surely this
September 27, 2020 2:33 PM   Subscribe

Long-Concealed Records Show Trump’s Chronic Losses and Years of Tax Avoidance [NY Times]. Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750.

He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.
posted by Ahmad Khani (416 comments total) 79 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm tired of all this winning.
posted by Literaryhero at 2:35 PM on September 27 [43 favorites]


Hopefully this will surface some loan applications that are criminally fraudulent too.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:43 PM on September 27 [30 favorites]


If his losses are greater than his earnings, I am not sure what he should be taxed on. The question to me is did he follow the tax code. The amount he paid is not relevant. His compliance with the law is.
posted by AugustWest at 2:45 PM on September 27 [18 favorites]


This immediately reminded of Peter's observation which precipitated their fight on Family Guy.
posted by Wordshore at 2:51 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


The amount he paid is not relevant.

He claims he is a business genius, an amazing businessman. It was a huge part of his campaign in 2016, as it is right now.

If he hasn’t made a profit in 15 years, he’s a liar.

Or, he’s a tax cheat.

Or he’s both. Which is likely, because he didn’t pay taxes on his federal salary, when he had no expenses, and the rest of his assets were meant to be a blind trust.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:54 PM on September 27 [109 favorites]


The question to me is did he follow the tax code.
For those who are not up to reading the whole, very long, article, the summary is useful: 18 Revelations From a Trove of Trump Tax Records
posted by neroli at 2:57 PM on September 27 [34 favorites]


AugustWest, I don't agree. I think both of those things are relevant. It's entirely possible that Trump was completely compliant with tax law, taking advantage of loopholes that are legal. But he's still obviously cheating the system, and everyone ought to be able to understand that. The story needs to be "Donald Trump paid $750 in taxes the year he was elected by telling people he'd drain the swamp. He knew he wasn't paying his fair share and lied about it: he is the swamp."
posted by biogeo at 2:58 PM on September 27 [54 favorites]


fuckin’ get his ass
posted by Going To Maine at 2:59 PM on September 27 [18 favorites]


Pity ACB isn’t a tax attorney or that confirmation hearing could go in some wild directions.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:02 PM on September 27 [4 favorites]


Trump says it's fake news, and the more he says that, the more his base is willing to accept it.
posted by essexjan at 3:03 PM on September 27 [5 favorites]


If his losses are greater than his earnings, I am not sure what he should be taxed on.

How many millions of Americans had losses greater than their earnings and paid more taxes than Donald Trump? Yes, yes, personal taxes vs business taxes, etc. The system is rigged and bullshit. It should matter that you can be a wealthy man while running businesses that are allegedly such garbage they lose millions of dollars while people can't feed their families. Even if it's all legal, it's immoral.
posted by Mavri at 3:09 PM on September 27 [74 favorites]


From the "18 things" article above, emphasis mine:

"Even while declaring losses, he has managed to enjoy a lavish lifestyle by taking tax deductions on what most people would consider personal expenses, including residences, aircraft and $70,000 in hairstyling for television."

Dolly Parton was right - it takes a lot of money to look that cheap.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:11 PM on September 27 [104 favorites]


Maybe we'll know what Justin Kennedy was up to at DB and what's with that loner undeveloped plot of land in Florida.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 3:12 PM on September 27 [11 favorites]


I don't think this will have any impact on his base. I am hopeful, however, that it will have some impact on the "donor class" of the GOP, who are rich enough, and spend enough time dodging taxes themselves, to really understand just how bad this makes Trump look.

On the other hand, maybe I'm too optimistic, and they'll just look at this and be jealous of what he was able to get away with.
posted by mstokes650 at 3:13 PM on September 27 [19 favorites]


The infographic version is also highly recommended.

(Particularly delightful is how openly they refer to the version of Trump presented on "The Apprentice" as a fiction: "Playing a tycoon executive on "The Apprentice" earned Mr. Trump nearly $200 million.")
posted by neroli at 3:17 PM on September 27 [29 favorites]


I just mentioned this to my roommate, and he just grinned and said ".....and the first presidential debate is in two days."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:19 PM on September 27 [10 favorites]


I can, using tax codes written for corporations, get my tax to about 4%. I don’t file that way because ethics, and audits are a pain, but even with my ninja like ability to sneak into loopholes, I have never, not since I was a teenager, ever paid as low as $750. That’s obscene.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 3:19 PM on September 27 [38 favorites]


Speaking of the swamp: Trump's IRS Chief Has Made Hundreds of Thousands from Trump Properties While in Office (Sept. 1, 2020, CitizensForEthics.org; more at MSN). IRS commissioner Charles Rettig is the man standing between Congress and Trump's tax returns (CNN, May 5, 2019) Rettig was confirmed by the Senate as United States Commissioner of Internal Revenue (head of the IRS) on September 12, 2018 and sworn in the following month.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:19 PM on September 27 [22 favorites]


