Who invited Borat to a shiva house? Oh, we make joke! For serious, though, the latest Jane Mayer New Yorker piece on the former president's potential legal problems contains the Trumpiest of all Trump anecdotes. Here's how Jennifer Weisselberg, onetime daughter-in-law of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, described her introduction to the family.

Jennifer told me that she first met Trump before she was married, at Allen Weisselberg's modest house, in Wantagh, on Long Island. That day, the Weisselberg family was sitting shivah, for Allen's mother. Trump showed up in a limousine and blurted out, "This is where my C.F.O. lives? It's embarrassing!" Then, Jennifer recalled, Trump showed various shivah attendees photographs of naked women with him on a yacht. "After that, he starts hitting on me," she said. Jennifer claimed that Allen Weisselberg, instead of being offended on her behalf, humored his boss: "He didn't stand up for me!" Asked about this, Weisselberg's lawyer, Mary Mulligan, said, "No comment."

Niiiiiiiiiiiiice.


In 2018 Jennifer Weisselberg divorced Allen's son Barry, who also worked for the Trump family. She only recently began speaking publicly about what it was like to be married into a family of Trump retainers.

"Only a small part of your salary is reported," she told Mayer. "They pay you with apartments and other stuff, as a control tactic, so you can't leave. They own you! You have to do whatever corrupt crap they ask."

As previously reported by Bloomberg, Barry and Jennifer were given "free" rent on a Trump-owned apartment worth more than $30,000 per year as a gift. Failing to report the gift as taxable income might well have violated tax laws, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has reportedly spoken to her as part of his wide-ranging Trump investigation.

There's been widespread speculation that the key to bringing Trump down is to get Allen Weisselberg to flip, because only he knows where all the bodies are buried in Trumpland. And he already testified against his boss twice — once to Robert Mueller about the Stormy Daniels payoff, and once to the New York Attorney General about the Trump foundation fuckery. But Jennifer Weisselberg says the CFO's feelings for Trump might supersede his own instinct for self-preservation.

Jennifer described her former father-in-law as being in Trump's thrall: "His whole worth is 'Does Donald like me today?' It's his whole life, his core being. He's obsessed. He has more feelings and adoration for Donald than for his wife." Asked if Allen Weisselberg would flip under pressure, she said, "I don't know. For Donald, it's a business. But for Allen it's a love affair."

So touching!

Michael Cohen, who has also been chatting up Cy Vance, says threats to Weisselberg's sons Barry and Jack might be an effective pressure point, though. And both sons are in the wider Trump picture, with Barry working directly for the family business, and Jack employed at Trump's lender Ladder Capital.

"He's not going to let his boys go to prison," Cohen told Mayer. "And I don't think he wants to spend his golden years in a correctional institution, either."

Cohen and Jennifer Weisselberg are in agreement that Allen Weisselberg has the power to bring Trump down.

Weisselberg was known behind his back as the Weasel. His office door, on the twenty-sixth floor of Trump Tower, shared a hallway with Trump's. Jennifer recalled, "You walk down the hall, it's Allen-Donald, Allen-Donald—they don't do anything separately. Allen would know everything."

And maybe he'll get the chance soon! Mayer reports that the Manhattan District Attorney's investigation seems to have entered a new, more focused phase after the election, quoting a source who described progress since the court gave prosecutors the tax returns as "very pointed—they're sharpshooting now, laser-beaming." Vance also brought in Mark Pomerantz, a former federal prosecutor who spent the past two decades as a white collar defense attorney, indicating that the case is getting quite serious.

Jagshemash, indeed!

[Edit: I see from the comments that not everyone knows what shiva is. In Jewish tradition, you "sit shiva" for seven days after the death of a loved one. During that time, visitors come to pay their respects and say prayers with the family. In theory, it is a time when the community takes care of the mourners. In my experience, the family spends several days making sure that there are trays of cookies and clean towels in the powder room, and by the end you are exhausted, but much less sad. Pornography does not usually play a role, but when my grandfather died, we discovered several "novelty" ties among his collection of hundreds of polyester beauties my mom laid out for anyone to take as a remembrance. I've never laughed so hard in my life, and it was a great memory. — Liz]

[NYer]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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