Just Who Does Trump Owe $421 Million? Is It Russia?

The bombshell New York Times piece which exposed the fact that self-proclaimed billionaire Donald Trump paid only $750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017, and $0 in the preceding ten years, has sparked a serious debate as to how unfair the U.S. tax code is to working families. Reasonable people will agree that when working families earning less than $50,000 a year have to pay way more in income taxes than a billionaire like Donald Trump, then it’s time to reform the broken and immoral tax code.

The New York Times bombshell however revealed something much more serious than the broken and immoral U.S. tax code and that is, in 2016 when Trump was elected President, he was deep in debt, to the tune of some $421 million. Let that sink in. In 2016, the incoming President of the United States, owed some yet unnamed individuals or organizations or governments, as much as $421 million.

Naturally, this has raised all kinds of national security red flags because it is a well known fact in national security circles that a person deep in debt, is highly susceptible to manipulation or blackmail by his or her creditors. As a matter of fact debt is one of the main reasons most people are denied top security government clearances (cannot access top secret information). The simple reasoning is that a person susceptible to blackmail will be more prone to giving away government secrets.

In Trump’s particular case, there have always been rumors that he has business ties to Americas top geopolitical foe, Russia, which U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded, meddled in the 2016 elections to benefit Trump. The question as to whether Trump is either wholly or partially indebted to the Russian government or known agents of the state, is therefore a totally valid question.

Several leading Democrats are already raising this crucial national security question even though they are not going all the way and implicating Russia.

Trump’s Democratic challenger Joe Biden must really key in on this crucial national security question during their first televised debate scheduled for tonight. Biden must not only insist that Trump disclose his creditors before the elections, but specifically zero in on Russia. Is Trump indebted to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin? Is this the reason Trump refuses to condemn Putin for anything, even when there are credible allegations that he’s paying Afghans to attack U.S. troops, or that he is poisoning his political opponents? If not, Biden should force Trump to condemn Putin’s actions at the debate stage, with millions of viewers tuned in worldwide.

Bottom line folks, even though the New York Times bombshell exposes the glaring unfairness of the U.S. tax code, it is a much bigger deal for the grave national security questions it raises. One only hopes that at the presidential debate tonight, TeamBiden will vigorously and exhaustively pursue Trump over his $421 million debt, and the serious national security questions it raises, especially as it relates to Putin’s Russia.

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Ivanka Was Behind Trump Hotel Overcharging His Inaugural

There has been a lot of reporting about Trump inaugural committee’s strange sources of funding and the equally strange manner the funds were spent. The biggest bombshells surrounding Trump’s inaugural funds were the revelations that (1) a staggering $40 million out of the record $107 million raised remains unaccounted for and (2) that $26 million of inaugural funds were used to pay a month-old company registered to First Lady Melania’s friend Stephanie Wolkoff for “planning services”.

Strangely left out of the Trump inaugural controversy however is an equally significant if not bigger bombshell, that Trump Hotel DC overcharged Trump’s own inaugural for rooms, meals and event space and crucially, that it was Trump’s daughter Ivanka who negotiated the exorbitant prices. Yeah, you heard that right folks—Trump’s DC hotel overcharged his own inaugural for rooms, meals and event space–basically Trump taking money from his inaugural and stuffing it in his pockets. Sickening corruption!!

Propublica’s Justin Elliot said on CNN’s Outfront with Erin Burnett, “A top planner in the inaugural committee expressed concerns to several people including Ivanka Trump saying the rate that the Trump Hotel is trying to charge the inaugural committee is way too high and essentially she said this is not going to look good when it becomes public. They were proposing to charge $175,000 a day for a ballroom rental in the Trump Hotel down in Washington.”

We[Propublica] also didn’t know that Ivanka Trump was involved in some kind of pricing negotiation between the inaugural committee on one hand and her company Trump Organization on the other……….It’s not clear where they ended up…….it’s also not clear the total amount of money the Trump Organization ultimately got….Another issue here is if they[inaugural] were overcharged it could actually be a violation of tax law. Because Trump was an influential person in the inaugural committee, his business is not allowed to be overcharging the inaugural committee for services. That could actually be a legal violation.

The top planner who advised against Trump Hotel overcharging the inaugural was apparently Melania’s friend Stephanie Wolkoff–the woman behind the $26 million payday. Turns out according to this reporting, Stephanie Wolkoff is not that corrupt after all—you get a few brownie points for this Stephanie. We still need to know however, exactly what happened with your $26 million pay.