(Honestly very shocked that the tenor of this thread about the exposure of something that the President has continuously tried to supress since before he was elected is being treated as effectively an o-well-nevertheless moment. Can we not at least appreciate the amazingness of this revelation without getting dang depressed? The President seemed to know better than I did that running against Joe Biden wouldn’t be great for him. Perhaps he also knows better than we do that people realizing he’s a hundred-thousandaire who’s going to be foreclosed on by his creditors during the next four years is also not great for him.)
posted by Going To Maine at 3:20 PM on September 27 [105 favorites]


The question to me is did he follow the tax code

The question to me is which foreign governments he owes money (and allegiance) to, because you can't have losses — however "legitimate" — without owing someone else money, in the process.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:21 PM on September 27 [68 favorites]


I look forward to what Lincoln Project chooses to do with this.
posted by migurski at 3:25 PM on September 27 [25 favorites]


About the question of laws broken, here are a few relevant items from the article:

- "When applying for the [$72.9M] refund [that offset his taxes for years], he cited a giant financial loss that may be related to the failure of his Atlantic City casinos...Federal law holds that investors can claim a total loss on an investment, as Mr. Trump did, only if they receive nothing in return. Mr. Trump did appear to receive something in return: 5 percent of the new casino company that formed when he renounced his stake." This issue is currently the subject of an IRS audit.
- As president, he has received millions upon millions per year from lobbyists -- including foreign governments -- who patronize his businesses while lobbying for benefits.
- His businesses appear to be running the same grift as his father's real estate empire -- pay family members huge "consulting fees," call that a business expense, and thereby reduce or eliminate tax liability. About 20% of income across all his businesses is set aside for "consulting fees."
- And of course, you have the garden-variety declaration of all personal expenses, including personal residences, as business expenses to reduce liability.

Definitely worth reading the articles -- and also worth remembering that this is Trump's own representation of his finances, so this is the best it's gonna look.
posted by ourobouros at 3:25 PM on September 27 [61 favorites]


Can they get a team of forensic accountants to spend the next month-and-a-half going through everything in the documents and doing daily releases of every embarrassing, illegal, or tawdry thing that they discover? Because that might begin to pay back for the "but her emails" disaster that the Times inflicted upon us in 2016. I mean, it wouldn't. But they should still do it. No news but "Trump is a squalid, pathetic little crook" from now until November 4th.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:26 PM on September 27 [39 favorites]


Good timing for the debate. Looking forward to Biden nailing Trump on this subject, the greasy fuck.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:28 PM on September 27 [8 favorites]


The beauty of the timing is that I'd been watching the Charlton Heston TEN COMMANDMENTS movie all this afternoon, so we were on radio silence until that was over. I pulled up Facebook to zone out after the movie ended - and it was all over my feed.

I went back out to the living room and told my roommate - "so, you know how we just watched a movie about a bunch of people being at long last liberated from bondage under an evil dictator?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:28 PM on September 27 [14 favorites]


Note that one of the reporters tweeted that this is the first in a series of articles, so there's more to look forward to.
posted by carrienation at 3:33 PM on September 27 [21 favorites]


@PwnAllTheThings:A lot of people going to be all “omg actually he sucks at business and pays no income tax” when the story is he's got $421[m] of personally-collateralized debts coming due in the next two years and no income to pay it.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:35 PM on September 27 [61 favorites]


Right you are, Going To Maine. Another wrinkle: it hadn't even occurred to me until that infographic that many of his businesses are hospitality and tourism based, and that COVID-19 lockdowns are personally impacting his income. The man is a walking conflict of interest.
posted by ourobouros at 3:41 PM on September 27 [42 favorites]


Wait wait, you say Donald Trump is a lying tax cheat?!
posted by chavenet at 3:43 PM on September 27 [3 favorites]


“There’s no way Trump can wiggle his way out of this one!”, he posted for the 200th time in the past 4 years.
posted by paulcole at 3:44 PM on September 27 [88 favorites]


Good exclusive for the NYTimes, but they still haven't called him a liar. Not sure what level of lie will finally earn him that description, if this doesn't qualify.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:46 PM on September 27 [7 favorites]


Associated Press short summary, sans paywall, 20 minutes ago: NY Times: Trump paid $750 in US income taxes in 2016, 2017
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:47 PM on September 27 [5 favorites]


I've given up on thinking "this is the thing that'll bring him down," about pretty much anything, but I have one fervent wish for this news: I hope he's positively apopleptic over it. I hope it fucking hurts. I hope he's screaming until his throat closes up.

It's not enough, but it's a start.
posted by wabbittwax at 3:53 PM on September 27 [86 favorites]


Here the strategy is to put this question to people who will squirm:

EITHER he is a failed businessman
OR he is a tax cheat
Which is it?

