Donald J. Trump’s life just got a whole lot messier than it was just a few days ago … if that is even possible.
A New York jury today delivered the news that the Trump Organization — Donald’s cherished business “empire” — is guilty on all 17 counts of various forms of tax fraud.
To be sure, Trump himself isn’t going to prison for the crimes committed by his organization. His former chief financial officer, Alan Weissenberg, already has pleaded guilty to some of the charges leveled against the Trump Organization.
This just spells trouble with a capital “T” for The Donald.
The trial that concluded only after a few days centered on how the TO monkeyed around with its assets to seek favorable loans and to avoid paying taxes. The company overpaid its top executives without paying taxes on their income. It lavished gifts on them in the form of luxury lodging and motor vehicles.
What is so very weird about all of this is how Trump himself has managed — so far — to stay above the fray. Why is weird? Because Trump is known to be a mega-micromanager of his business dealings. Nothing gets done, no transaction is completed, no money changes hands without Trump’s personal knowledge or even his imprimatur.
Trump is sure to denigrate the judge and the jurors. He is certain to lay waste to the prosecutors.
He will not be able to expunge the record of what the jury found, which is that the once-mighty business empire he commanded has been revealed to be run by cheaters.
Come to think of it, the Trump Organization is the mirror image of The Donald.
The news networks tonight are all over the story from New York in which the New York attorney general, Letitia James, has filed a comprehensive lawsuit against Donald J. Trump and three of his adult children.
Her allegation? That the Trumps falsified their business’s net worth in obtaining loans. They allegedly fudged the value of their assets, allowing them to get loans at a favorable rate.
Something has raced past me. How did the Trumps fool lenders into thinking their assets were greater than they were?
Financial institutions are regulated by the feds. If a borrower simply says he or she is worth X amount of money, do the lenders take them at their word? Of course not! They can check tax rolls to know the truth, right?
I am waiting for an explanation into how the Trumps (allegedly) fooled the banks.
So, what do we have here? A former president who used to vilify others for taking the Fifth because they are “guilty” of something now has — get ready for it — done that very thing.
Donald John Trump was summoned to speak to the New York attorney general’s office. He didn’t answer any questions. Instead, he fell back on his constitutional protection against self-incrimination.
Hey, it’s legal. He can do that. He broke no law.
New York AG Tish James is conducting an investigation into the Trump Organization’s business practices. The ex-POTUS has called her probe a witch hunt; he has accused her of being racist.
Trump also has denied doing anything illegal. He has said so repeatedly. Which begs the question:
If the former president is clean, why must he hide behind the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?
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.