Tag Archives: Trump tax returns

Tax returns! Let’s see ’em!

OK, it’s time for an admission.

I am fixated by Donald John Trump’s tax returns, his financial record/history and whether he is as crooked as I fear.

Where did I obtain this fixation? From Donald Trump his own self, that’s where!

For as long as I’ve been aware of Trump’s existence — which goes back a good while — this fellow has been bragging his brains out about how rich he is. I’ll say that I detest braggarts. No one who is as rich as Trump says he is has to tell the world about it; nor does anyone as smart as he says he is have to brag about his or her smarts. Yet this clown has been doing so ever since Daddy Trump staked him to his business and got the boy started.

So then he announced the start of his political career. He did so with panache. Along the way to his winning the White House, Trump kept telling us about his immense wealth, his “self-made” success … and he pledged to release his full financial records as soon as the Tax Man completed a “routine audit.”

I’m going to presume that (a) the audit is now done or (b) Trump lied about the audit, given that he never provided a shred of evidence that it was being done.

So, where are the tax returns? He now is fighting like hell to keep them from us.

He is the nation’s highest elected public official. His personal records, by association, become our business. Trump helps set tax policy, he asks Congress to spend our tax money, he is commander in chief of our armed forces, he is our employee.

Trump has fought so hard to keep those records from us that he went to the Supreme Court. Hah! The high court showed him he ain’t the boss, declaring that presidents aren’t immune from prosecution, that even Donald Trump isn’t above the law.

All of this adds up to my fixation with the tax records and Donald Trump’s financial history. I want to know whether he is as rich as he claims to be, whether he has business dealings that might compromise our national security and whether he is a crook.

That’s not too much to ask. Is it?

Once again, about those tax returns

I guess we can set aside much hope that today’s Supreme Court ruling means we’ll get a look at Donald John Trump’s tax returns prior to the November presidential election.

The court issued a 7-2 ruling that said presidents aren’t above the law, clearing the way for a Manhattan, N.Y., district attorney to pursue Trump’s tax returns.

Why is this a big … deal?

First of all, it means that the DA, Cyrus Vance Jr., will be able to present the returns to a grand jury, which is bound by secrecy provisions under state law. The grand jury is looking into whether Trump violated any crime involving his business holdings.

Eventually the nation will get a look, I suppose. Trump’s team is pretty adept at deception, diversion and delay. I expect the legal eagles working for Trump to employ all the tactics it can to delay this legal proceeding.

That all said, the public deserves a look at those returns.

Trump promised to release them. He made the promise while campaigning for the presidency. He has since choked on the pledge. Presidential candidates dating back to Jimmy Carter have released their tax returns as a matter of routine; it was a post-Watergate reform that became common practice … then along came Donald Trump.

Why do we deserve to see those returns? We need to know whether Trump is as rich as he claims to be; we deserve to know how much he pays in taxes, given that he now has a voice in what we all pay the government; we deserve to know whether he has foreign investments that might interfere with policy decisions, such as whether he deals with Russian oligarchs … right?

I’ve been yammering for those returns since before Trump got elected. They should become part of the public domain if only because they belong to the nation’s leading elected public official. He makes pronouncements and sets policies affecting the public. Therefore, the public deserves to know all about the individual who sits at the top of our government’s chain of command.

We have inched a bit closer to that reality occurring. Although I am not going to hold my breath waiting for it. I’ll just keep yammering for those returns’ release.

Trump, Barr engage in liar’s contest

This is fantastic!

Attorney General William Barr says he asked Donald Trump to fire Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, so Trump did what he was asked by the AG to do.

You got that?

Wait! Trump said he played no part in Berman’s dismissal; it’s all Barr’s doing, he said.

Who’s telling the truth? Why should we even care to know, given both men’s penchant for lying?

Berman had been asked to resign the SDNY post, but he declined, saying he wanted to stay on the job until the Justice Department found a suitable replacement. However, DOJ or the White House couldn’t wait. So … someone fired Berman.

You see, Berman’s office was eyeball-deep in a probe of Donald Trump’s personal financial matters, including the release of those tax returns that Trump once upon a time pledged to release to the public once he got through what he called a “routine audit.”

