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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Mnuchin Grilled Over Trump’s Tax Returns Double Standard

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on 2/12/2020

At a Senate Finance Committee hearing on 2/12/2020, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was grilled by Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) about the apparent double standard stemming from his department’s decision to deny a request for President Trump’s tax returns from House Democrats while at the same time gladly handing over financial records related to Hunter Biden to Senate Republicans.

Sec Mnuchin’s explanation, a plausible one, was that the request for Trump’s tax returns was governed by a different provision from the one governing records request related to Hunter Biden. According to Sec Mnuchin, the records request related to Hunter Biden was a SARS (Suspicious Activity Reports) request which he said Treasury has already released for over 1,000 individuals following requests by both Republican and Democratic committee chairs.

Specifically, Sec Mnuchin said, “The House disclosure of tax returns is subject to protections of 26 U.S.C. 6103 which on the advise of counsel as we documented, we had significant concerns. That’s very different than I believe what you[Sen Wyden] are referring to–SARS requests, which on a bipartisan basis we have responded to thousands ofSARS requests to the committees from both Republicans and Democrats on an equal basis.”

The question for House Democrats going forward is whether they can pin Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to this SARS rationale and get Treasury to release suspicious activity reports related to the Trump family from the myriad banking institutions they have been involved with, especially Deutsche Bank. This might prove particularly interesting given the fact that Attorney General William Barr’s daughter Mary Daly currently works at Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit (FINCEN), which presumably handles suspicious activity reports from the various banking institutions. Was Mary Daly installed at FINCEN for a reason? Hmm

Bottom line folks, getting Trump’s tax returns remains a very high priority for the majority of the American public. However, there are other financial records related to Trump and his family that House Democrats could pry loose using Sec Mnuchin’s SARS rationale, especially records related to Trump’s dealings with Deutsche Bank. Hopefully House Democrats will seize on this great opportunity Sec Mnuchin has unwittingly presented them with.

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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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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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Did Mueller Get Trump’s Tax Returns? Dems Must Ask

As America gets ready for Robert S. Mueller’s public testimony before Congress slated for Wednesday 7/24/2019, there are questions as to whether House Democrats will manage to squeeze any more information from him than what he has already provided in his 400 page report. Mueller has previously stated his objection to testifying before Congress pointing to his detailed 400 page report as his testimony. Concerns about him not being very forthcoming during his congressional testimony are therefore well placed.

There is one question however that House Democrats must ask Mueller when he testifies before them and that is whether or not he got Trump’s tax returns. If not, why didn’t he? Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) posed this question to Attorney General Barr during his confirmation hearing but Barr refused to answer telling Sen Klobuchar to ask Mueller instead.

Well, it turns out Democrats now have a perfect opportunity to get an answer to Sen Klobuchar’s very important question as to Trump’s tax returns and one hopes they will deliver on it.

Bottom line, Trump’s tax returns have been a major topic of interest for many Americans and they continue to be today. More importantly, reasonable people will agree that anybody looking into whether Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential elections would have looked into his tax returns to see whether he had any financial ties with Russia or people closely tied to the Russian government. Muerller therefore has an obligation to disclose to Americans whether or not he obtained Trump’s tax returns during his TrumpRussia investigation and if not, explain why his team concluded that such information was not relevant. Equally important, House Democrats must also find out if TeamMueller did indeed seek Trump’s tax returns but their efforts were rebuffed by the Trump administration. This goes to the whole “we fully cooperated” argument that we have become accustomed to from the Trump administration. Simply put, Democrats must put to rest all questions/concerns related to Trump’s tax returns when Mueller shows up before them.

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Is Epstein-Like Behavior The Real Reason Trump Won’t Release His Tax Returns?

A YouTube video that was apparently uploaded way back in November 2016 is getting renewed attention in light of Jeffrey Epstein’s recent indictment for child sex trafficking. The video advances a provocative theory that Trump is hiding his tax returns because they contain details of numerous financial settlements he made to young female victims of sexual assault at his properties. Up until now the running narrative, at least the one espoused by the cable TV punditry class, is that Trump is hiding his tax returns because he doesn’t want details of his failed business ventures to become public. The troubling allegations in this video therefore represent a dramatic twist in the Trump tax return debate, one that begs for serious scrutiny especially in light of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.

The list of troubling allegations against Trump in this video is long but here are a few of them;

That in 1989, Trump entered into a $1 million settlement with the family of then 12 year old Kelly Feuer over an alleged sexual assault that happened at Trump Tower, New York.

That in 1993, Trump entered into a $16 million settlement with the family of then 12 year old Maria Olivera over an allegation of sexual assault that happened at Mar-a-Lago.

There is also an allegation of sexual assault by Trump and Epstein in 1994 against then 13 year old Katie Johnson at Epstein’s mansion in New York.

