Tag Archives: tax returns

One more time: Tax returns, Mr. President

Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed documents from the Trump Organization. He is looking for information relating to the president’s business dealings in Russia and whether there might be some link between those matters and the president’s reluctance to acknowledge Russian meddling in our electoral process.

Wow! Yes? Donald Trump has called that a “red line” that might produce some serious retaliation from the president against Mueller.

Hey now! I have a thought. Do you remember those Trump tax returns? The returns the president hasn’t revealed to the public, defying 40 years of political custom from presidential nominees of both parties? Trump has clung to a lame excuse about an “audit.” The Internal Revenue Service, which hasn’t yet commented on whether it is actually auditing Trump’s returns, has said an audit doesn’t preclude the returns’ release to the public.

Trump should have released them long ago. Mueller’s probe now seems to be closing in on those returns. Gosh, might he subpoena those returns as part of his own investigation?

Trump and his allies keep saying that “no one” is interested in those returns. I disagree. Strongly, in fact. I am not “no one.” Neither are the millions of Americans who didn’t vote for Trump. Yes, there are more of us than those who voted for the president in 2016.

The tax returns are back. On the front burner, where they belong.

POTUS keeps telling us how smart, rich, non-racist he is

Heroes don’t brag about their heroic acts.

Geniuses don’t tell us how smart they are.

Great athletes — the late, great Muhammad Ali notwithstanding — don’t crow about their athletic prowess.

Wealthy folks don’t boast about their riches.

And non-racists don’t need to tell us they aren’t racist.

So … why does Donald John “Stable, Rich, Non-Racist Genius” Trump Sr. insist on reminding us of his myriad admirable qualities?

The president stood alongside a fellow Republican this past weekend, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and told us that he is “not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed.” The response was directed, I presume, at a reporter who had asked Trump “Are you a racist?”

I am baffled by this president’s insistence on reminding us of the things that need no reminder.

The racist label has been given new prominence in the wake of Trump’s statement about immigrants coming here from “s**thole countries” that, by the way, happen to be populated by citizens with dark skin. This statement attributed to the president, of course, follows a distinct pattern of disparagement and disrespect of certain individuals and institutions.

So, he tells us he is “not a racist.” Big … deal! His actions and his myriad utterances over many years suggest something quite different.

He bellows about how rich he is. Then he refuses to release his tax returns, ignoring a custom followed by presidential nominees for the past 40 years. Those returns would tell us whether he is as rich as he claims to be.

And his intelligence? Well, he keeps yapping about how he knows “the best words,” and how he attended the “best college,” where he was an academic star. Just wondering: Has anyone seen this guy’s college transcript?

As CNN’s Chis Cillizza has noted, the president clearly is “overcompensating” for what appear to be some serious shortcomings.

My own view is that someone who tells you he is the “best” at anything, he usually isn’t. If he has to remind us that he is “not a racist,” well, you know …

Complain about a million bucks? Hardly!

I’ve been called out. Someone who reads this blog has scolded me for my continuing criticism of Donald John Trump.

This individual — who I don’t know personally or even through social media — said I’d still “bitch about it” if the president “gave every family one million dollars.”

Why, I never …

I wouldn’t “bitch” about it. I’d merely wonder where he’s getting the money. I would presume, for instance, that he’d pay us all with public money. Meaning tax money collected by the Internal Revenue Service from every taxpaying American.

Then I would question whether the U.S. Treasury could afford to part with the money, given that we already have rolled up this massive debt of $20 trillion, which figures to grow even more as the Trump-Congressional Republican tax cut kicks in.

That’s one option.

Then there’s the other one, which would be that Trump could hand out the money from his hu-u-u-u-u-ge fortune built through real estate wheeling and dealing. Didn’t he insist during the 2016 presidential campaign that he’s “really rich”? Of course he did!

If Trump were to dig deeply into his pockets for private money he’d like to distribute to the unwashed masses he governs, well … I wouldn’t complain one single bit.

I’d like to see the president’s tax returns, though, to ensure that he acquired the money legitimately.

Tax returns would prove whether POTUS takes a hit

OK, here we go. The Republican-passed tax cut is heading for Donald Trump’s desk. The president will sign it, probably soon.

He keeps telling us how much of a beating he’s going to take from the tax overhaul. “Believe me. Believe me!” he implores us.

Sure thing, Mr. President. We’re supposed to take your word for it. I mean, your word is your bond, isn’t that right?

Well, here’s the deal. Some independent tax analysts have sung a different tune about the tax plan. They’ve told us the very wealthy are going to do quite well; that would include Donald John “I’ve Made a Lot of Money” Trump.

