For months it’s been clear that the Manhattan District Attorney was going to end up bringing criminal charges in his investigation into Donald Trump and the Trump Organization. For weeks it’s been clear, based on various media reports, that the first round of criminal indictments was coming soon. Now the New York Times is reporting today that the first round of indictments is coming as soon as next week. So what does it mean?
The Times says that the initial criminal charges will be not just against Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg individually, but also against the Trump Organization as a company. The Weisselberg indictment is clearly intended to pressure him to flip on the Trump family. The Trump Organization indictment is more intriguing.
You don’t indict an entire company for financial crimes unless you expect to be able to prove that its top officials were all in on the criminal conspiracy. So this indictment will be a de facto indictment of Donald Trump and his kids. It’s easy to interpret this as a precursor to individual criminal indictments against each member of the Trump family who is involved in running the Trump Organization.
So why bring the initial indictment? To get the ball rolling. It’ll send off shockwaves within the Trump family. It’ll force Trump’s kids to at least consider flipping on him. And it’ll prepare the public for what’s coming.
So will anyone beyond Weisselberg be arrested next week? That’s up to prosecutors. Criminally indicting an entire company is rare, so we’ll have to see how this plays out. But we’re clearly heading into uncharted territory – and it’s starting just a few days from now.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report