There is no need to parse this further.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:58 PM on September 27 [37 favorites]


Also it's worth pointing out, since this is something that often causes confusion: the NY Times is saying that Trump engaged in tax avoidance, as opposed to tax evasion. Tax evasion is illegally failing to pay taxes that are owed, while tax avoidance is the legal practice of exploiting the tax code to reduce the amount of tax that you owe. This is worth keeping in mind in case you encounter people who try to argue that Trump "didn't break the law." At least according to what the NY Times appears to be reporting, that is technically true, but not the important thing. The important thing is that Trump has been losing money hand over fist for decades, and the only thing that he's done that actually earned him significant money was pretending to be a businessman on TV. He's repeatedly lied about his finances, and his entire persona of being a tycoon is a lie. How much money does he owe to oligarchs in Russia? How many favors does he owe to rich people outside the US? How much has he been willing to sell out America to pay his personal debts? Those are the questions to respond with.
posted by biogeo at 4:01 PM on September 27 [50 favorites]


I mean, I don't give a shit what Trump's followers think about anything, but they don't care if he's a tax cheat. The fun thing about Trump is the fantasy that because you're a straight, white, Christian, conservative American person who is complicit in patriarchy, the rules don't apply to you. Coastal elites and libs and people of color (etc.) have to pay taxes and follow laws and perform deference to cops and what have you, and you get to laugh and laugh while they squirm. It's a dominance fantasy. It's about being on top and knowing that the rules don't apply to you. So they think it's swell that Trump figured out a way not to pay taxes.

The key point is that he's a failure as a businessman. He's not a billionaire. He's just a conman, and a lot of people fell for his con.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:05 PM on September 27 [81 favorites]


Significant money, favors owed, oligarchs -- If the Times has the last 20 years of tax returns, reporting that he's "paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years," is there info on the sketch-as-fuck, wildly inflated 2008 Florida real-estate sale to the Russian oligarch? Trump bought the property at auction in 2005 for $41 million (the competition? Jeffrey Epstein), seems to have made no significant renovations, and sold it three years later for a recorded $95 milliion. In Disloyal: A Memoir, Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen wrote: 'The oligarchs are just fronts for Putin,’ Trump told me. ‘He puts them into wealth to invest his money. That’s all they are doing – investing Putin’s money." Trump was convinced the real buyer of Maison de l’Amitie was Vladimir Putin."

Miami Herald, 2017: “What do I have to do with Russia?” [Trump] replied to reporters’ questions at a press conference in Doral last summer [2016]. “You know the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach … for $40 million, and I sold it to a Russian for $100 million.”
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:05 PM on September 27 [21 favorites]


I don't see this changing any votes. Maybe there are 20 people left who are both (a) voting for Trump primarily because he's "such a good businessman" and (b) would believe an article from the New York Times.

If enough people work like hell from now until Nov. 3rd to get Biden elected, and if we as a nation make sure there is a peaceful transfer of power, maybe we won't need to pay any attention to this guy's nonsense anymore, because he won't have the federal government to use for his personal benefit.
posted by gwint at 4:09 PM on September 27 [14 favorites]


I am truly confused how anyone could treat this as interesting news. This won’t change a thing. Biden would be a fool to try to weaponize this in the debates.
posted by karst at 4:10 PM on September 27 [4 favorites]


Friends, this is all interesting news, but still almost entirely functionally irrelevant because the hyperspace culural tribalism is so entrenched that this story breaking will encourage Trump supporters to vote harder. Somehow.

On preview, I concur with what gwint and karst just said.
posted by glonous keming at 4:13 PM on September 27 [6 favorites]


Yeah, from what I know of his base and how they view taxes, taxes are whatever you end up paying after lying and gaming the system as much as you can. Paying only $750 in taxes when you're as "rich" as he is isn't a shameful thing, it's just another mark of his genius.
posted by Philipschall at 4:16 PM on September 27 [3 favorites]


11% of voters are undecided.

I'm sure we could all do without the toxic fatalism.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 4:17 PM on September 27 [110 favorites]


I am truly confused how anyone could treat this as interesting news. This won’t change a thing.

Things still matter. Don't let the other side dictate what's important, regardless of it's electoral effect.
posted by Think_Long at 4:21 PM on September 27 [83 favorites]


The fact that this reveals him to be a failure at business I think would be the more compelling aspect of this to the people who are on the fence. The tax cheat thing is meh, people secretly want to get out of paying their taxes and won’t care enough for that to make a difference. But showing he’s incompetent at the thing he stakes his name on? That might carry some weight with people wondering if there are still any pros to the many cons of voting for Trump.
posted by AV at 4:23 PM on September 27 [4 favorites]


Pity ACB isn’t a tax attorney or that confirmation hearing could go in some wild directions.

Can we not refer to her by her initials please?
posted by acb at 4:31 PM on September 27 [113 favorites]


Eponysomethingorother
posted by y2karl at 4:32 PM on September 27 [14 favorites]


A lot of people going to be all “omg actually he sucks at business and pays no income tax” when the story is he's got $421[m] of personally-collateralized debts coming due in the next two years and no income to pay it.

$421 million that he reported to the IRS. You can't deduct interest from payments to, say, Russian state actors, unless you want the State Department to pay you a visit. And he is notoriously, godawfully in debt up to his eyeballs from a series of failed real estate swindles ventures in the former Soviet bloc. The question isn't what his American creditors are going to do when he's insolvent--that's what bankruptcy attorneys are for. The question is what Putin is going to do to him when he's insolvent, and when breaking his fingers is no longer an act of war.
posted by Mayor West at 4:37 PM on September 27 [16 favorites]


I find the foremost question in my mind is HOW THE HELL DID THE NYT FINALLY GET CHEETO'S TAXES?!?!? This is the scoop of the year!

