Tag Archives: 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.

Tax returns, Mr. President … give ’em up

Gosh, I hate talking about Donald John Trump’s tax returns.

Just kidding. No, I don’t.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., says tax-filing time is a good time to see what — if anything — the president is hiding from the American people he governs.

I agree with the Bay State’s senior senator.

We’ve waited long enough to see what precisely is in those returns. Trump has balked long enough at doing what other presidential candidates for 40 years have done, which is to release their complete returns for public inspection.

Trump keeps telling us he can’t release his returns because he’s being audited. The Internal Revenue Service says, in effect, that the president is engaging in a dodge; an audit doesn’t prohibit the returns’ release.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has said that any hope of enacting tax reform depends on the president releasing those returns. Sure, that’s hardball politicking. Inquiring minds want to know, especially the minds of those of us who didn’t vote for Trump in 2016.

Time to come clean

I mean, he’s still the president of all Americans. We’re all required to file our taxes. Here in Amarillo, candidates for public office are required to provide full financial disclosure.

The president of the United States of America is not above the law. In this case, even though releasing the returns isn’t a legal requirement, it has been a longstanding custom that’s been accepted as standard operating procedure for all candidates for the presidency.

Sure, many Americans don’t seem to think these returns matter. Others of us, though, think quite the opposite.

Many of us are waiting, Mr. President. Please show us, sir, that you aren’t hiding something.

Tax returns, anyone? Anyone?

Indulge me for a moment or three.

I remain stuck on an issue that has gnawed at my gut since the moment Donald John Trump rode down the escalator at Trump Tower to announce his campaign for the presidency of the United States.

That’s right. Tax returns.

We haven’t seem them. We need to see them. Trump needs to produce them. We need to know a lot about this individual’s business empire and what about it — if anything — is built on Russian interests.

It’s been nearly two years since the escalator ride. Trump has said many things about those returns. He’ll release them when the Internal Revenue Service completes its audit; then he said he won’t; then his campaign flacks said he would, then they said he wouldn’t.

The IRS says audits don’t prevent release of tax returns. Trump ignores that disclaimer. He did release some single-year returns showing that he paid a lot of money in federal taxes. They showed that, yep, he’s really rich. That’s it.

For that matter, we don’t even know with absolute certainty that the IRS is even auditing the president. The IRS doesn’t comment on individual audits. That means we’re left to take Trump at his word that the audit is ongoing.

Given the liar in chief’s penchant for prevarication, are we really and truly expected to take this man’s word as gospel? I … think … not.

This clown entered the political arena in July 2015. Presidential candidates from both parties have released complete tax returns every election cycle since 1976. Four decades later, we still don’t know about the current president’s tax returns.

It’s time, Mr. President. Come clean.

Trump tax return reveals … that he’s real rich!

The release of one year of Donald J. Trump’s tax returns has a kind of Al Capone’s vault feel to it.

Remember when Geraldo Rivera found the vault of the late mobster? He opened it and found — nothin’ man!

So, now we know that in 2005, the president made about $150 million and paid $38 million in federal taxes. Yes, the guy who told us during the 2016 presidential campaign that he worked to pay “as little as possible” in taxes actually paid a lot of them.

That was a dozen years ago.

What about the more recent returns? What about the money he was making while running for president? And what about those international business interests?

Americans haven’t seen the more relevant tax information from the president of the United States.

He told us he would release the returns once the Internal Revenue Service completed its “routine audit.” Except we don’t even know for certain whether the IRS is actually auditing Trump, who’s provided no proof or evidence that an audit even ongoing.

The White House decided to seek to get ahead of a story that had been hyped by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who tonight released the 2005 returns.

As it has been reported, the 12-year-old returns constitute a “nothing burger.”

Where’s the beef? I suspect it lies somewhere within the more recent returns that the president of the United States continues to refuse to release to Americans — such as yours truly — who want to know what is in them.

Tax return issue just won’t go away

What do you know about that?

Some congressional Republicans have joined their Democratic colleagues in seeking the tax returns of the president of the United States.

Go figure. It seems that some GOP members want Donald J. Trump to disclose once and for all whether he has any business dealings in Russia or has any other kind of relationship with Russian government officials.

The president keeps telling us he doesn’t. He keeps saying it with increasing exasperation. Does he really and truly expect skeptics out here — even in Flyover Trump Country — to take him solely at his word?

The president has broken with tradition set four decades ago in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Every president since that dark time has released his tax returns. Trump has refused.

Meanwhile all these questions about Russia keep swirling around the president and the White House, around his national security team and now, apparently, around the attorney general of the United States.

As Salon is reporting: “It’s something I feel very, very strongly about,” Republican South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford told Roll Call this week. Sanford, along with North Carolina Republican Walter Jones signed a letter from New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell calling on the chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee to compel the United States Treasury Department to release Trump’s tax returns for congressional review.

Will there be other congressional Republicans who’ll join this chorus? Perhaps. If they do, will the president finally come clean? I have less faith in that happening.

This never has been a matter of nosy Americans wanting to know if Donald Trump is as rich as he says he is. It’s now a matter of urgent national security.