How in the world can we know for certain whether the president is going to take a beating or whether he’ll benefit bigly from the tax plan?

Oh, I know! How about releasing those tax returns he keeps refusing to disclose for public review? Trump has told the Internal Revenue Service is conducting a “routine audit” of his returns. Let’s see, when he first say that? He said when he declared his presidential candidacy in June 2015. The IRS says an audit doesn’t preclude anyone releasing their returns.

The IRS doesn’t comment on whether it is conducting an audit. Which begs the question: Is the IRS really auditing Donald Trump’s tax returns? We haven’t seen any evidence in the form of a letter from the IRS to the Trump business empire that it would audit the company’s tax returns.

The corporate tax rate under the overhaul declines from 37 to 21 percent. There also are reportedly other perks for businesses involved in, um, commercial real estate.

I am unwilling to take the president at his word that he’s going to get hammered by the tax cut plan. I want proof. I want to see his tax returns.

Why ‘fight’ Mueller if there’s nothing there?

Donald John Trump’s friends and advisers are encouraging him to fight special counsel Robert Mueller.

The special counsel is up to his eyeballs in investigating a whole array of issues involving the 2016 presidential election. They involve whether Russia sought to meddle in our electoral process; they also involve questions into whether the president’s campaign colluded with Russian government agents in seeking to sway the election. There also are questions about Trump’s financial dealings in Russia and with Russians.

The president says it’s all “fake news” concocted by his political enemies. He keeps denying anything happened. There was “no collusion,” he says.

So, why fight the special counsel? Why not just let Mueller do his job and then produce, um, nothing!

If Donald Trump is as pure as he keeps suggesting he is, then he would welcome a thorough investigation … wouldn’t he? If he is innocent of all those “fake news”-inspired allegations, then it stands to reason that he would endorse Mueller’s findings that there’s nothing there.

That’s right, isn’t it?

Except that Trump keeps acting like he’s got something to hide. Those tax returns still aren’t known to the public. He keeps changing his story. He actually has acknowledged publicly that he fired former FBI Director James Comey over “the Russia thing.”

Is this a “hoax,” as you say, Mr. President? If it is, then ignore those advisers who are telling you to fight.

Tax return questions are back

I cannot believe this is actually happening … well, actually I can.

Donald J. Trump’s tax returns — those documents he has refused to release for public review — are about to return once again to the center ring of the circus that describes the president’s administration.

The president is now pitching a tax reform/tax cut proposal he says won’t affect him and his family. He’s filthy rich, or so he’s told us repeatedly since he stormed onto the nation’s political stage in June 2015. The tax reform proposal, according to Trump, is meant to benefit middle-class Americans. The rich folks like the president won’t get a break … allegedly.

That assertion is getting careful scrutiny from the media and tax analysts who suggest that Trump would benefit significantly from what he and his economics team are proposing.

So-o-o-o …

How might we learn whether the president benefits from this tax plan? Oh, I’ve got it! Let’s look at his tax returns! 

Trump has declined to release the returns, flouting a presidential candidate custom dating back to 1976; every major-party nominee for four decades has released those returns in the interest of full disclosure. Trump said “no.” He said he’s under an Internal Revenue Service audit. The IRS says an audit doesn’t prevent release of those returns. Indeed, Trump never has actually produced any material evidence that he’s under audit.

But the point is this: Those hidden tax returns might become central to the public debate over the president’s tax reform/tax cut.

That is, if special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into “The Russia Thing” doesn’t produce those returns first.

Inquiring minds want to know the scope of Trump’s wealth, where it comes from and whether he would benefit materially from the tax plan he and his team are trying to sell to those of us who remain so skeptical of the president’s motives.

Trump taxes might be revealed … soon? Perhaps? Maybe?

Those special counsel investigations do have a way of producing results where one might least expect it.

Take the probe being conducted by Robert Mueller into the “Russia thing,” whether the Donald Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russians who were hacking into our electoral process in 2016.

It turns out that Mueller has enlisted the aid of Internal Revenue Services criminal investigative team to help him in his investigation of the Russia matter.

Why is this so, um, titillating?

The president told us when he launched his campaign two years ago that the IRS was conducting a “routine audit,” which prevented him from releasing his tax returns for public view; presidential candidates of both parties have been releasing their returns every election year dating back to 1976.

Trump has vowed to release them; then he backed away from that; then he sort of said he would release them; now he’s apparently back to the “no way” mode regarding the returns.

The IRS involvement is important to Mueller reportedly because it could reveal whether Trump had any business interests in Russia, something he denies. Evidence is piling up that Trump, uh, more than likely lied about that.