It bears repeating here that Propublica’s Justin Elliot argues Trump may have broken the law—violated tax law. OutfrontCNN’s host Erin Burnett citing a New York Times piece, said a criminal investigation has been launched into the source of Trump inaugural funds. Specifically, Burnett said, “The New York Times reported that the [Trump] inaugural committee is under criminal investigation for possibly taking illegal foreign donations….” Given this bombshell reporting, it is incumbent upon these investigators to also look into whether Trump violated tax law by lining his pockets with inaugural funds as the Propublica reporter argues.

Bottom line folks, there’s but no question that the Trump administration is hands down, the most corrupt in U.S. history. Just looking at Trump’s inauguration alone, we have a situation where they potentially accepted illegal foreign donations $40 million of which have disappeared, $26 million of which went to his wife’s pal, and now his daughter Ivanka is credibly accused of helping him overcharge his own inaugural—the kind of third world-style corruption America has always fought against. Democrats must make the fight against corruption a centerpiece of their 2020 campaign message. This is beyond ridiculous.

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Why Won’t Dems Seek Fast-Tracked SCOTUS Ruling On Trump’s Tax Returns?

A federal appeals court today dismissed Trump’s appeal holding that the district court ruling ordering Trump to release his tax returns to the Manhattan DA was proper–essentially that Trump wasn’t immune from New York state prosecution. Moments after that ruling, one of Trump’s lawyers Jay Sekulow said they are going to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is very well known however that the arguments Trump’s lawyers are advancing in federal court to keep his tax returns hidden are frivolous and that the whole reason for their court challenges is delay.

The question then becomes, why haven’t Democrats ever filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to intervene in the tax return and quite frankly other obstruction of congress cases that are at this juncture throwing the country into a constitutional crisis. Yours Truly broached this subject in an earlier tweet.

The U.S. Supreme court did indeed fast-track one of Trump’s immigration cases, handing down a decision even before the appellate courts could decide on the case. If it was good for the Roberts Supreme Court to honor Trump’s fast-track motion and short circuit his case, then why can’t the Roberts Supreme Court do the same for the co-equal U.S. Congress especially where, as here, there appears to be a constitutional crisis? Why won’t the U.S. Supreme Court do what’s best for the country and just hand down rulings on Trump’s tax returns, executive priviledge, whether a president can be criminally prosecuted, and many other cases that confront the country at this moment thus saving the country from Trump’s abuse of the court process for delay? Doesn’t the threat of a constitutional crisis far exceed the “extraordinary circumstances” bar the U.S. Supreme Court sets before it takes up extraordinary writ petitions?

Except from Scotusblog post

Reasonable people will agree that Trump is not mounting these court challenges because he has meritorious legal arguments that will prevail in federal court. His only reason for these challenges is delay. The question for the Roberts Supreme Court therefore becomes whether they are comfortable being viewed by the public as being complicit in Trump’s stalling tactics by standing idly by as the country teeters into a constitutional crisis.

Bottom line folks, the Trump administration is like no other U.S. administration we have witnessed before. We are witnessing things right before our very eyes we’d never have thought possible in the United States. Equally troubling, the guard rails we thought we had in place to address some of these eventualities, especially the U.S. Senate, appear to have either fallen by the wayside or are actively helping Trump in his lawlessness. The only question remaining is whether the Roberts Supreme Court will step in and hand down the much needed legal decisions that are within its power to do, or like the U.S. Senate, they will just sit idly by and either watch or abet Trump’s lawlessness.

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Rep Speier: Trump Is Pimping For Himself Or Putin

In one of the most hilarious political segments Yours Truly has heard on cable TV in a long time, Rep Jackie Speier (D-CA) told MSNBC host Chris Matthews that President Trump wants the next G7 Summit held at his Doral Golf Resort because “he[Trump] is pimping either on behalf of himself or Vladimir Putin.” Apparently Yours Truly was not the only one who found the “pimping” phrase exceedingly funny because host Chris Matthews and the other guests also couldn’t contain their laughter following her statement The full Hardball with Chris Matthews segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.

Specifically, Rep Speier said, “He [Trump] says that Vladimir Putin should be brought back into the G7. And then he starts talking about Doral….Once again, he’s pimping on behalf of himself or on behalf of Vladimir Putin…”

We are accustomed to hearing Democrats and some in the mainstream media expressing their frustrations about the flagrant corruption of the Trump administration using phrases like “conflict of interest”, “emoluments clause” etc. It was therefore very funny and quite honestly very refreshing to hear Rep Speier use the colloquial “pimping” phrase to describe President Trump’s seemingly endless efforts to use the Presidency to profit himself and his family.

