We were all told that the first round of Trump Organization indictments would come down sometime this week. Now the Wall Street Journal says they’re coming tomorrow, and that the initial indictments will indeed be against Allen Weisselberg and the Trump Organization. There’s also a hint that more serious charges and indictments may be coming.
Tomorrow will represent the first serious test of Weisselberg’s stated intention not to flip on Trump. It’s not clear if he’ll be perp walked in handcuffs or if he’ll merely be required to report at a certain time, but either way, he’ll be arrested tomorrow. He’ll have to appear in front of a judge. He’ll see just how ugly the indictment language is against him, and how many years he’s looking at serving in prison. And he may get a taste of whether his kids will also end up indicted. So we’ll see what the experience does to his resolve.
Meanwhile a criminal indictment of the Trump Organization would shatter it. Loans would be called in. Business ties would be severed. Assets could be seized by creditors. Trump’s name could quickly start coming off buildings. Trump would lose his ability to keep people like Weisselberg and Matthew Calamari on the payroll, at a time when they’re being pressured to flip on him.
The WSJ article does ridiculously claim that Trump’s lawyer says Trump isn’t expected to be charged. Not only is this non-credible, it’s not even what Trump’s lawyer said; his full length quote in this week’s infamously ill-fated Politico article reveals that he merely said Trump isn’t expected to be charged in this round of indictments.
But here’s the sentence in the WSJ article that may prove the most meaningful: “If prosecutors could show the Trump Organization and its executives systematically avoided paying taxes, they could file more serious charges alleging a scheme, lawyers said.” It doesn’t say which “lawyers” are being referred to, and it merely links back to an earlier WSJ article detailing the various aspects being investigated in the case. But it’s nonetheless notable because it is a hint that tomorrow’s indictments are indeed just the beginning of this probe.
In any case, you don’t criminally indict a company like the Trump Organization, which has a tiny headcount and is mostly run by people named Trump, unless you’ve got evidence that its principals were all in on a criminal conspiracy. This is, rather obviously, a precursor to Donald Trump himself eventually being indicted. But that’ll be down the road. Tomorrow’s indictments are more than enough to get the ball rolling in dismantling Donald Trump’s entire life.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report