What needs saying once again is that a routine audit does not prevent release of the returns, according to the IRS. Moreover, Trump never has produced a shred evidence that the IRS is actually auditing his tax returns; he’s presumed that we should take his word for it.

The tax returns are important for a number of reasons. They shed light on the nation’s top public official’s business connections; they will tell us if the president really is as rich as he kept bragging he is; in this instance, they’ll reveal whether Trump is truthful about having “no business dealings in Russia.”

The tax return issue won’t go away. Nor should it. Not until the president keeps faith with a four-decade political tradition and releases them for full public scrutiny.

Trump tweets his way into twubble

Donald John Trump clearly has a Twitter fetish that exposes him to occasional snickering around the world.

One must expect, therefore, that the president of the United States of America — a self-proclaimed “really smart person” — can spell rudimentary words.

Trump unholstered his tweeting device and launched this little message into cyberspace: “Our great country has been divided for decade, but it will come together again.Sometimes protest is needed in order to heel,and heel we will!” 

Aaaack!!

Then he “corrected” it, sending out this follow-up message: “Our great country has been divided for decades. Somtimes you need protest in order to heel, & we will heel, & be stronger than ever before!”

Aaaack … again!

The president did correct the “heel” typo with a subsequent treat that spelled the word correctly.

The giggles and chuckles have commenced.

I’ve long wondered whether the president is as rich as he kept telling us he is. A look at those mysterious tax returns would answer that one. I’m now convinced that the president isn’t quite the “really smart person” he bragged about being.

But the overarching issue isn’t really whether the president can spell. The issue — as I see it — is his utter lack of self-awareness in the face of obvious ridicule.

I can think of one individual who isn’t laughing. That would be White House chief of staff (and retired Marine general) John Kelly.

Wouldn’t tax returns answer a lot of Russia questions?

I keep circling back to an issue that just won’t disappear.

Those tax returns that Donald J. Trump insists on keeping secret might answer a lot of questions about the president of the United States and his reluctance to say anything negative about Russia and its president/strongman/killer Vladimir Putin.

Trump won’t release them. He is dismissing a four-decade-old custom for presidential candidates and for presidents. They’ve all released them for public review. Except the current president.

I keep asking: How come? Trump keeps yapping about an “audit.” Two points here: The Internal Revenue Service — which doesn’t comment on specific audits — says an audit does not prevent someone from releasing those returns to the public; furthermore, Trump never has even proved that the IRS is auditing him.

He demanded repeatedly that Barack Obama produce a birth certificate to prove his constitutional eligibility to serve as president. How about Trump provide a letter from the IRS that declares that he’s being audited?

Amid all this is the swirl of Russia and whether the president has business dealings with Russian oligarchs and government officials. The president says he has none. He expects us to believe him. Sure thing, Mr. President. He also expected us to believe that Barack Obama wiretapped his campaign offices, that millions of illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton and that thousands of Muslims cheered the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Tax returns would reveal whether the president has any business dealings in Russia. If he has been telling us the truth about that matter, then the returns would validate his assertion. Wouldn’t they? If he’s not being truthful, well, the returns would reveal that, too. Am I correct on that?

I am left only to conclude that the tax returns the president refuses to release to the public contain something he doesn’t want us to see. Do they involve Russia, Mr. President? Do they reveal why you won’t speak ill of your pal Vlad Putin?

Tax returns become central to public policy

Tom Cotton is an earnest young man who happens to be a U.S. senator from Arkansas.

He held a town hall meeting this week back home. Someone asked him about Donald J. Trump’s tax returns and wondered why the president won’t release them.

Sen. Cotton, a fellow Republican, then gave the wrong answer. He said Trump is “under audit” by the Internal Revenue Service. The response drew a chorus of boos.

Here’s my take.

If the president has nothing to hide, he ought to release the tax returns. The questions from many Americans — and yes, many of us do care about this matter — center on the president’s foreign investments. The Russia story isn’t about to wither away. It’s going to remain on our national front burner for as long as Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns in direct contradiction to four decades of custom; presidential nominees of both parties have made their returns public since 1976.

Cotton gets an earful

Sen. Cotton’s tepid defense of the president’s refusal didn’t escape the belief among many at his town hall meeting that Trump’s “audit” dodge doesn’t hold up. The IRS has said — without commenting on Trump’s situation specifically — that an audit does not prevent release of one’s returns.

Meanwhile, the questions about foreign investments persist. They will continue to persist until the president does what he should have done when he became a candidate for the nation’s highest office.