The article mentions "protecting its sources", so I'm thinking it's possibly someone in the Trump Corporation?
posted by orange swan at 4:38 PM on September 27 [25 favorites]


Also, the degree of epistemic closure the 42% or so of his base have is pretty powerful. At least initially, they'll write this off as “fake news” from the “failing NY Times”. Perhaps eventually their reality tunnel will crack, but it may take longer than the month and a bit until the election.

So the voters may cotton on to the fact that their gilded leader is a fake after having delivered him a small enough loss to turn into a dirty win through a nakedly partisan Supreme Court ruling. By the time they turn on him, he'll be ahead of them and in the discard phase of his narcissistic relationship with his marks. He won't need the people, having the ability to override their will, and will decide that they failed him, and should bear the consequences.
posted by acb at 4:39 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


Can we not refer to her by her initials please?

I'm going to suggest we just call her "Aunt Lydia".
posted by mrgoat at 4:39 PM on September 27 [39 favorites]


Jeet Heer on Twitter: In 2016, Trump paid $129,250 more to Stormy Daniels than to the USA government.
posted by neroli at 4:40 PM on September 27 [57 favorites]


Pity ACB isn’t a tax attorney or that confirmation hearing could go in some wild directions.

Can we not refer to her by her initials please?


Yes, again. RBG earned it; AOC chose it. Let's not assume the initialed nickname for someone who is both unworthy and likely doesn't want it.

posted by jokeefe at 4:42 PM on September 27 [20 favorites]




Because that might begin to pay back for the "but her emails" disaster that the Times inflicted upon us in 2016.

But his taxes
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:11 PM on September 27 [9 favorites]


The question to me is did he follow the tax code.

When the person involved is very much part of making the tax code, I think we shouldn't only ask if they followed it, but what benefit they would get if it were changed (or not changed). This is not a court of law, they don't have to be illegal to be bad or wrong.
posted by Bovine Love at 5:15 PM on September 27 [13 favorites]


Worth mentioning that even if 100% of Trump's base votes for him in this election, he'll lose in the largest landslide in modern US Presidential history. So, the "his base won't care" takes are worthless.

However, much of his non-base support comes from people who think he is some sort of business genius (I have no idea why, even in the Apprentice days it was public knowledge that the TV show was the only think keeping him from being 100% broke), and these stories (today is just the first in a series) could have a real impact on those people. Not only the tax stuff, but the fact he is way, way, way leveraged.
posted by sideshow at 5:21 PM on September 27 [38 favorites]


Yeah, from what I know of his base and how they view taxes

Well, that, but it's also a demographic that's watched too many sitcoms. What matters is snappy one-liners and being a comically big dickhead to everyone else. It's the abrasive DGAF character they all wish they could be. Sure, he cheated on his taxes (which I wish I could get away with too), but did you see that burn he put on the guy who asked about it?

He's been the TV president since before he started, and between 30 and 40 percent of America loves that.
posted by ctmf at 5:26 PM on September 27 [14 favorites]


If his losses are greater than his earnings, I am not sure what he should be taxed on. The question to me is did he follow the tax code. The amount he paid is not relevant. His compliance with the law is.

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” Even if it’s legal, it’s the kind of legal that you get when you come from money, and not the kind of legal that applies to thee or me. This is what the five truly sincere people in the But Her Emails crowd were unhappy about.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:31 PM on September 27 [8 favorites]


some impact on the "donor class" of the GOP, who are rich enough, and spend enough time dodging taxes themselves, to really understand just how bad this makes Trump look.

W-why does this make him look bad to them? Is he not good enough at it?
posted by atoxyl at 5:50 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


"Mr. Trump reduced his taxable income by treating a family member as a consultant, and then deducting the fee as a cost of doing business. The 'consultants' are not identified in the tax records. But evidence of this arrangement was gleaned by comparing the confidential tax records to the financial disclosures Ivanka Trump filed when she joined the White House staff in 2017. Ms. Trump reported receiving payments from a consulting company she co-owned, totaling $747,622, that exactly matched consulting fees claimed as tax deductions by Trump."
posted by readery at 5:51 PM on September 27 [36 favorites]


I also wonder how NYT reporting appears to people with a hate-hate, rather than a love-hate, relationship to the paper. At USA Today, Trump refuses to discuss returns after report he paid only $750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017 has Trump dismissed a New York Times investigation into his tax records, which revealed a string of financial losses that helped him avoid paying taxes, as well as millions in debt that will come due within the next four years. The analysis also found Trump earned millions abroad after he took office, raising questions about whether it conflicts with his role as president as its second paragraph, stressing the he's-lodged-in-who's-pocket angle rather than the tax avoidance/evasion questions. Later on, there are details about that 70K hair budget for The Apprentice, the consulting fees Ivanka (but not the sons) "allegedly received" working for the Trump Org, and figures from the Times. There's some both side-ism about the existing legal "battles" with NYS, and possible effects of this report on polling.

