If you need a break from pics of Donald Trump pouting in court like a 6-year-old boy whose face has somehow been wracked by advanced IBS and gout, we’ve got a heckuva treat for you today. Deposition videos! From some of the big muckety-mucks at the prima facie fraudulent Trump Organization!
Of course, two of them are of Trump’s sons, who got their jobs because Trump needed relatives close by in case his heart suddenly exploded like a watermelon at a Gallagher show and he had to harvest their organs. Another features longtime Trump Organization CFO (and convicted felon) Allen Weisselberg. And another is of Trump himself.
They were just released by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office, and they paint quite a picture. With fingerpaints, mostly, but still. So let’s don our schadenfreude shades and dive in, shall we?
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First, an example of Trump engaging in the only exercise he regularly participates in, aside from uncoupling his Underoos from his unctuous arse at Augusta: throwing longtime associates and confidants under the bus.
INTERVIEWER: “To meet your obligation here, presenting information in accounting in accordance with GAAP, was Allen Weisselberg responsible for that?”
TRUMP: “I would say yes.”
Of course, as we all know, Donald Trump doesn’t take responsibility at all. It’s a core tenet of his febrile pseudo-reality that anything untoward that happens anywhere in his orbit is always someone else’s fault. So this clip on its own would be hilarious, but what we’re shown next makes it doubly so.
INTERVIEWER: “If I said the phrase GAAP, G-A-A-P, are you familiar with that acronym?”
WEISSELBERG: “I’ve heard of that, yes.”
INTERVIEWER: “Tell me everything you know about GAAP. What is GAAP?”
WEISSELBERG: “Generally accepted accounting principles. I don’t know what’s in GAAP. I never took the CPA exam. I never studied for it. So I don’t know all the various components of what GAAP is.”
INTERVIEWER: “Are there any components you know about what GAAP is?”
WEISSELBERG: “Not really, no.”
Of course, while GAAP is certainly not common street knowledge, it’s hardly an esoteric concept to experienced businesspeople. Or shouldn’t be, anyway.
So while these two video clips are gobsmackingly funny in and of themselves, they also appear to complicate Trump’s “defense.” Insider:
It was Weisselberg who made sure properties were valued according to GAAP, [Trump] said.
Moments earlier, Kevin C. Wallace, the attorney general's office lawyer presenting the opening statement, had shown a different deposition video of Weisselberg. Another lawyer from the attorney general's office asked whether he was familiar with GAAP.
"I never took the CPA exam, never studied for it," Weisselberg said, explaining he wasn't familiar with GAAP. "So I don't know all the components for it."
The juxtaposition got to the heart of New York Attorney General Letitia James' lawsuit against Trump, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Weisselberg, and their fellow executive Jeff McConney. The attorney general's lawsuit says someone is lying about how the financial statements were prepared, and that proves the defendants were acting with an intent to defraud.
So this is yet another hint that the Trump Organization was operating fraudulently. Of course, those two videos—along with the ones to follow—also suggest that the business was essentially rudderless.
Exhibit A: Failson number one.
INTERVIEWER: “Do you have any familiarity with an acronym GAAP, G-A-A-P?”
DON JR.: “Generally accepted accounting principles, yes.”
INTERVIEWER: “How did you become familiar with that acronym?”
DON JR.: “Probably in accounting 101 at Wharton.”
INTERVIEWER: “Okay. What did they teach you about generally accepted accounting principles in Wharton?”
DON JR.: “Well, I’m not an accountant, but that they are generally accepted.”
INTERVIEWER: [Laughs] “Anything else?”
DON JR.: [Laughs] “That’s pretty much what I remember from accounting 101.”
INTERVIEWER: “Have you told me everything you know about that?”
DON JR.: “Basically. I’m sure I could come up with some creative stuff to kill time, but I’d be doing neither of us a favor in terms of educating ourselves.”
Well, at least he has a sense of humor about his pig ignorance of basic business practices.
And now Failson Number Two!
ERIC TRUMP: “I don’t remember a video conference in 2021 talking about the statement of financial condition. Maybe you can show me something, but again, I don’t think I ever signed a statement of financial condition. I don’t—you know, I’ve done a lot to try and jog my memory and I simply can’t because I don’t think I’ve ever had any involvement with a statement of financial condition, to the best of my knowledge.”
🎶 Real Men of Genius! 🎶
Eric doesn’t remember! Leave him alone already! Can’t you just accept that no one was keeping track of the company’s books? The only spreadsheet Trump’s familiar with is the plastic tarp they put over his bed when he’s fixing to skeletonize rotisserie chickens during Hitler Week on The History Channel. (That’s a joke, of course. After all, it’s always Hitler Week on The History Channel.)
Meanwhile, Michael Cohen, the man who got this Trumpian legal nightmare rolling—with an assist from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—was deposed as well. I have to say, he behaves and sounds a lot less like Barney Rubble now that he’s on our side. Or maybe that’s just my imagination.
And lest we forget, Don Jr. didn’t just neglect to learn about GAAP at Wharton Business School. He failed to conquer basic arithmetic, too, as this infamous Howard Stern clip shows.
Ah, the callow ignorance of youth. And middle age. And old age, for that matter.
The rest of this trial should be a real hoot, whether we’re treated to more nepo baby blather or not. Stay tuned!
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Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.