When Tony Schwartz and Tim O’Brien speak about Donald Trump, you best listen. In the mid-’80s, Schwartz spent 18 months voluntarily embedded in Trump’s web of half-truths, lies, and outright howlers. The result was The Art of the Deal, which Schwartz wrote in its entirety and the semi-literate Trump subsequently took full credit for.
In the run-up to the 2016 election, Schwartz tried to warn the nation that Trump is a callow menace with the personal integrity and attention span of a pubic mite.
And he didn’t mince words. In a widely read New Yorker article, he abjectly apologized for his role in putting Trump at the doorstep of the White House:
“I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”
If he were writing “The Art of the Deal” today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, “The Sociopath.”
Having had a front-row seat to the Trump shitshow for a full year and a half, Schwartz knows Trump and his business better than just about anyone outside of Trump’s family. And, simply put, he thinks the recent immunity deal Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg struck with prosecutors will end Trump.
Meanwhile, Trump biographer Tim O’Brien, whom Trump famously sued in 2007 for supposedly understating Trump’s wealth in the book Trump Nation (i.e., for wounding his goofy ego), writes today at Bloomberg.com that Weisselberg’s cooperation deal is “a potentially momentous turn of events for the president.”
Unless you hew to the notion that Trump’s business dealings have all been above board (and that would be a herculean display of hewing, let me tell you), it’s easy to see how Weisselberg’s cooperation will be a sufficient (if not necessary) condition leading to Trump’s eventual downfall.
In other words, this is a focking game-changer:
Weisselberg is deeply familiar with the Trump Organization’s financial housekeeping. Trump — a man who rarely trusts anyone — confided in Weisselberg and relied on him to sign off on details of the company’s most significant deals. Weisselberg oversees the trust that Trump set up to manage his interests in the Trump Organization while he’s in the White House, and also had a prominent position inside the president’s troubled charitable foundation. In short, he was privy to decisions at the Trump Organization that [Michael] Cohen was never allowed to take part in.
That kind of knowledge is gold to federal investigators. Mueller’s team signaled long ago that it might take a closer look at the president’s business dealings as part of its examination of Russia’s assault on the presidential campaign. It’s likely that the probe is exploring whether Trump or others on his business and campaign teams — including members of his family — discussed exchanging policy favors (lifting economic sanctions on Russia, for example, or shifting the U.S. stance on Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine) in exchange for financial or political quid pro quos.
Trump’s intersection with murky funding from overseas sources, including Russia, goes back years (as I’ve detailed before in columns about the Trump SoHo hotel and Trump’s partnership with the Bayrock Group). In a column about Cohen and Weisselberg in April, I noted that Weisselberg was a possible candidate for a subpoena given the fact that Mueller had already subpoenaed the Trump Organization for business records — and given the fact that Weisselberg has had a front row seat in deals involving transactions like the Trump SoHo.
So, yeah, this past week has been an avalanche of shitty news for one Donald John Trump. And the Weisselberg flip may just be the boulder that crushes him.
Yo! Dear F*cking Lunatic: 101 Obscenely Rude Letters to Donald Trump by Aldous J. Pennyfarthing is now available at Amazon! Buy there (or at one of the other fine online retailers carrying it), or be square.