Investigations into President Trump’s Personal Dealings
If you have followed American politics at all over the last 3-4 years, you are surely familiar with the name Michael Cohen. Cohen, of course, served as the personal attorney of President Donald Trump for about a decade before the 2 endured a very public and very bitter falling-out in recent months.
Last spring, Cohen’s office was raided by the FBI, who seized a number of documents and other things pertaining to the attorney’s relationship with the current president. Following a lengthy investigation, Cohen was subsequently charged with a number of crimes last fall, including making false statements to Congress. Cohen quickly pleaded guilty to the crimes, which was a sign that he had entered a plea deal with investigators.
Cohen was eventually sentenced to about 3 years in prison for his actions. He will report to jail in May. Cohen appeared publicly at a hearing in front of the House Oversight Committee in late-February in what turned out to be an explosive hearing. Cohen testified against his former boss and named a number of others that have allegedly been involved in some nefarious activities with the 45th president.
2 names that came up fairly frequently during Cohen’s lengthy testimony were Allen Weisselberg and David Pecker. Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, testified in front of a grand jury in the Cohen investigation last summer. Weisselberg is often described as being the one man that knows “where all of the financial bodies are buried” when it comes to Trump and his business.
Pecker, a longtime ally of Trump’s, is the CEO of American Media, which runs, among other things, the National Enquirer. The National Enquirer has been accused of a number of things, including buying and covering up stories that could prove to be potentially harmful to the president. This practice, which Cohen called “catch and kill,” was one of the attorney’s primary duties when he worked for Trump.
Since Cohen appeared in front of the House committee, there have been rumors that the House may look to call both men to testify themselves. No formal plans have been made, but the House has pledged a deep dive into the president’s dealins as a part of their broad investigation into his history. Could Weisselberg and Pecker testify?
Some of the best betting sites in the United States have been offering odds on the Trump presidency throughout his stint in the White House. MyBookie is no exception. MyBookie has new betting odds posted regarding the investigations into the president’s personal dealings. Let’s dive right in.
Will Allen Weisselberg Testify in Front of Congress?
- Yes -400
- No +250
Unlike the man whose name is on everything, Allen Weisselberg is described by those that know him as a modest man that isn’t seeking the spotlight. Weisselberg has worked for the Trump Organization for decades, and he has been in charge of the company’s finances throughout his lengthy tenure. Weisselberg’s job dictates that he knows everything about all of the money that has gone in and out of the company.
Considering Trump has been publicly vague about his personal finances for years, the prospect of Weisselberg testifying publicly under oath must be at least a little chilling to the president. If anybody knows about whatever financial secrets Trump has tried to keep hidden, it’s Weisselberg.
Weisselberg’s name was mentioned upwards of 20 times by Cohen in his aforementioned testimony, which raised plenty of eyebrows. The 71-year-old Long Island native was granted limited immunity by prosecutors last summer during the investigation into whether campaign finance laws were broken when Cohen helped broker a couple of hush money payments between Trump and a couple of his alleged mistresses. Prosecutors have not said whether Weisselberg is under investigation himself, but at this point we have no reason to believe he is.
A day after Cohen’s testimony, NBC News reported that the House Intelligence Committee plans to call Weisselberg in to answer some questions.
The committee has not formally requested an interview with Weisselberg as of yet, but the odds seem to reflect the likelihood that this happens. If the House investigators are serious about digging into Trump’s financial background, what better place to start than with the Trump Org’s longtime CFO?
Will David Pecker Testify in Front of Congress?
- Yes +250
- No -400
While Weisselberg seems like a strong bet to appear before Congress sooner than later, the odds are flipped when it comes to David Pecker.
Pecker was another person that was questioned by investigators from the Southern District of New York in connection with the hush money case last fall. In August of 2015, Trump reportedly sought Pecker out in order to see what his friend could do in order to help his then-fledgling presidential campaign. Pecker reportedly offered to purchase potentially negative stories about the presidential hopeful and pay off those that could otherwise take those stories to the public.
Like Weisselberg, Pecker was reportedly given limited immunity by prosecutors when they were seeking information about Cohen and Trump. Cohen didn’t cite Pecker as often as he did mention Weisselberg during his lengthy testimony, but Pecker’s name did pop up here and there.
There is obviously a strong chance Pecker knows plenty more about Trump and his personal finances, especially considering how long the 2 have known one another. Trump and Pecker have been associates since the 1990s. While Pecker certainly doesn’t have as much longstanding knowledge as Weisselberg may, his information could still be of use if congressional investigators think he can help.
The betting favorite here is “no” pretty heavily at -400. While I lean toward Pecker not being called in to testify, investigators are reportedly planning to leave no stone unturned.
Will Congress Obtain President Trump’s Tax Returns?
- Yes +300
- No -500
One major source of controversy – one of many, that is – during Trump’s initial presidential campaign was his decision to not release his tax returns to the public. Presidential candidates are not required under law to do so, but it has been a generally common practice for candidates dating back decades. Trump initially claimed that he was under audit back in 2016 and that he would release his returns whenever the audit ended. Most viewed that as a likely lie. The IRS never said Trump was under audit at any time, and we still have no tax information regarding the president more than 2 years into his tenure in the White House.
By not releasing his tax returns, Trump became the first major party presidential candidate in 40 years to decline to do so.
Trump initially claimed that “only reporters care” about his tax returns, but his refusal to release them made many wonder what he is trying to hide by keeping them under wraps. Is he not as rich as he claims? Is there foreign money involved that he would prefer to keep a secret? What else could be in there that he doesn’t want to get out? Trump tweeted back on May 11, 2016, that he would release his returns after the “audit” was completed:
In interview I told @AP that my taxes are under routine audit and I would release my tax returns when audit is complete, not after election!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 11, 2016
Congress had a Republican majority through Trump’s first 2 years in office, but the Democrats reclaimed control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms. The Democrats’ reclamation has already proven to be something of a headache for Trump, as they have pledged to conduct oversight on the administration after his Republican allies did not while they held the majority.
One thing Democrats have the power to do is to subpoena the tax returns of the president if they so choose. The House Ways and Means Committee can seek the returns by sending a written formal request to the Treasury Secretary. The Treasury Secretary, not the White House, ultimately has the decision of whether to comply. Of course, Trump could always apply internal pressure on the secretary to try to get him to refuse such an overture.
Time will tell what happens here. There has been a lot of noise from House Democrats about their ability to access the president’s tax returns, and I think they will eventually succeed in their efforts.
Will Donald Trump Run for Re-Election in 2020?
- Yes -800
- No -500
We know Donald Trump plans to run for re-election in 2020. In fact, his 2020 campaign essentially started immediately after he won the 2016 election. Brad Parscale, who began working for the Trump Organization in 2011, was hired to be Trump’s 2020 campaign manager on February 27 of last year. Obviously, Trump has been planning on serving for 2 terms the entire time.
“Yes” is the easy bet here, but the prop is questioning whether Trump will be removed from office during his current term, which could prevent him from running in ‘20. If Trump gets impeached and subsequently removed from office by the Senate, that would obviously hurt his chances of running again quite a bit. Of course, that’s not likely to happen with Republicans still owning a majority in the Senate, even if the House votes in favor of impeachment.
The Mueller report is expected to be released sometime soon, but at this point we have no reason to believe anything in the report will be damning enough to where Trump will be forced to resign. Even if there was, would Trump ever resign on his own volition? Seems doubtful.
There’s no need to dive into what-ifs here. Trump will run officially once again in 2020.