But eventually, the article closes with The Times reported that it declined to provide the records" to the Trump Organization "in order to protect its sources." It also reported: "All of the information The Times obtained was provided by sources with legal access to it" and a slideshow which has, as its first photograph, Trump, surrounded by his loving family, the Paul Ryans, and Mitch McConnell, at his swearing-in ceremony. (Incidentally, Melania Trump's holding two bibles, ensuring the oath was extra sincere. Trump's childhood Sunday-school bible, embossed with his name, is sandwiched between his tiny hand and the Lincoln Bible Obama was sworn in on.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:55 PM on September 27 [6 favorites]


I hope every single person advising Biden right now is telling him to ignore the debate moderator and just use his time to pummel Trump with "questions" about his taxes and how they show he's not really rich, how Trump has allowed 200k + Americans die from Covid-19, how he called service members "losers" -- and then Biden should push an empty chair over to Trump and say, "You look a little sweaty and uncomfortable. What's the matter? Your bone spurs acting up?" And then just laugh and laugh and laugh. Nothing will turn people against Trump faster than seeing him being humiliated. And that ratbastardshitweasel deserves to be humiliated, repeatedly.
posted by pjsky at 5:55 PM on September 27 [67 favorites]


I find the foremost question in my mind is HOW THE HELL DID THE NYT FINALLY GET CHEETO'S TAXES?!?!?

pleasebeBarronpleasebeBarronpleasebeBarron

Also, I saw on Twitter that Trevor Noah had a great comeback for the reports that Trump is writing this off as "fake news" - "how does Trump know that the New York Times is fake news if he apparently can't even afford a subscription?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:00 PM on September 27 [37 favorites]


"W-why does this make him look bad to them? Is he not good enough at it?"

I mean, yes, this is super-sloppy tax work. And there's a bunch of potential crimes just in the stuff he voluntarily filed with the IRS. AND now all the banks he provided false records to get loans are going to have the real numbers and THAT'S going to get ugly.

But also, some of the loopholes he is very hamhandedly (and apparently legally) exploiting are going to get slammed the fuck shut. Rich-people tax code bullshit thrives on being complicated, hard to explain, and in the shadows. There's a bright shiny spotlight on the LEGAL but immoral things rich people can do to avoid taxes.

There's also going to be a gigantic spotlight on "the GOP has been decreasing funding at the IRS for decades to let people get away with stuff like this." There's never been a better moment in my lifetime to beef up the IRS's enforcement budget and staff.

And this is close enough to the election that the momentum of it will carry until after Biden's probable inauguration. I'll bet you there's tax legislation that specifically addresses a bunch of what comes out of this story in the first 50 days of the next Congress.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:01 PM on September 27 [55 favorites]


Readery just highlighted this part but I want to double down: "Mr. Trump reduced his taxable income by treating a family member as a consultant, and then deducting the fee as a cost of doing business."

The NYT is careful not to call anything fraud. I'll be a little sloppier and say boy, this sure looks like fraud. And fraud that specifically enriches the recipients of the fraudulent payments: Ivanka, Jr, and Eric. (Never poor whats-her-name, always forgotten). A big part of Trumpworld these days is talking about a new political dynasty with the kids taking over. Sure is gonna be harder if they committed tax fraud.

Can't wait to hear what the Trump Inc Podcast folks say. They are the true experts in understanding all the myriad grifts in the Trump Family enterprises.
posted by Nelson at 6:05 PM on September 27 [10 favorites]


In the story they (somewhat snarkily) say
House Democrats who have been in hot pursuit of Mr. Trump’s tax returns most likely have no idea that at least some of the records are sitting in a congressional office building.
... namely the Joint Committee on Taxation, because apparently (news to me) it has to review all refunds greater than $2 million. I'd put my money on the source being a staffer there.
posted by martin q blank at 6:08 PM on September 27 [12 favorites]


I'd put my money on the source being a staffer there.

Please make sure to retain a receipt for this transaction for your records.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:12 PM on September 27 [7 favorites]


Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale hospitalized after he was armed and threatening to harm himself, Fort Lauderdale police say (Josh Marshall on twitter)
posted by valkane at 6:14 PM on September 27 [11 favorites]


undeveloped plot of land in Florida.

Graveyard for Russian Mafia
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:19 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


Mr. Trump reduced his taxable income by treating a family member as a consultant, and then deducting the fee as a cost of doing business.

As a small businessman with many small businesspeople friends, I'm quite familiar with this as it is a common ... practice. Now I'm in Canada and cannot speak to the US, but here excessive spousal/family payouts easily trigger an audit. In an audit, it will be expected that you show concrete value from the expense in line with what would be provided by outsiders. If you cannot, the expense will be denied. If it is considered in bad faith, additional fines beyond interest, etc. may be levied or you could be charged, though I believe charges are rare as they would need to really prove it was in bad faith, not just over-valuing something. IANAL
posted by Bovine Love at 6:22 PM on September 27 [8 favorites]


The fact so many libs here still don't get it. Still gloat about facts as if they matter.

I get it...

Maaaaaaaaaaybe to some "undecided" "moderates" it matters. But that's not what's happening, it's some attempt to appeal to logic and FACTS. An inverse Ben Shapiro-ing to DESTROY the Conservatives. It's ultimately a (to use a term I despise) virtue signaling, comfort food to boost the liberal ego...

