Dean James at Right Wing Tribune
The New York Times reported Tuesday evening that President Trump claimed to have lost $1.17 billion from his real estate businesses on his federal income tax returns for the decade between 1985 and 1994.
Who leaked this information?
The newspaper said it had obtained printouts of Trump’s IRS tax transcripts from a person “who had legal access to it,” and “confirmed significant findings using other public documents” without elaborating. The transcripts included figures from the future president’s federal tax form, Fox News reports.
The White House had no immediate comment on the report.
The Times added that it had compared Trump’s information with those of other high-income earners and found that Trump “appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer.” Indeed, the newspaper reported that the losses were so substantial that in eight of the ten years in question, Trump was able to avoid paying income tax.
Trump’s tax returns have been a subject of speculation since he declined to make them public during his successful 2016 presidential campaign, claiming he was under audit.
In October 2018, the Times reported that Trump received at least $413 million in today’s money from his father’s New York real estate business. That report claimed that Trump helped his father, Fred Trump, claim millions of dollars in improper tax deductions; undervalued his parents’ real estate holdings in order to reduce his tax bill when he inherited them; and set up a phony corporation with his siblings in an effort to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from his mother and father.
The information is not from the more recent time period House Democrats are demanding to see. The Treasury Department again refused to provide House Democrats access to Trump’s tax returns Monday, The Daily Caller News Foundation reports.
Trump’s chief businesses, including casinos, hotels and retail spaces, lost money every year for the 10 years following his reported losses of $46.1 million in 1985, according to the Times. Reporters Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner contrasted his reported losses with “his master-of-the-universe memoir ‘Trump: The Art of the Deal‘” that came out in 1987.
“[Trump] has attributed his first run of reversals and bankruptcies to the recession that took hold in 1990,” they wrote. “But 10 years of tax information obtained by The New York Times paints a different, and far bleaker, picture of his deal-making abilities and financial condition.”
Craig had sounded the call for Trump’s tax information in 2017.
“News today that Trump won’t be releasing his tax returns is hardly surprising. If you have them I’m still interested: 620 8 Ave NYC NY 10018,” she posted to Twitter on Jan. 22, 2017.
Charles J. Harder, the president’s lawyer, told the Times on Saturday the tax information was “demonstrably false” and its statements “about the president’s tax returns and business from 30 years ago are highly inaccurate,” according to the report.
“I.R.S. transcripts, particularly before the days of electronic filing, are notoriously inaccurate [and] would not be able to provide a reasonable picture of any taxpayer’s return,” Harder wrote, according to the Times.
Harder did not point out specific errors, according to the story.
Trump did not have to pay income taxes for eight of the 10 years starting in 1985 because he lost so much money, the paper reported.
House Democrats going after Trump’s tax returns will have to provide a legitimate legislative reason for why they want them should they take their quest to the courts. Lawmakers like House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal, who requested six years’ worth of Trump’s tax returns April 3, will need to provide a legitimate legislative reason for obtaining the documents, according to the courts.
The House Ways and Means Committee has asked the IRS to provide Trump’s personal and business returns for 2013 through 2018. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday refused to do so, saying the panel’s request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.”
Mnuchin’s move, which had been expected, is likely to set a legal battle into motion. The chief options available to Democrats are to subpoena the IRS for the returns or to file a lawsuit.
And it just continues on and on…