House of Trump, House of Putin and the immunity deal for Trump chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg

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      This weekend, U.S. talk shows are making a big deal out of recent news that the Trump Organization's chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, has been granted immunity by Southern District of New York prosecutors.

      At this point, it's unclear why this has been offered. 

      Weisselberg and Trump's two eldest sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, are directors of a trust that oversees the Trump Organization and other Trump family entities.

      Presumably, Weisselberg knows more about the financial dealings of the Trump Organization and Donald Trump than anyone else, given that he has worked for the family business for decades.

      This comes after Trump's long-time lawyer, Michael Cohen, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors after pleading guilty to campaign-finance violations and tax evasion in connection with payments to two women.

      The publisher of the National Enquirer and Postmedia director David Pecker has also been granted immunity. Pecker is a close friend of Trump and reportedly buried scandalous stories about him in advance of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

      Media outlets are suggesting that Pecker's most compromising material on Trump has been kept locked in a safe.

      All of this has also occurred shortly after the release of a shocking new book that tracks Trump's extensive connections with Russia dating back four decades.

      Written by Vanity Fair and the New Republic contributor Craig Unger, it's called House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia.

      The back of the book includes more than 1,000 footnotes and lists Trump's 59 "Russian connections".

      Among them is Vyacheslav Ivankov, a deceased Russian Mafia boss who lived in the Trump Tower and who owned a 25 percent share in Arbat. Unger reported that this company is controlled by the "Brainy Don" of the Russian Mafia, Semion Mogilevich, who spent more than six years on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.

      Ivankov was a major figure in the Russian community in Brooklyn's oceanside community of Brighton Beach where Trump's father was a major developer.

      Cohen is also on Unger's list of 59 as a result of receiving a $350,000 cheque in 1999 "that reportedly was intended for one of the leaders of the Izmaylovskaya Organized Crime Group". Cohen's family owned Brooklyn's El Caribe Country Club, which was patronized by Russian mobsters.

      House of Trump, House of Putin also claims that "Trump-branded real estate" was used in ways "that likely served to launder enormous amounts of money—perhaps billions of dollars—for the Russian Mafia for more than three decades".

      Moreover, the book documents how Russians helped bail Trump out of a $4-billion financial mess.

      In addition, Unger details Russian president Vladimir Putin's connections to Russian organized criminals. According to the author, the Russian Mafia "has likely been a de facto state actor serving the Russian Federation in much the same way that American intelligence agencies serve the United States".

      Trump isn't the only high-profile American who's financially benefited from associations with Russians. Former FBI directors William Sessions and Louis Freeh also "ended up working with Russians who had been deemed serious threats to the United States", according to Unger.

      "This book tells the story of one of the greatest intelligence operations in history, an undertaking decades in the making, through which the Russian Mafia and Russian intelligence operatives successfully targeted, compromised, and implanted either a wilfully ignorant or an inexplicably unaware Russian asset in the White House as the most powerful man on earth," Unger writes. "In doing so, without firing a shot, the Russians helped put in power a man who would immediately begin to undermine the Western Alliance, which has been the foundation of American national security for more than seventy years; who would start massive trade wars with America's longtime allies; fuel right-wing anti-immigrant populism; and assault the rule of law in the United States."

      Curiously, the U.S. talk shows have not been making a big deal of Unger's book in connection with immunity granted to the Trump Organization's chief financial officer.

      But if the deal given to Weisselberg is part of a prosecutorial plan to document the extent of Russian money that's flowed into the Trump empire over several decades, this could turn into a far messier scandal than Watergate.

      Watergate was simply a domestic issue. The Trump affair, on the other hand, involves a heavily armed rival nation led by a ruthless former KGB agent who appears to have deep ties to some of the world's most vicious organized criminals.