Whether the allegations contained in this bombshell video are true or not is another matter altogether and Yours Truly certainly is not putting them out there as proven facts. The point Yours Truly is making, which all reasonable people would agree with, is that if prosecutors at the Southern District of New York (SDNY) are currently pursuing Jeffrey Epstein for child sex trafficking and there are allegations like the ones above that seem to suggest that Trump may have engaged in similar conduct, then SDNY necessarily has to investigate the allegations in this video.

Why should the public believe in the time-honored legal principle of “equal justice under law” proudly emblazoned on courts across the country including the U.S. Supreme Court, if SDNY chooses to Pursue Epstein on charges that threaten to imprison him for life while at the same time totally overlooking similar allegations in the same New York jurisdiction made against his old friend Trump? Don’t the allegations contained in this video compel the good folks at SDNY to pore through Trump’s tax returns and verify whether (a) such settlements did indeed take place and (b) whether they were for the alleged criminal acts?

Bottom line, Americans are losing confidence in the ability of the criminal justice system to pursue rich and powerful people for conduct that regular people would never get away with, in this case sexual assault/trafficking of minors. The news that SDNY has decided to pursue rich and powerful Epstein is a welcome breath of fresh air and represents a slight uptick in the people’s confidence in the justice system. One only hopes that prosecutors at SDNY will further solidify the people’s confidence in the justice system by also looking into the Epstein-like conduct alleged against Trump in this troubling YouTube video, and specifically, that they will pore through Trump’s elusive tax returns to see whether (a) the alleged financial settlements took place and (b) whether they were for the alleged criminal conduct. The interests of justice dictate that these troubling questions be resolved once and for all instead of being left to rumors/speculation on social media. The innocent victims of these horrific crimes deserve no less from SDNY.

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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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Mnuchin Faces Prison Time For Not Releasing Trump’s Tax Returns

An interesting editorial by a Pulitzer winning journalist David Cay Johnston says there’s a U.S. law currently on the books that exposes Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin , the IRS Commissioner and others to as many as 5 years in prison for failing to release Trump’s tax returns to the various congressional committees requesting them.

The editorial cites 26 U.S. Code § 7214 titled “Offenses by officers and employees of the United States”. Section 7214(a), of this statute says “Any officer or employee of the United States acting in connection with any revenue law of the United States… who with intent to defeat the application of any provision of this title fails to perform any of the duties of his office or employment… shall be dismissed from office or discharged from employment and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $10,000, or imprisoned not more than 5 years or both.” –see 7214(a)(3)

An even more interesting revelation is that Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and others could still be in legal jeopardy even if they finally decide to furnish Trump’s tax returns to the various congressional committees. This is because a subsection of the same law–7214(a)(4)–makes it criminal for tax officials to conspire or collude to hide tax returns from Congress. Mnuchin is on record as saying his office has been in contact with the White House over Trump’s tax returns. If it can be shown that Mnuchin, the IRS Commissioner or their subordinates conspired with White House officials (including President Trump) to hide the tax returns from Congress, they are in violation of the clear text of 7214 (a)(4).

Bottom line , this is a very important revelation that deserves a lot of mainstream media attention. House Democrats also need to pursue this new avenue brought to light by this Pulitzer winning journalist. Simply put, no stone should be left unturned in the quest for Trump’s tax returns.

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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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Individuals Shouldering 50% Of Tax Burden, Corporations Only 6%

CNN’s OutFront with Erin Burnett shared some stunning statistics yesterday showing that thanks to Trump’s/GOP’s tax cuts, individuals are now shouldering a staggering 50% of the tax burden as compared to corporations’ only 6%–a totally revolting, even immoral statistic

Erin Burnett posed the question to Kevin Hassett, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers at Trump’s White House, “Individuals are paying all the taxes to subsidize the corporate tax cuts?”

Kevin Hassett’s explanation was that as a result of Trump/GOP tax cuts, there has been a capital spending boom which has resulted in higher wages and therefore higher individual tax contributions. Specifically Hassett said in response to Erin Burnett’s question, “If there’s a big surge in wages, people pay tax on those wages and therefore the share of personal income goes up. So if you have a wage boom then you’re also going to have higher taxes on the personal income side and it’s not like a shocking terrible thing like you[Erin] portray it.”

Yours Truly is not an expert economist and will not play one today by analyzing the merits and demerits of Kevin Hassett’s explanation. Reasonable people will agree however that there’s something inherently wrong when individuals in a country that’s home to some of the world’s richest corporations shoulder 50% of the tax burden while the rich corporations shoulder only 6%.

Bottom line it is the height of inequity, even immorality for individuals in the world’s leading economy to shoulder 50% of the tax burden while corporations–some of the richest in the world–only carry 6%. This speaks of a growing trend among modern Republicans where corporate interests are placed ahead of the people’s welfare. Democrats must highlight this sickening GOP trend as we head towards the 2020 elections and upon winning, work towards a more moral/equitable economy that looks out for working Americans instead of exploiting them as Trump’s economy apparently is.

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