Allan Smith, Senior Politics Reporter for Business Insider
- Several investigations taking place in New York are quickly becoming what experts describe as the biggest threat to President Donald Trump.
- The US attorney for the Southern District of New York, the New York attorney general, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office are all either investigating Trump, his businesses, or his business associates, or are contemplating such investigations.
- So far, local, state, and federal officials in New York are looking into hush payments that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former longtime lawyer, made on Trump’s behalf; how the Trump Organization was involved in those payments; the operations of the Donald J. Trump Foundation; and whether Trump’s business practices in New York violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
It’s quickly becoming clear to experts that the multiple investigations going on in New York are the greatest threat to President Donald Trump.
Late last month, in a courtroom in lower Manhattan, Trump’s former longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, cut a deal with federal prosecutors and pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion, one count of making a false statement to a financial institution, and two counts related to campaign-finance violations.
The latter two charges were in connection to payments to the former Playboy model Karen McDougal and the adult-film actor Stormy Daniels to silence their allegations of affairs with Trump. And Cohen said under oath that Trump directed him to make the payments in order to boost his candidacy, making the president what experts called an“unindicted co-conspirator.”
Soon after Cohen pleaded guilty, reports emerged that the Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and the National Enquirer boss David Pecker — two men with intimate knowledge of the hush payments — were given immunity by federal prosecutors investigating Cohen.
It’s not clear exactly how much the immunity deals cover, or what prosecutors in the Southern District of New York plan to do regarding the payments moving forward. News reports suggested that the information Weisselberg provided was limited to the Cohen investigation and not connected to broader scrutiny of the president’s or his business’ finances.
But other New York investigative bodies are taking aim at the president and his business — or considering doing so.