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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Did Trump Fire State Dept IG Over Probe Into Pompeos?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with his wife Susan

CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood, citing a House Democratic source, said President Trump may have fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick because Linick had opened an investigation into Secretary Mike Popmeo and his wife Susan, for improperly using a political appointee to perform personal favors for them. While this kind of allegation would have rocked any other modern U.S. administration, it perfectly fits the corrupt pattern that has been set by the Trump administration.

Westwood specifically said, “House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel who is a Democrat, said that he had learned that the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a Democratic source claimed to CNN that that involved allegations that Pompeo had used improperly, a political appointee to do personal favors for him and his wife.”

This troubling report comes just a few weeks after President Trump removed Inspector General Glenn Fine, who members of congress in a bipartisan fashion chose to oversee the disbursement of $2 trillion in covid-19 stimulus funds. It is difficult at this juncture for anyone not to conclude that the Trump administration is by far the most corrupt in modern U.S. history, especially if one takes into account the fact that despite intense public demand, Trump is yet to release his tax returns, something almost every other modern U.S. president has gladly done.

Bottom line folks as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated, the rampant corruption by the Trump administration has to be called out loudly. We cannot afford to accept this corruption simply because AG Barr’s DOJ will do nothing about it. The fact of the matter is that neither Trump nor Barr will be in office forever, meaning there will come a time, hopefully next year with a Biden administration, when Secretary Pompeo and his fellow corrupt Trump administration officials will be held to account.

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Deutsche Bank Employee Was Fired After Flagging Trump/Kushner-Russia Transactions

A bombshell segment on yesterday’s (2/17/20) edition of Rachel Maddow show took a deep dive into Trump’s long history of shady transactions at the troubled Deutsche Bank. Among the eye-popping revelations on Maddow show which are detailed in a new book called “Dark Towers”, was the fact that a Deutsche Bank employee, one Tammy McFadden, was fired after flagging suspicious transactions Trump and Kushner made with Russian individuals via Deutsche Bank.

Maddow asked “Dark Towers” author David Enrich, who’s also the Finance Editor at New York Times, “During the presidential election [2016], a Deutsche Bank employee raised concerns about transactions related to Jared Kushner. There seemed to be a link between Kushner’s dealings with Deutshe Bank and Trump’s dealings. They involved the same banker, they seemed to sort of be cultivating the same ties, what do you know about the seriousness of the concerns that were raised about Kushner and sending money to Russia during the campaign?”

Author David Enrich responded, “They were extremely serious. The woman who raised these concerns named Tammy McFadden, I spent a lot of time talking with her, and she was so concerned that she not only filed a suspicious activity report…but when that report was killed, she started complaining so loudly internally that she had to be transferred to another part of the bank and then ultimately was fired. She still feels very strongly about this. She had the courage to speak out publicly and talk to me, have her picture taken, which is something that in this day and age, in this political climate, just takes such guts and people who don’t feel really strongly, really alarmed about something don’t do.”

Right off the bat, it is very hard to swallow the fact that during the thick and thin of the 2016 presidential election, Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner was making wire transfers to individuals in Russia, which regulators at Deutsche Bank found highly suspicious. How thoroughly did Special Counsel Mueller dig into these transactions before arriving at the “no collusion” conclusion? Did Mueller ever interview Tammy McFadden? If not, why not?

As for the brave and heroic whistleblower Tammy McFadden, who is apparently ready to share her story with anybody who would listen, why hasn’t the mainstream media given her an exclusive interview yet. Why hasn’t she been called to testify before Congress so the public can know exactly what Trump and Kushner were doing with the Russians?

Bottom line folks, even though Mueller’s TrumpRussia probe is officially over, it is very clear that there are still many questions regarding TrumpRussia that remain unanswered. After Maddow’s bombshell show, the public must demand to hear from Tammie McFadden about her tenure at Deutsche Bank, and specifically what she detailed in her suspicious activity reports that the bank killed. It would be great if the mainstream media would grant McFadden an exclusive interview but the best option by far would be her testimony before Congress under oath.

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Drain The Swamp?Yeah Right. How Lobbyists Are Helping Trump Roll Back Regulations

Bombshell NYT piece goes into details of how the Trump administration, with the help of lobbyists tied to the fossil fuel industry (oil and gas), is rolling back environmental regulations and in so doing, seriously jeopardizing the public’s health and safety. These environmental regulations affect everything– from the air we breathe, the water we drink, to the toxic(potentially carcinogenic) substances we may be exposed to as a result of petrochemical processes.

Trump who was elected President largely because of his signature promise to “drain the swamp”(end corruption) in Washington, has apparently created his own swamp of oil and gas lobbyists who are tearing down environmental regulations they deem a hindrance to maximizing profits.