Maybe, just maybe, the “pimping” phrase will annoy Trump enough to make him start abiding by the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. I know–wishful thinking–but Rep Speier thanks for the laugh nonetheless. Made my day.

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Trump Has Already Lost Tax Return Battle

In case you missed it, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in a very encouraging segment recently revealed that despite the unprecedented stonewalling Trump has engaged in regarding the release of his tax returns, there’s strong reason to believe he has all but lost the fight. According to Maddow, a lot of the banks Trump has used for his business dealings over the years have already shared these transactions with the various congressional committees. It therefore turns out that with these treasure troves of Trump’s financial records, we may not even need his actual tax returns to get an accurate picture of his financial dealings–especially with the Russians.

It is very sad that even in this day and age Americans would have to fight this hard to get a public official to release his financial records–records he swore on the campaign trail he would release to the public.

It is also very sad that a major U.S. political party–The GOP–has aided and abetted Trump in this unprecedented stonewalling in total breach of the public’s trust. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in particular has gone as far as violating well-laid IRS statutes in an effort to aid Trumps stonewalling–a total travesty of public service and borderline criminal conduct.

Bottom line if Maddow’s reporting pans out that congressional Democrats do indeed already have much of Trump’s financial records, then this should not only be celebrated as a big win for government transparency advocates, but it should also lead to louder calls for Secretary Mnuchin and others to be held accountable. This is especially so if evidence of criminal conduct is unearthed in Trump’s financial records–a very likely outcome.

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Trump’s Financial Disclosures Are Meaningless

President Trump has repeatedly argued that there is no need for him to release his tax returns because his financial disclosures give us the same information we would obtain from his tax returns. Specifically, Trump argues through his financial disclosure forms that because he is no longer listed as the head of his numerous companies, he doesn’t have any conflict of interest. Well, now we find out courtesy of CNN’s OutFront with Erin Burnett that Trump’s financial disclosures are deceptive and thus meaningless.

Erin Burnett citing a consumer advocacy group Public Citizen said, “Public Citizen did some digging by looking into Trump’s federal financial disclosures and found that Trump did remove his name as the owner of more than 500 assets once he became President but [that is] on paper, not in reality. The Truth, Public Citizen found, the assets Trump transferred ownership to can be traced back to one person and that one person is President Trump…..Which means Trump still has a vested interest in making sure his businesses are doing well, businesses that receive money every single day from people trying to influence or carry favor from the President.”

Bottom line folks, we do not need Erin Burnett to prove to us that Trump is in serious and constant violation of the constitution’s emoluments clause. The clamor for his tax returns should be an issue of the utmost urgency and Congress must deal ruthlessly with corrupt public officials like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who continue to abuse their positions to hide Trump’s tax returns. Time has come for Congress to exercise its rarely used powers and jail Steven Mnuchin for contempt of Congress!!

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Trump Family’s Deceptive Trade Practices

A CNN Special Report by Erin Burnett exposed some stunning deceptive practices employed by the Trump family in their real estate dealings. Some of the deceptive statements the Trumps used to lure in real estate investors are borderline criminal fraud. According to the CNN Special Report, the Trump family essentially embarked on real estate projects worldwide and then made false media pronouncements that their properties were sold out in an effort to lure in investors. Non-suspecting investors then pumped money into what they believed were very profitable Trump properties only to be hit by bankruptcy notices resulting in severe losses. The full CNN Special Report titled “The Trump Family Business” is available here but the relevant clip is below

In 2009 Ivanka Trump for example told CBS regarding the Trump Tower Toronto project, “We have projects all over the world that are incredibly successful and that are virtually sold out…from Hawaii to Toronto to Istanbul.” However according to Erin Burnett, bankruptcy papers filed for the Toronto project years later totally contradicted Ivanka’s statement to CBS. Turns out a whopping 75% of the “sold out” Toronto building remained unoccupied.

Similar shocking deceptive practices were also employed at Trump’s SOHO project where Ivanka told reporters in 2008 that 60% of the units had been sold. It later turned out upon further inspection that contrary to Ivanka’s assertion, only 15% of the units had been sold. Even more troubling about the SOHO project is the fact that there were email exchanges between Ivanka and Trump’s eldest son Don Jr showing that the two were willfully lying to investors about the occupancy rates at Trump SOHO. This apparently led to a lawsuit which the Trump family settled with the terms remaining secret.

