POLITICS

Who Is Allen Weisselberg And Why Does Michael Cohen Keep Bringing Him Up?

Trump’s former lawyer repeatedly mentioned Trump's longtime chief financial officer to the House oversight committee.

Michael Cohen’s explosive testimony Wednesday before the House oversight committee included several mentions of another man lawmakers might want to hear from: Allen Weisselberg.

Weisselberg is the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization. Cohen, the former personal attorney for President Donald Trump, offered up his name in response to several questions.

In August 2018, Weisselberg was granted immunity in federal prosecutors’ investigation of Cohen, who was convicted in November of campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.

On Wednesday, Cohen gave the oversight committee a copy of one of the multiple $35,000 checks he said Weisselberg signed off on “to reimburse me for the hush money payments” to porn actress Stormy Daniels. Cohen said the payment plan was devised in Weisselberg’s office. 

“Are you telling us, Mr. Cohen, that the president directed transactions in conspiracy with Allen Weisselberg and his son Donald Trump Jr. as part of a criminal conspiracy of financial fraud?” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) asked Cohen on Wednesday.

“Yes,” Cohen replied. 

Cohen also told Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) that Weisselberg was one of three witnesses who were aware that Donald Trump inflated his assets for insurance purposes. That statement could provide the groundwork for a potential subpoena of Weisselberg.

Weisselberg likely knows Trump’s finances very well. He has worked at the Trump Organization since the 1970s. He has handled not only the corporate books but Trump’s personal finances, meaning he was the accountant who filed his boss’s tax returns. In addition to the allegations about his activities that Cohen made on Wednesday, Weisselberg signed the checks in a $25 million settlement between Trump’s fake university and former students who accused the school of fraud.

The New Yorker reported last year that Weisselberg had received immunity in exchange for being a cooperating witness. But NBC reported on Wednesday that sources said Trump’s chief financial officer “is not cooperating, has never been a cooperating witness and provided limited details in the course of his testimony with immunity before a federal grand jury last summer.”

After Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the chairman of the oversight committee, told reporters that “we probably will” look to question Weisselberg and Trump Jr. But he cautioned that the committee does not want to overlap its investigation with that of federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

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