What Trump’s enterprise historical past can inform us about his prison indictment : NPR

The prison indictment of Donald Trump is a primary for a U.S. president and a primary for Trump — however his household’s enterprise dealings have raised questions with authorities in New York for many years.


We do not but know the precise expenses filed in opposition to former President Donald Trump in Manhattan, however the half we do know – that his firm went to some lengths to cowl up a hush cash cost – is echoed in different components of Trump’s enterprise historical past. NPR’s Andrea Bernstein wrote about this enterprise historical past in her ebook “American Oligarchs: The Kushners, The Trumps, And The Marriage Of Cash And Energy.” And he or she is with us now. Hello, Andrea.

ANDREA BERNSTEIN: Hey – nice to affix you.

FLORIDO: Let’s begin with the present indictment. What will we find out about what’s in it?

BERNSTEIN: So the indictment has not but been unsealed. And sometimes, this doesn’t occur till a defendant faces a decide. For Trump, it is scheduled for Tuesday at 2:15 p.m. We do know that Trump has been below investigation for falsifying enterprise information, which is an E felony in New York. And particularly, we all know that Trump’s lawyer on the time, Michael Cohen, personally paid a hush cash cost to grownup movie star Stormy Daniels within the closing days of the 2016 marketing campaign. We all know this partly as a result of Cohen himself defined the entire scheme to Congress in 2019, and he had the receipts.


MICHAEL COHEN: I’m offering a replica of a $35,000 test that President Trump personally signed from his private checking account on August 1 of 2017, when he was president of america, pursuant to the cover-up, which was the premise of my responsible plea, to reimburse me – the phrase utilized by Mr. Trump’s TV lawyer – for the unlawful hush cash I paid on his behalf.

BERNSTEIN: There’s extra. Cohen advised Congress and the DA’s workplace that he mentioned the funds with Trump shortly after he was elected president within the White Home.


COHEN: And it is actually awe-inspiring. He is displaying me throughout and pointing to totally different work, and he says to me one thing to the impact of, don’t be concerned, Michael. Your January and February reimbursement checks are coming. They had been FedExed from New York. And it takes some time for that to get via the White Home system.

FLORIDO: Andrea, so these January and February checks had been to pay Cohen again for the hush cash. That’s the alleged falsification of enterprise information right here.

BERNSTEIN: Appropriate. And that is allegedly a sample for Donald Trump. His firm was simply convicted final December in New York for a number of counts of felony fraud, for mendacity to tax authorities. Or take one other case – in New York, a $250 million civil case introduced by the lawyer normal, Letitia James, that’s set to go to trial within the fall of 2023. She has offered proof that Trump and his household over the course of years saved mendacity concerning the worth of their belongings. Like, when Trump wished to get a mortgage, he allegedly boasted that his triplex in Trump Tower was 3 times as huge because it was, value a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} extra. After which when he needed to pay taxes, he would undervalue his properties to pay much less, based on the AG.

FLORIDO: So this is not new for Trump’s firm, then, is it?

BERNSTEIN: Nope. And it goes all the best way again to Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump, who – within the Nineteen Fifties, Fred was subpoenaed by the Senate Banking Committee to speak about enterprise information he saved when he wished to get federal loans. For instance, when it got here to a parcel of land by the seaside in Brooklyn, Fred Trump advised tax authorities it was value $180,000. However when he wished to get a federal mortgage, he stated it was value virtually 10 occasions that quantity. A decade later, Fred Trump was investigated for one thing comparable. It was referred to the Brooklyn DA, however it went nowhere. And as one investigator acknowledged on the time, these individuals are untouchable.

FLORIDO: Properly, like his father, Donald Trump has remained untouchable till now regardless of many investigations. How has he managed to tug that off?

BERNSTEIN: So generally it has been a appeal offensive. Generally it is meant cozying as much as prosecutors and judges, and generally it is meant bullying. So, for instance, within the early Seventies, Donald Trump was investigated by federal prosecutors for his function in a land deal. And he charmed the FBI brokers who had been investigating it by inviting them all the way down to his workplace, the place his then-wife Ivana and toddler son Don Jr. had been taking part in. The Trump enterprise was investigated by the U.S. Division of Justice for racial discrimination within the early Seventies, and Donald Trump, on the directions of his lawyer Roy Cohn, advised them to go to hell. That case was settled with none act of contrition. Additionally, over time, Trump has been very beneficiant to prosecutors. He gave them marketing campaign contributions. He took them to lunch. He donated to their favourite charities. He invited them to their – his daughter’s marriage ceremony. And for 5 many years as a New York and New Jersey businessman, he was by no means charged with against the law till now.

FLORIDO: So let’s speak about that. How has it lastly caught up with him?

BERNSTEIN: So it won’t have had he not stopped paying Michael Cohen’s attorneys again in 2018 and began calling him a, quote, “rat.” Cohen, as we simply heard, simply pleaded responsible or pleaded responsible in 2018. And he stated at his sentencing that he was dedicated to, quote, “guaranteeing that historical past is not going to keep in mind me because the villain on this story.” Donald Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and, after all, he’s harmless till confirmed responsible.

FLORIDO: What are you anticipating subsequent, Andrea?

BERNSTEIN: So subsequent week there will likely be an unprecedented arraignment in Manhattan. We’re taking a look at Donald Trump coming in, getting fingerprinted, strolling down an extended hallway within the New York Metropolis Felony Courts constructing, which actually has seen higher years – it’s a far cry from Trump Tower – after which showing earlier than a decide to listen to the costs learn and to enter his plea. After that, he’s anticipated to – if previous is prologue, to – his attorneys will likely be interesting this as a lot as they’ll. They’ve already stated very clearly they suppose it is a weak case with out actually even seeing what the case is. However we count on them to enchantment. We count on them to attempt to delay if previous is prologue. Congress has gotten concerned and says it would examine this. And there is a marketing campaign coming as much as match all of this into.

FLORIDO: Thanks a lot. NPR’s Andrea Bernstein.


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