Their (reactionary) feelings don't care about your facts. And their feelings are winning the elections.

Driving home for Labor day, I counted 2... TWO signs for Biden in a 3 hour trip between Madison and Door County.

I couldn't tell you how many Trump signs there were, not because I wasn't paying attention but because it's too many to count and keep in my head. This isn't even counting billboards (of which, I honestly don't recall ANY for Biden, but of course, plenty for Trump in Trump America), but referring to the signs in yards that I saw - both Rural, Small Town, and and Metro

I *do* have a sense that there's less enthusiasm for Trump this time around, but I can tell you that Hillary, the most hated and reviled candidate for so many left and right, and who DID beat Trump in the popular vote... Had more signs when I would drive up.

Biden? Not even close. Enthusiasm gap is huge, even if Trump's team is losing enthusiasm (based on this anecdata). In fact, my roommate who just came back from visiting her family told us (she had not remembered or apparently saw the post in which I mentioned the above observation), told us in our group chat that she had seen zero Biden signs on the way east to her family for a visit, this about an hour or so away. Mind you, this is within an hour of Madison. A county that leans left every election and some other less left-leaning, but still important counties... More important if you count the fact they're the ones you need to win.

The sense of smugness and attempt to contort this as some propaganda win by comparing it to taxes people pay.

1) To his team, of COURSE lower taxes is good, it's a sign he's smart, he's playing the system to get more of what's his. If he paid less than you did in taxes, it's because you're not as smart and genius and clever as he and his accountants are.

2) To the liberals it's of COURSE proof of fraud and he has no interesting in the public good, and he's lying and cheating. And hey, look, Worker Joe, isn't it not fair that Biden pays 300k+ in taxes and Trump less than 1k?

(And oh, yeah, 'bout that... Someone posted that argument, as if showing that Bernie paid some 100k+ in taxes vs Trump, as if this does anything but reify the "out of touch elite liberals who are wealthy" (ignore contradictions, because... as you'll see... that's basically my point)).

3) To moderates? Any remaining voters who haven't made up their mind on who to vote for at this stage - do you really really really think THIS is the issue that's gonna suddenly make them go "Oh look - he's a crook! A liar! A failure at business!" The last one (failing at business) is the *ONLY* thing I can see. You're not gonna peel >50% of that middle ground. Period. It's not the issue you want to die on.

Further, and this is my point, this liberal gloating of gotcha-ism with "facts" and "logic" are what got us to this place in the first place. This is WHY we can't win, and why we keep losing and why we're going to win again and again.

If you truly do think Trump is a "fascist" you have GOT to stop treating this game as if it's about Capital-T Truth. You can use that Truth to spin things. But you have got to stop thinking you're going to find some magical nail with which to crucify his sweaty greasy glorious god-self to that cross he should rightfully be hung on, not as a messiah, but as a regular, old, boring criminal to the empire.

Sorry - this lefty curmudgeon is just shouting to the void. Keep feeling good about your gotchas libs, while you keep getting pwned. In the meantime, there's a real enthusiasm gap and no amount of whinging about how awful Trump is is going to give us that election. The fact its as close as it is should tell you something about the state of affairs in this country and its moral and ideological center.
posted by symbioid at 6:24 PM on September 27 [48 favorites]


Remember when John Edwards was spending $400 a haircut and it was a huge scandal?

Yeah, good times.
posted by gimonca at 6:27 PM on September 27 [21 favorites]


Matt Yglesias has been making symbioid's point for months. If you look at Biden's espoused platform, it's incredibly progressive. Let's all be shouting about it to the working class here in America, if we believe they will actually vote in their self-interest.
posted by PhineasGage at 6:28 PM on September 27 [12 favorites]


Nelson, poor whats-her-name (Tiffany Ariana; I'm so old, I remember how her mother wanted to give her a 'nature-inspired' name like Savannah or Dakota) has been in school (college, then law school (!)), so she hasn't had the opportunity to be full-time Trump Org "consultant." Though I also doubt it was ever on offer.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:33 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


I hear you, symbioid, but if you want to talk feelings, there is another person's feelings who are also going to be affected by these revelations -

Trump's.

He is going to go into that debate and is going to get questions about this. And - after he spouts whatever he wants for an answer, Biden is going to get two minutes to make a counter-argument - and Trump will have to sit there and take it. And that is going to get under his skin. Which will increase the chances of him saying something dumb either during the debate or later on the campaign trail. Which will probably lose him some people, which will unnerve him even more, which will make him more unstable and that will turn even more people off and...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:33 PM on September 27 [35 favorites]


Honestly, I understand the "nothing matters, nothing will change his base, people are meh on Biden" stuff. But I think the $750 thing actually might get traction. It's so simple, so clear, and so easy to compare to your own life. You don't have to understand the Hatch Act, or Russia whatever, or the Supreme Court, or literally anything except that you paid more in taxes than Donald Trump.
posted by Mavri at 6:47 PM on September 27 [41 favorites]


