WSJ: Top Trump Org. official subpoenaed

Allen Weisselberg, a top Trump Organization official and the company's longtime chief financial officer, has been subpoenaed to testify as part of the ongoing criminal investigation into President Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the investigation. CNN's Brynn Gingras reports.

Posted: Jul 27, 2018 3:09 PM
Updated: Jul 27, 2018 3:39 PM

Allen Weisselberg, a top Trump Organization official and the company's longtime chief financial officer, has been subpoenaed to testify as part of the ongoing criminal investigation into President Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the investigation.

The Journal reported that it is unclear whether Weisselberg has gone before a grand jury, when the subpoena was issued and what exactly prosecutors want to ask him, but that he is considered to be a witness in the probe.

Weisselberg and a representative for the Trump Organization did not respond to the Journal's requests for comment. A spokesperson for the US attorney's office in Manhattan, which is investigating Cohen, declined to comment to the newspaper.

The news follows CNN's publication of a recording from September 2016 of a conversation between Cohen and Trump discussing how they would buy the rights to a Playboy model's story about an alleged affair with Trump. During the conversation, Cohen can be heard mentioning Weisselberg by name, saying at one point, "I've spoken with Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up."

A former Trump Organization employee told CNN that Weisselberg being subpoenaed as part of the Cohen probe is the "ultimate nightmare scenario for Trump" because Weisselberg knows "anything and everything" about the finances of the Trump Organization.

"Allen knows where all the financial bodies are buried. Allen knows every deal, he knows every dealership, he knows every sale, anything and everything that's been done -- he knows every membership. Anything you can think of," said the person, who was not making any specific allegations about the Trump Organization's finances.

The person described Weisselberg as overseeing every dollar that went in and out of the Trump Organization -- and as the individual who personally gave Trump updates on these matters.

A potential slippery slope for Trump, this person said, is that his personal finances were so closely tied to the Trump Organization's finances -- "Donald Trump is the Trump Organization."

A source close to the Trump Organization described Weisselberg to CNN as the number two in command at the Trump Organization. "There wasn't a big deal that didn't get approved without Allen," the source said.

According to the source, Weisselberg probably knows the most about the business, aside from President Trump's children. Weisselberg, the source added, was one of the few executives at the organization who knew what everyone was working on.

Weisselberg is the only non-family member to serve as trustee of the trust that holds the President's interest in his own companies. The trust was set up to distance the President from his business and address concerns about conflicts of interests. As a result, he was privy to sensitive information, the source said.

He was involved in most financings, especially complex deals, according to the same source, who also points out that Trump Organization employees would routinely seek advice from Weisselberg.

The President lashed out at Cohen after the release of the recording, saying on Twitter, "what kind of a lawyer would tape a client?"

Key parts of what exactly can be heard in the recording have been disputed. Trump has denied having an affair with Karen McDougal, the former Playboy model.

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