Trump’s Tax Transcripts: “The Biggest Loser” or No Story?

On Tuesday, The New York Times published an investigation detailing ten years worth of figures it had obtained from President Trump’s tax returns. The paper claimed the previously unrevealed numbers came from IRS tax transcripts, and someone who had legal access to them. The story provided the latest flare up in the political tug of war between the Democratic House and the GOP White House.

The Times claimed their report painted a far bleaker picture of Trump’s finances, between 1985 and 1994, than even he led on. Trump’s core businesses reported $1.17 billion in losses during the period. He appeared to have lost more money than any other individual American taxpayer in the decade: his reported $250 million in 1990 and 1991 were more than twice that of the nearest taxpayers. All this while his 1987 “Art of the Deal” became a best-seller.

Yet The Times seems to have forgotten that Trump admitted his giant losses years ago:

Another number stuck out among the rest. In 1989, Trump reported $52.9 million in interest income, a substantial outlier compared with years previous and following. The source is something of a mystery. “Hard data on the workings of Mr. Trump’s businesses is hard to come by,” The Times says. “But public findings from New Jersey casino regulators show no evidence that he owned anything capable of generating that much interest.”

President Trump and his supporters insisted Wednesday there was no story. On Twitter Wednesday, Trump called the article “a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job,” based on “very old information.” Fox and Friends co-hosts Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade praised the President for his business acumen. “It’s pretty impressive, all the things he’s done in his life,” Earhardt opined. “It’s beyond what most of us could ever achieve.” Others went on offense. “Can we get Don Lemon’s tax returns,” asked Tucker Carlson. “What about Jeff Zucker’s internet search history?”

Tuesday marked a continuation of a tumultuous week for the administration. The week ahead doesn’t look much better. Although Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected their requests for more recent tax returns, Democrats will decide Thursday whether to go to court to further pursue them. Also Wednesday, the New York state Senate passed a bill requiring the release of any state tax returns, should they be requested by the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, or the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Although Democrats captured the House in 2018 by downplaying war with Trump and talking about issues such as health care, they have zero legislative accomplishments since assuming power. The war with Trump, though, continues on.

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Robert Martin (CN Staff)

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