Berman is out. The question of the day: Who did the deed?

My guess? Donald Trump told Barr to can the prosecutor. Why? He was getting too close to rooting out the corruption that runs rampant throughout the Trump White House operation.

Trump takes it all back: Now he wants to hide tax returns from us

Donald Trump once said he would release his tax returns once the Internal Revenue Service completed what he called a “routine audit.”

Then he equivocated.

Oh, and then he said he would do what he promised to do in the first place.

Then he walked it back again.

Now he is digging in even more deeply. Manhattan (N.Y.) District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. subpoenaed Trump’s tax returns as part of the DA’s probe into the hush money payment Trump made to the porn star who said she had a fling with the future president. Trump denied the fling, but paid her the money to keep her quiet. About what? Go figure, man.

A judge ruled that the DA’s request is valid. Then the U.S. Supreme Court put a hold on the release. Now the president is asking the high court to void the demand. He doesn’t want to do what he promised to do way back when he was running for the presidency.

Does this mean that Trump’s initial promise was as empty as most of the platitudes that fly out of his mouth?

I am one of those Americans who wants to see the returns. The president asks Congress to set tax policy, which means you and I have every right to know whether the president is paying his fair share of taxes. It’s been the custom of presidents and presidential candidates to release personal tax returns; the custom dates to 1976.

That’s why I have been yammering for those returns. I’ll keep yammering until we see ’em.

I feel the need to remind Donald Trump that he works for us. We are the bosses. Not him! I am one of those bosses who demands to see what I now believe my “employee” is hiding from me.

If it’s all above board, there shouldn’t be a reason in the world for Trump to ask the Supreme Court to intervene on his behalf. Isn’t that how it should work?

Tax returns? Give ’em up, Mr. POTUS

U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has the law on his side, or so it would appear.

The Massachusetts Democrat is using his power as a congressional committee chairman to get his hands on Donald Trump’s tax returns. He is citing a statute that requires the Internal Revenue Service to hand over any request that comes from Congress.

The president’s lawyers say the chairman is overstepping his bounds.

C’mon. Let’s settle this thing.

Turn them over

Donald Trump has pledged to turn over the returns once the IRS completed a “routine audit.” That audit was under way in 2015. It takes three years to conduct a routine audit? I do no think so, no matter how “big” the numbers are that Trump has suggested.

It has been matter of political custom — not the law — for presidents to release their tax returns, to open them up for public review. The custom began in 1976 after the Watergate scandal had driven President Nixon from office.

We needed to know then — and we do today — how our presidents earn their income, to whom they might be indebted, and whether they are paying their fair share of taxes. They are, after all, demanding — along with Congress — that the rest of us pay our fair share.

I’m going to set aside for the purposes of this post any discussion of The Russia Thing.

I want to know all I deserve to know — which I happen to believe is a lot — about the president’s fortune. How he amassed it. I want to know whether he skirted federal tax law. I want to know about his debt obligations; after all, Trump said he is “the king of debt.”

None of this should be kept secret from the nation he was elected to lead. Donald Trump, though, is now going back on his pledge to release those returns. He has unleashed his legal team to fight Chairman Neal’s request for the returns.

If the president has nothing to hide — which he has declared many times — then he should have no difficulty showing us what those returns contain. Isn’t that what clean-as-a-whistle politicians do?

Trump’s boasts return to the headlines

Donald J. Trump Jr. had the bad sense to pop off about the college enrollment scandal that has swallowed up the careers of at least two prominent Hollywood TV and film stars.

Junior’s remarks brought out Twitter responses throughout the social media universe discussing how Don Jr. was able to parlay his father’s deep pockets into enrolling at a prestigious school.

And that brought back all those sound bites of Donald J. Trump Sr. bragging about his brilliance.

Which brings me to my point.

I’ve known a lot of wealthy and smart individuals over the course of my 69 years on this Earth. I have made the acquaintance of one billionaire and have become friendly with a number of individuals who are worth millions. I’ve known West Point, Naval Academy and Air Force Academy graduates. I have developed good relationships with many men and women with high-powered degrees from some of the top universities in the United States.

