shaping up to be what we were expecting all along. New York prosecutors will keep busting everyone and everything around Donald Trump until it all caves in on him. This was always about criminally indicting him and putting him in prison. All along, the only real question has been how many of his kids are going down with him.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report