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Trump’s taxes

September 29, 2020

Given the recent media revelations on Trump’s taxes, some may be confused that New York prosecutors continue to press a subpoena for his tax returns, and that he continues to fight that in court. The New York Times reporting, however interesting on other grounds, does not provide the chain of custody that would constitute legal evidence of what Trump’s accountants actually filed. It is those filed documents, under the signatures of him and his children, that could show that they committed fraud:

Cohen triggered the probe after he handed Congress a series of Trump financial records from 2011 to 2013, New York said in a filing in state court in Manhattan. The investigation is looking into whether Trump inflated the value of assets to secure favorable terms for loans and insurance, as well as whether he devalued other assets to avoid taxes, according to the filing.

Of course, Trump could release his tax returns, to corroborate his own claims, to put to rest New York’s investigations, and to provide the same visibility into his financial behavior as all other presidential candidates in recent history. Were he as innocent as he claims.

Nancy Pelosi is quite correct that if Trump or his business has debts of the order reported, that constitutes both large conflict of interest and a US security weakness.

I agree a bit with Beau of the Fifth Column that the focus on how little tax Trump paid will have no effect on his base. (Youtube video.) Where I’m skeptical is the notion that a different framing of the issue will change their minds. That kind of reframing doesn’t give integrity to someone duped or dishonest. What cult ever has dissolved just because its leader was exposed? It is those outside a cult who think, surely no one could believe this if they know the facts? Alas, that is not the psychology of it.

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