Throughout his career — as he has built a global real estate and branding empire — Donald Trump has had one guiding principle: keep it private.
He has succeeded in doing this for four decades, through multiple bankruptcies and while borrowing literally billions of dollars. He has never had to disclose his personal or business financial information to the public because he has never offered publicly traded stock or debt for investors to purchase.
Not only that, he has kept his cards very close to the vest when it came to operating his privately held businesses. He never build an organization structure with layers of executives under him.
When news came out last week about Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg we found out just how thin the Trump Organization is in its management structure. After Trump himself the next layer down was Weisselberg, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
This means that other than Weisselberg — who handled all financial transactions — no outsiders were let inside the inner sanctum of Trump World. And even then Donald Sr. himself approved all checks that were cut by the CFO.
But now, according to the Washington Post, “Trump’s wall of secrecy — the work of a lifetime — is starting to crack.” Within a period of just a few days all of the following took place:
- His longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty last week to breaking campaign-finance laws and said he had arranged hush-money payments to two women at Trump’s direction.
- National Enquirer executive David Pecker — who knows almost all of Trump’s scandalous secrets and had helped Trump by burying damaging information before it went public — received immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony in the case.
- Weisselberg also received immunity and is cooperating with prosecutors and is giving testimony in the case about illicit payments that were made by the Trump Organization.
All three of these men know many of Trump’s secrets, and have the credibility to help prosecutors prove in court the details of what actually took place. These three have been part of Trump’s very small inner circle of close advisers and confidants for a long time.
The only thing that could be more devastating for Donald Trump than these three turning against him would be if his own children “flipped” and began helping prosecutors.
As the Post article said, these three men “have long played crucial roles in Trump’s strategy to shield the details of his personal life and business dealings from prying outsiders.”
Trump is being attacked legally on several fronts: Bob Mueller, the Southern District of New York (the group that is prosecuting Cohen) and the New York State Attorney General (who is suing Trump and his children for tax fraud and misuse of Trump Foundation charitable funds).
And let’s not forget Michael Avenatti and Stormy Daniels who are also suing the president in a civil matter. And the emoluments lawsuit against him in Maryland.
These investigations and lawsuits, when combined with the fact that his closest advisers are cooperating and giving evidence against him, mean that the Trump wall of secrecy not only has cracks but is indeed crumbling down around him.
Eventually, if these lawsuits continue, the president will be forced to sit for depositions and testify under oath. This is the day he has been putting off and trying to avoid for a very long time.
As the Post said, “ In coming months, these cases could force Trump’s company to open its books about foreign government customers or compel the president to testify about his relationships with women.”
What Donald Trump is facing is not just a Blue Wave but an actual tsunami of claims, lawsuits and investigations with the potential to break down his wall of secrecy and completely drown him in bad publicity and legal entanglements. This tsunami is what could end up costing Donald Trump his fortune, his reputation — and his political career.