"Driving home for Labor day, I counted 2... TWO signs for Biden in a 3 hour trip between Madison and Door County."
You know, symbioid, that yard signs don't vote? And you know that those signs and banners and flags touting Trump are sold at roadside stands and at least one storefront in Green Bay? To get a Biden sign you have to go out of your way. You also know, I'm sure, that many Biden supporters view Trump supporters as unhinged. And armed. And are therefore unwilling to expose themselves to unwanted attention from their neighbors. I've spent most of the summer camping throughout northern Wisconsin, and the thing I've learned from talking to folks is that the yards that DON'T have signs? They're fed up with Trump. The empty yards are voting for Biden. The only people willing to spend hundreds of dollars on banners, flags and signs are the rabid Trumpists. Sure, 20-40% of the electorate are Trump supporters, and they're the ones most invested in in-your-face displays, but don't let confirmation bias cause unnecessary despair.
posted by Floydd at 6:47 PM on September 27 [125 favorites]


Looking forward to Biden nailing Trump on this subject

I hope very much you're right, but he has openly bragged about how he doesn't pay taxes because he is smart on a number of occasions, I honestly can't see this being the thing that makes him look bad.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:48 PM on September 27 [5 favorites]


These aren't plausibly criminal charge worthy, right, all civil action? I assume even pretty egregious misclassifications were something close enough to normal to not be willful.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:51 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


when the story is he's got $421[m] of personally-collateralized debts coming due in the next two years and no income to pay it.

This makes no sense. Assuming he is servicing the debt today, however it's structure or accounted for (which is he is, otherwise he'd already be insolvent), he will just term out the debt. Haven't you ever renewed a mortgage?
posted by Mirax at 6:57 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


I wonder if people aren't putting Biden signs up because they don't want any antagonistic alt-right attention.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:01 PM on September 27 [53 favorites]


It's worth noting that this isn't the only Trump-related tax story in the news right now:

Eric Trump must testify in fraud inquiry before election, judge rules:
Eric Trump must testify in a New York investigation into the family’s businesses before the November presidential election, a judge ruled Wednesday, rejecting lawyers’ claims that Trump’s “extreme travel schedule” on the campaign trail warranted a delay.

State judge Arthur Engoron said that Donald Trump’s son must comply with a subpoena for his testimony no later than 7 October, adding that the investigation and the court are not “bound by the timelines of the national election”.

Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, went to court to enforce the subpoena after Eric Trump’s lawyers abruptly canceled a July interview with investigators in a probe about whether the family’s company, the Trump Organization, lied about the value of its assets in order to get loans or tax benefits.
I wonder whether the New York Times's reporting might give the New York investigators any ideas for additional questions.
posted by kristi at 7:03 PM on September 27 [14 favorites]


Also, my favorite line of the NY Times article so far (yes, I'm only up to the third paragraph):

This article offers an overview of The Times’s findings; additional articles will be published in the coming weeks.
posted by kristi at 7:06 PM on September 27 [9 favorites]


I honestly can't see this being the thing that makes him look bad.

Depends who he's looking bad to.

Evangelicals won't care, the folks who just like that he's the TV DGAF guy willing to piss off 'libruls' won't care - and these are basically the folks who think he's a sharp cookie for skating on taxes, the open racists and sexists won't care, the retirees sitting fat and happy in their gated villages won't care.

The white suburbanites making 60-150k a year? They'll care. Either because it offends their sense of "fairness" or because it'll finally start to sink in how bad a businessman and how much of a con man he is. These are folks who tend to vote Republican because they've got a vague sense that the Republicans are the "fiscally responsible" party, thanks to being subjected to a constant barrage of explicit and implicit propaganda their whole lives. This puts cracks in that illusion.

And Trump can't afford to lose any of those people.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:08 PM on September 27 [19 favorites]


"These aren't plausibly criminal charge worthy, right, all civil action?"

Not a tax attorney (and we have some excellent tax attorneys on metafilter who will know for realses) but at first glance there's at least criminal perjury here.

I'm also pretty sure that several of the items discussed in the longer NYT article rise to the level of felony tax evasion -- I actually think some of the Trump Foundation stuff that the NYAG already litigated involved felony federal tax evasion, though the feds have not taken it up yet. The IRS enforcement arm has been absolutely decimated and we don't SEE much felony tax evasion enforcement these days, but some of this seems at first glance to rise to that level. (That does not mean it would be easy to prosecute.)

"Assuming he is servicing the debt today, however it's structure or accounted for (which is he is, otherwise he'd already be insolvent),"

Read up on the Kushners and 666 5th Avenue, and they're somewhat less shady than Trump, but still super over leveraged. The world of major NYC real estate does not function along normal rules for normal people, and it's suuuuuuuuper common for developers to defer the ENTIRE principal of the mortgage and sell the property and pay it off at a profit that way. Which works AMAZING until the building can't be sold at a profit.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:08 PM on September 27 [13 favorites]


many Biden supporters view Trump supporters as unhinged. And armed. And are therefore unwilling to expose themselves to unwanted attention from their neighbors

This is exactly the reason we don't have a yard sign. There are too many unequal factors to consider this a battle of yard signs. We aren't going to know what yard signs did or didn't mean until the election results are in.
posted by Miko at 7:10 PM on September 27 [49 favorites]


Oh, yeah, and if some enterprising public figures could play up this item:
He reported paying taxes, in turn, on a number of his overseas ventures. In 2017, the president’s $750 contribution to the operations of the U.S. government was dwarfed by the $15,598 he or his companies paid in Panama, the $145,400 in India and the $156,824 in the Philippines.
that could be interesting. He paid about 200 times more to both India and the Philippines than he did to the USA.

