Tag Archives: Trump tax returns

Cool it with the accusations, Democrats

So much to say about the 2018 midterm election … so I’ll start with this item.

The presumptive speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said prior to the election that Democrats should cool it with talk of impeaching Donald J. Trump. She said impeaching the president is a non-starter and she didn’t want the campaign to be decided on that issue.

Here is her chance to make good on that plea.

Democrats seized control of the House last night. Senate Republicans gained a couple of seats, cementing the GOP control of the upper legislative chamber. The former House “ranking members” will become committee chairs. They’ll be able to call the shots in the House. The ballots were still being counted Tuesday night when word came out of Washington about Democrats wanting to subpoena the president’s tax returns, which he has (in)famously refused to release for public review.

I want to see them, too. However, Democrats also campaigned for office demanding that “pre-existing conditions” are honored if the House considers amending the Affordable Care Act. They have health care to consider.

They also have budgeting issues to ponder. They have to consider potential new tax cuts. That budget deficit is spiraling out of control.

The president called the new speaker last night to congratulate her for the Democrats’ House victory. The two of them reportedly talked about bipartisanship and working together to get things done on behalf of the people.

I don’t know if Trump actually means it, given his propensity for lying. Pelosi should heed that call, even if the president reneges down the line.

Those of us who want to see government re-learn how to function on behalf of the “bosses” — that’s you and me, folks — must demand that a divided Congress learn to unite within itself. We also must demand that the president and Congress set aside the fiery rhetoric and start acting as if they mean what they said about cooperation and compromise.

Grand jury portends intensifying of probe?

Am I able to make a presumption without sounding presumptuous?

I’ll give it a shot.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel assigned to examine Russian meddling in our 2016 election, reportedly has just impaneled a grand jury to begin hearing evidence and, more than likely, call witnesses to tell the panel what they know about this matter.

Here’s my presumption: I am going to presume that Mueller’s investigation is gaining some speed and that the former FBI director just might be smelling some blood in the water around Donald J. Trump and his presidential campaign team.

Recall for a moment another grand jury that a special counsel impaneled. I refer to the panel called into duty at the behest of Kenneth Starr, who was ostensibly examining a real estate transaction involving Bill and Hillary Clinton. Then he stumbled onto something quite unexpected: a relationship that President Clinton was having with a young White House intern. He summoned the president to testify before the grand jury, which asked him about that relationship. The president didn’t tell the truth.

Bingo! Impeachment followed.

Is the past going to be a prologue for what might await the current president?

As the Wall Street Journal reports: “Grand juries are powerful investigative tools that allow prosecutors to subpoena documents, put witnesses under oath and seek indictments, if there is evidence of a crime. Legal experts said that the decision by Mr. Mueller to impanel a grand jury suggests he believes he will need to subpoena records and take testimony from witnesses.”

I believe it also suggests that Mueller might expand his probe into areas other than precisely the Russian meddling and the allegations of collusion between the Russians and the Trump presidential campaign. There might be a subpoena or two coming that deals with, say, Trump’s tax returns and assorted business connections involving Trump’s business interests and Russian government officials.

Here’s another presumption: This story is still building.

Tax returns might reveal the whole truth

Here they come again.

Those still-missing Donald J. Trump tax returns have returned to front row of discussion topics relating to the Russian probe into the president’s 2016 campaign.

Trump hasn’t released them. He has broken a 40-year streak of disclosures from presidential candidates. He keeps saying he’s “under audit” by the Internal Revenue Service.

But wait! Special counsel Robert Mueller is now thought to be examining the Trump business empire’s dealings that might have something to do with the Russian government, which has been linked to allegations that it sought to influence the 2016 presidential election outcome.

Won’t those tax returns tell the public whether Trump’s businesses had any skin in the game? Won’t they reveal the truth? Couldn’t they possibly clear the air? Might they tell us that Trump has been truthful, that he has no business dealings with Russia?

Or, might they tell us something else?

I know I’m repeating myself. That’s too bad. Those tax returns need to go before the public.

Tax ‘reform’ unveiled … now let’s see how it affects POTUS

I believe another mega-rich guy, the Texan H. Ross Perot, once said that the “devil is in the details.”

With that, one of the details of Donald John Trump’s tax proposal must include just how this “reform” affects the individual who has pitched it.

Yes, I’m talking about tax returns. Release them, Mr. President.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the president will not release those tax returns. There’s been enough information released already, he said. I disagree, quite naturally, with what the secretary suggests.

The major points about the president’s tax plan include a dramatic reduction — from 35 percent to 15 percent — in corporate income taxes for small businesses and a huge increase in the standard deduction for individuals’ tax returns.

As The Hill reported: “The plan would repeal taxes that mostly affect wealthy Americans, such as the alternative minimum tax for individuals and the estate tax. But it would also ‘eliminate targeted tax breaks that mainly benefit the wealthiest taxpayers,’ according to the one-page outline released Wednesday.”

Why is release of the president’s tax returns relevant? He has not divested himself of his huge business interests. Therefore, he stands to be affected in some fashion by what he has pitched. Americans have the right to know just how Donald Trump’s portfolio is affected.

He isn’t likely to release those returns just because many of his fellow Americans want him to do so. Still, it’s worth making the demand yet again. I believe I will keep yammering about the returns during Trump’s time in office.

But here’s another wrinkle.

How does the tax plan affect revenue to pay for at least two major Trump proposals: infrastructure repair and, yep, that dadgum wall.

Trump wants to spend about a trillion bucks to fix highways, bridges and airports. Will these tax cuts reduce cash flow into the Treasury, making it impossible to “pay as you go” on these projects?

Oh, and the wall is going to cost — according to varying estimates — as much as $25 billion. How does the president intend to pay for that project? Do not tell me “Mexico is going to pay for it.” That will not happen. 

As it’s often said: The president proposes, Congress disposes. You can bet your last nickel that congressional progressives will continue to insist that Trump release his tax returns as condition for any tax overhaul.

My gut tells me the disposition of this tax plan — absent the president’s release of his tax returns — continues to be one of the great mysteries in the nation’s capital.