I cannot recall ever hearing a single one of them — be they wealthy or uber-smart — telling me how rich and smart they are. I always knew about their wealth and their intelligence. There was no need for any of them rub it in my face.

Thus, I always wonder when I hear the president of the United States tell us how he went to the “finest schools,” and has built a “world-class company” whether he really is as smart and as wealthy as he claims to be.

I think I can answer the first part of that query. Trump isn’t as smart as he proclaims. I believe that via the nature of the hideous way he communicates via Twitter; I also listen to his spoken syntax as he lies his way through public life.

As for the other part, his wealth, well . . . no one can say for certain if he is as filthy rich as he claims to be. He won’t show us his tax returns.

Therefore, many of us are left to wonder: Is he really that rich? I tend to think not.

Tax returns might answer our questions about Trump, Russia

I cannot shake the feeling that the most interesting and sought-after findings in Robert Mueller’s investigation into Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign will exist in the tax returns the president has refused to release for public scrutiny.

The special counsel reportedly is winding his exhaustive probe down. He’s been at since mid-2017 when the Justice Department hired him to examine those allegations of “collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russian goons who interfered with our electoral process.

The tax returns keep refusing to go away.

Trump promised to release them after the Internal Revenue Service completed an audit. The IRS said an audit doesn’t preclude release of returns. Trump has gone silent on the tax returns, which presidential candidates dating back to 1976 have opened up for public review. The idea is to give the public a full accounting of the financial activities of the men and women seeking to become our head of state.

Trump hasn’t gone there. He won’t do it. He is breaking a campaign pledge, kind of how he pledged to make Mexico pay for The Wall he wants to build along our southern border.

Mueller’s investigation has been thorough, or so we have been led to believe. I happen to accept the notion that the former FBI director, a highly efficient prosecutor, has discovered a mountain of information about the president.

My strong sense echoes what many of us have heard already, that he has obtained those tax returns or at minimum has developed enough knowledge of what is in them. The returns well might reveal a trove of information about the nature of Trump’s business dealings around the world. After all, he has boasted repeatedly about the vastness of his empire — even though he has told us he has “no deals” in Russia. And we believe him, right?

The tax returns have been of considerable interest to many of us, especially those of us who have suspected that Donald Trump isn’t quite the fellow he presented himself to be, the kind of guy who won enough Electoral College votes to be elected to the only public office he ever has sought.

It might be that Mueller’s findings won’t reveal a thing about Donald Trump’s business dealings. However, I still insist, along with others, that the president should show us what is in those returns to allow us to make that determination for ourselves.

If he won’t, then I have this hunch that special counsel Robert Mueller will do it for him.

Tax returns: the gift that keeps on giving

Tax returns have, um, returned to the top of our awareness.

Not my tax returns. Or yours. I refer to the president of the United States.

You’ll recall when Donald Trump stiffed 40 years of political tradition by refusing to release his returns for public scrutiny. He said dubiously that he was under audit by the Internal Revenue Service. That was more than two years ago! He still hasn’t released them. He is showing not a single indication that he’ll do so voluntarily.

Presidential candidates of both parties since 1976 have released their tax returns in the spirit of full transparency. Trump talks about being transparent, then hides his returns.

They’re increasing in relevance to what has developed. The special counsel, Robert Mueller, likely knows what is in those returns. He likely knows about whether the president has invested in “Russia matters.” He likely knows whether the president has benefited materially from his office, which could be in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, the part that says presidents cannot accept money from foreign governments.

We’ll know in due course whether Mueller has those returns. We’ll know also in due course whether the special counsel has anything incriminating regarding those returns.

The idea that Trump has refused to release those returns because of an IRS audit falls apart on two levels. First, he’s never produced any evidence that the IRS is even auditing his tax returns. Second, the IRS — which doesn’t comment on individual audits — has made it clear that an audit does not preclude any public figure from making those returns public.

My direct plea to the special counsel is this: Make those returns available to those of us who want to know the truth behind our president’s financial dealings.

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.