Tuesday evening, MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show”
leaked Donald Trump’s 2005 tax returns.
this is just the tip of the iceberg, and raises far more questions
than it answers. The public must have access to all of Trump’s
tax returns—not just from 2005, but from all years, and in
complete detail. Once we see everything, only then will we understand
the full extent of his financial ties to foreign countries, and how
these entanglements could influence his policies.
announced that Trump’s 2005 1040 tax returns came by way of
David Cay Johnston, founder and editor of DCReport.org, who said he
received them in the mail. According to the two-page filing with the
IRS, the president earned an income of $153 million that year, paying
$5.3 in federal income tax, and an additional $31 million
“alternative minimum tax” that Trump wants to eliminate.
said it is possible that Trump may have leaked the information
the way, let me point out that it’s entirely possible that
Donald Trump sent this to me. Donald Trump has, over the years,
leaked all sorts of things,” Johnston
said of the document, which is marked “client copy.”
White House confirmed the dollar amounts.
know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate
the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a
decade ago,” the White House said in a statement released
immediately before the report.
is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns,” the
statement continued. “The dishonest media can continue to make
this part of their agenda, while the President will focus on his,
which includes tax reform that will benefit all Americans.”
these returns do not reveal, however, is detail on Trump’s
sources of income. This is important because it would reveal this
president’s financial conflicts of interests.
is the first U.S. president since Watergate to refuse to disclose his
federal tax returns. He claimed no one is interested in his taxes,
and even claimed he could not release it because he was being
audited, all fueling speculation he
has something to hide. Over 1
million people signed an online White House petition demanding
the full release of Trump’s tax returns, citing the Emoluments
Clause in Article I of the Constitution, which bars U.S.
officials from receiving payments from foreign governments.
White House’s willingness to release some tax information when
it suits them proves Donald Trump’s audit excuse is a
sham,”said DNC Senior Adviser Zac Petkanas. “If they can
release some of the information, they can release all of the
information. The only reason not to release his returns is to hide
what’s in them such as financial connections with Russian
oligarchs and the Kremlin.”
Trump is president, he is still profiting from his outside business
interests and is exposed to foreign influence. Without his tax
returns, we do not know for sure. He still owns his hotels–including
a hotel in Washington where foreign diplomats stay—and his
Mar-a-Lago resort, whose membership
fee doubled to $200,000 since the election.
has business ties to Turkey, including a Trump Tower in Istanbul.
Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, is a
foreign agent of Turkey.
president helped build a
hotel in Azerbaijan that never opened, with a business partner
with ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
It was reported that a
Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev paid
$95 million for Trump’s Palm beach mansion at a $50 million
premium for Trump. Rybolovlev has disavowed contact with Trump, yet
his private plane was spotted near Trump’s private planes
during Trump campaign events, as Maddow reported. Recently,
Rybolovlev’s yacht was recently spotted in the British Virgin
Islands next to the yacht of Trump’s largest donor and
Breitbart news bankroller Robert
Mercer. Rybolovlev is also a major shareholder of the Bank of
Cyprus, a Russian money laundering institution whose chairman is the
former CEO of Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank, which was fined $630
million for Russian money laundering, lent Trump tens of millions
of dollars, as Maddow reported. Until recently, the vice chairman of
the Bank of Cyprus was Wilbur Ross, the new U.S. secretary of
the Chinese government just granted Trump 35
trademarks for a wide variety of businesses such as
“construction, mining, shipbuilding, shoe repair, restaurants,
hotels, golf courses, day care centers, animal training, toy rental,
advertising and financial services.” Meanwhile, as Trump plans
to host Chinese
President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s son-in-law
Kushner is negotiating to sell a $400 million stake in his
Manhattan skyscraper to a Chinese insurance company tied to the
Communist Party. This, as the state-owned Industrial & Commercial
Bank of China is the largest
tenant in Trump Tower.
Trump had his own take on the Maddow report:
without the tax returns, we don’t know how beholden the
president is to foreign powers and interests, how liable he is to
enact policies that benefit Donald Trump personally, and how much
government money he will use to please his foreign partners and
fulfill his business obligations. Without the returns, Americans may
not know how much of a corrupt banana republic it has become.
the man in the White House has something to hide. If Trump does not
release complete tax returns to determine his financial ties to
Russia, China and others - and he will not - there must be an
independent investigation to get to the bottom of this mess.
commentary was originally published by The Grio