Yeah, you read that right–oil and gas lobbyists are helping the Trump administration to tear down environmental regulations so that the companies they represent can maximize profits–public health and safety be damned. This is public corruption at its worst and as “swampy” as it gets.

According to the New York Times piece the Trump admin has to date rolled back 95 environmental regulations, 58 of them completely and 37 still in the roll back process.

16 environmental regulations related to air pollution and emissions have already been completely rolled back with 9 more still in the roll back process

10 regulations related to drilling and extractions have already been completely rolled back with 9 more still in the roll back process.

As for regulations related to infranstructure and planning, 11 regulations have already been completely rolled back with 1 more still in the roll back process.

7 regulations related to animals have already been completely rolled back with 3 more still in the roll back process. 5 regulations related to toxic substances have already been rolled back with 3 still in the roll back process.

4 regulations related to water pollution have already been completely rolled back with 6 more still in the roll back process. According to the NYT piece, there are 11 other environmental regulations the Trump administration has tinkered with, 5 of which have completely been rolled back and 6 still in the roll back process.

Bottom line folks, there are already very many reasons for America to adopt Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ( AOC) Green New Deal(GND). As gifted as Rep AOC is in promoting her GND, she rarely cites corruption in the oil and gas industry as one of the central reasons why the country should adopt her plan. Hopefully this bombshell NYT piece will make her highlight corruption in the oil and gas industry as one of the primary reasons why America needs the green new deal. Simply put, AOC’s GND will once and for all, drain the swamp that is the oil and gas lobby.

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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 Did Manhattan DA Give Trump An Easy Out Over His Tax Returns?

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance (L)

NBC News reported on October 21, 2019 that prosecutors from Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance’s office had “struck a deal” with President Trump’s lawyers not to enforce subpoenas requesting 8 years of Trump’s tax returns until the U.S. Supreme Court had a take on the issue–either decides the case on its merits or declines to hear it. This “deal” between Cyrus Vance’s office and the President’s lawyers came after a U.S. District Judge ruled in favor of DA Cyrus Vance, ordering Mazars, the accounting firm holding the requested tax returns to release them to Manhattan prosecutors.

On November 4, 2019, a federal appeals court(2nd circuit) affirmed the decision of the district court, essentially dismissing Trump’s appeal and ordering Mazars to release 8 years of Trump’s tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors. What now remains between the public(represented by DA Vance) getting a chance to see Trump’s tax returns possibly before the end of 2019 is this “deal” which Yours Truly argues is an easy out by DA Vance to Trump–a point that is totally lost to the mainstream media.

Here’s why DA Vance’s “deal” with Trump’s lawyers is an easy out. DA Vance has been quoted by several mainstream media outlets as saying that his entire criminal investigation into Trump rests on information that can only be provided by the tax returns his office is currently seeking. Reasonable people will therefore agree that if Trump’s tax returns are so crucial to DA Vance’s case, he should never have “struck a deal” with Trump’s lawyers after the U.S. District Court ruled in his favor. He should have gone for the kill–enforce the subpoenas.

Enforcing the subpoenas would have put Trump’s lawyers on major defense both at the federal appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court. At the U.S. Supreme Court it would have been much easier given the huge public interest in the case, the fact that it is a criminal proceeding, and the fact that it involves President Trump, for DA Vance to request the high court for an emergency declaration–one that would have highly likely been handed down before the end of 2019. Yours Truly wrote and tweeted about this very topic which coincidentally, was echoed by Fox News’ legal eagle Judge Napolitano.

For the record, prosecutors are accorded tremendous discretion over how they decide to proceed with their various cases and like all human beings, are prone to making wrong judgement calls. DA Cyrus Vance however has a recorded history of going easy on the Trumps which is why Yours Truly takes great issue with this “deal” his office struck with Trump lawyers, a deal that significantly weakens their winning hand. You will remember the same DA Vance, presented with overwhelming evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr, still made the shocking decision not to file criminal charges against them.

Bottom line folks, even though this is lost to the mainstream media, Manhattan DA Vance did not need to “strike a deal” with Trump’s attorneys after his District Court win. His office held all the cards at that point. Any serious prosecutor presented with the same situation would have gone for the kill–enforce the subpoenas and then ask for an emergency declaration from the Supreme Court. As Judge Napolitano correctly pointed out, we could have secured Trump’s tax returns before Christmas 2019. Now thanks to DA Vance’s bogus “deal” we have to wait until June 2020—an unnecessary delay which only favors Trump. Its about time Democrats and the mainstream media start calling out DA Vance for his peculiar softness towards the Trumps. Better yet, it’s about time Manhattan elected a fair and impartial DA who would pursue rich criminals with the same vigor they pursue poor ones.

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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’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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