Bottom line as Erin Burnett’s Special Report points out, a lot of these real estate investors who were lured into investing based on gross misrepresentations by the Trumps, ended up losing large sums of money. These were not just harmless sales gimmicks employed by the Trumps. Even though it is unlikely that any criminal prosecution could be initiated against Trump’s adult children(statute of limitations), the only decent cause of action for them given their current status in society(Presidential children) would be to make a public apology to the investors who got crushed by their deceptive trade practices.

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Trump’s Sister And Federal Judge Abruptly Retires Amid Tax Fraud Probe

In case you missed it MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow recently did a segment about Maryanne Trump Barry’s abrupt retirement from the federal bench

Maryanne Trump Barry, Trump’s older sister was a judge at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. According to Maddow, both President Trump and his federal judge sister are currently targets of a criminal tax fraud investigation related to their deceased father’s estate. Maryanne Trump apparently ended up pocketing a staggering $200 million from the tax fraud scheme.

Naturally the tax fraud probe also led to judicial misconduct complaints against judge Maryanne Trump Barry. Her abrupt retirement effectively ends the judicial misconduct proceedings against her exposing once again the gaping loophole in the judicial misconduct process that allows federal judges to walk away with zero accountability.

Bottom line, as Maddow correctly pointed out, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry’s abrupt retirement brings into focus once again the issue of President Trump’s tax returns. It’s becoming apparent with every single passing day that the reason Trump is terrified to release his tax returns is because it is riddled with criminal conduct that will almost certainly lead to his impeachment.

Sadly, the so-called “moral values” “evangelical christians” occupying today’s Republican Party are the ones helping him hide his tax returns and the criminal conduct embedded in them.

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Kushner Accused Of Selling State Secrets

Author Sarah Kendzior, a regular conributor on MSNBC’s AM Joy Show repeated an explosive allegation she has made time and time again–that Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner is using his position in the White House to gain access to top state secrets and then selling/sharing them. The author says Kushner is a major national security problem who needs to be indicted.

Author Sarah kendzior told AM Joy host Joy Reid, “I have to say this is like the 12th time I have been on your show talking about Jared Kushner and the fact that he lied on his clearance forms, he’s done illicit dealings, he’s giving away state secrets and that he is a massive national security risk, and so is Ivanka Trump. The only way that we will be able to finally stop having this conversation on national TV is if he is indicted. That’s what needs to be done….” The full AM Joy segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.

National security expert Malcolm Nance, also echoed similar sentiments regarding Kushner on the same AM Joy show. He told Joy Reid, “Jared Kushner’s problem is…he is trading intelligence for favors. And the one thing we know he did is Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia said, bragged publicly that Jared Kushner brought him the names of all the tax cheats in Saudi Arabia and he carried out that massive sweep of Princes and billionaires and then extorted almost a trillion dollars of money that was being withheld out of them. And that came from U.S. intelligence.”

Think about that folks, top-secret U.S. intelligence is being used in Saudi Arabia to extort trillions of dollars. This would be very troubling under any other previous U.S. administration, but it is exceptionally troubling when it happens under the Trump administration which is already littered with corruption scandals. One has to wonder if some of the extorted trillions of dollars did not end up “rewarding” the U.S. players up to and including Kushner, who facilitated the transfer of this sensitive U.S. intelligence to MBS

It is shocking that in a country where we have the Department of Homeland Security, a humongous department of the federal government ostensibly dedicated to protecting the country from threats both foreign and from within, even an extremely serious allegation that a senior White House official is selling state secrets is not enough to trigger a massive crackdown into who’s involved. Many Americans fully share Author Sarah Kendzior’s outrage as to why nothing is ever done to address the serious national security threat posed by Kushner and hopefully very soon the good folks at the Department of Justice will act on these concerns . Not long ago national security threats were a bipartisan issue. It appears in the age of Trump, even that tradition is thrown out of the window.

Bottom line House Democrats and the mainstream media need to get to the bottom of Kushner and Ivanka’s security clearance saga. It is very important that the public know exactly why intelligence officials were opposed to Kushner being granted a security clearance and whether Kushner has done anything to allay those concerns. Simply put, there was a lot of public skepticism when Trump brought Kushner and Ivanka to work in the White House(Nepotism). Now that their continued presence in the White House is a serious national security risk, they must be compelled to either answer serious questions about their security clearance, or leave the White House.

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