Donald Trump has been so desperate to keep the New York grand jury from getting its hands on his tax returns, he’s still trying to fight it in court, even after the Supreme Court ruled against him. But now Trump’s tax returns have somehow been obtained by the New York Times, and details are already being published.
Trump’s tax returns appear to show what we’ve all along known or suspected: he’s a terrible businessman who routinely loses huge amounts of money, and he goes to great lengths to avoid paying any income taxes – even as he tries to keep up the illusion with the public that he’s wealthy and successful. For instance, in 2016, Trump’s businesses did so poorly, he paid just $750. That’s not a typo.
This raises a number of questions. For instance, is Donald Trump really the world’s most comically inept businessman, as his tax returns claim? Or has he been falsely overstating his losses on his tax returns in order to avoid paying taxes? Researchers will now be able to start matching up Trump’s real world financial transactions with what he’s claimed in his returns, to find discrepancies.
The biggest issue of all may be this: now that his tax returns have been obtained by the media anyway, the ongoing court battle may be instantly moot. If the New York grand jury subpoenas the returns from the New York Times, then Trump’s ongoing stall tactics may not matter. Further, Trump’s accounting firm Mazars could take this as a final signal to go ahead and hand over the returns, instead of waiting for Trump’s last ditch dead-end court filings to play out. For that matter, New York prosecutors are likely already poring over what’s included in tonight’s lengthy NYT expose, for incriminating details.
The bottom line is that Donald Trump is in more trouble than ever. This expose will set off a week’s worth of stories in the media about how he’s a terrible businessman, a total con artist, and likely a tax cheat – at a time when the election is just 37 days away. This also makes it even more clear that Trump is going to be criminally indicted on financial charges in New York if he loses, and state charges can’t be pardoned by any president.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report