(I'll stop now.)
posted by kristi at 7:12 PM on September 27 [20 favorites]


W-why does this make him look bad to them? Is he not good enough at it?

Yes. Say I illegally dump my compost at the public park each week. A bushel of eggshells and squash rinds. And I get away with it every week. And then some asshole comes and dumps two tons of human shit all over the park.

I'm pissed at that guy, because he's an idiot and messed up my smaller-time selfish abuse of lax enforcement of public policy. People are going to notice that kind of shit and it makes my shit harder to get away with.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:14 PM on September 27 [16 favorites]


And you know that those signs and banners and flags touting Trump are sold at roadside stands and at least one storefront in Green Bay?

I don't have a link at hand, but I read an article recently that said that the Trump campaign were investing a lot of money and effort in old school signs, banners, and such in rural areas (and previously did in 2016). Context of that particular article was rural Pennsylvania.

I spent time recently in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, a town of about 8000 people way in the northwest, awash in Trump signs. Hasn't stopped Minnesota as a state from polling an average of 8 points in favor of Biden. Not seeing nearly that density of Trump signage in swing-y Twin Cities suburbs, where the few theoretically persuadable votes are.
posted by gimonca at 7:15 PM on September 27 [9 favorites]


Driving home for Labor day, I counted 2... TWO signs for Biden in a 3 hour trip between Madison and Door County.

I live in a very blue county, and I know my neighbors (suburban city just north of Seattle) are voting for Biden. But there's only a couple of signs up in the area. Not least because when people post Biden signs, the no kidding utterly deplorable Trump minority take them. It isn't going to affect our vote, which you can count on to be overwhelming for Biden.
posted by bearwife at 7:15 PM on September 27 [15 favorites]


...Joint Committee on Taxation ... has to review all refunds greater than $2 million. I'd put my money on the source being a staffer there.

I'd put my money on your not knowing jackshit about the JCT staff. Please don't toss out random accusations of federal crimes against a very small group of specifically identifiable nonpartisan professionals.

A reminder: many, many people within the Trump corporate structure were involved in preparing the returns, and I'd guess there were many more in outside accounting and law firms.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:19 PM on September 27 [14 favorites]


Eh, the tax thing isn't going to lose him anyone, and it's not going to be an issue in the debates. One phrase is all he needs to say, and he's said it before, and it worked: "That makes me smart". That's the whole argument. It's not a winning issue or a losing issue, because he's already won and lost everyone there is to win or lose. There's no swing voter out there trying to decide between the chicken and the shit-with-broken-glass-in-it-sandwich thinking, "Oh, let's see how they did on taxes".
posted by mrgoat at 7:22 PM on September 27 [5 favorites]


they're the ones most invested in in-your-face displays,

Exactly. I mean, it's no surprise that an asshole in-your-face politician is gonna have a high percentage of supporters happy to be in-your-face assholes with signs and bumper stickers and flags and stupid shit like having boat parades and (as we apparently just had in Cleveland) "truck parades" where about 50 pickups flying Trump flags drove around the perimeter highways. (Who knows what the fuck that was supposed to accomplish.)

I think it's a lot more of a "loudmouth" gap than an enthusiasm gap.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:25 PM on September 27 [15 favorites]


I for one am feeling some (admittedly vengeful) delight in this.

Today, for a moment, Trump squarely got his due.
That right there is a good thing, and I intend to bask in it.
posted by marlys at 7:25 PM on September 27 [17 favorites]


"That makes me smart".

Yeah but...Biden's had a good four years to think of a strong counter to this assertion, and I fully expect one. I can imagine a few myself but I've got no doubt he's ready for this attempt and has a quiver full of counters that have tested really, really well.

Meanwhile Trump is almost certainly relying on gut and swagger and probably will trot out this same stale old message - which leaves him at a disadvantage. I think some darts are gonna land hard. At least part of the debate and final-days strategy isn't scoring "gotchas" on Trump with boring tax detail - it's being fast in the mocking pushback to his heavily signaled and ponderous attempts - making him look stupid, slow, old, confused, and above all, weak.
posted by Miko at 7:28 PM on September 27 [10 favorites]


Also in a very blue, very white-people suburb of Chicago these days (turnout reliably close to 80% in presidential years), and since June we've had something like 10 local arrests for sign theft -- all of them of either Biden signs or BLM signs. We've also had a TON of reports of sign vandalism -- all of left-wing signs. 74% of residents voted for Hilary in 2016, and we have ZERO GOP representation at the state or local level; it's all Democrats. But you wouldn't know it from the yard signs, because Biden and BLM signs get immediately stolen or defaced, and Trump signs sit around for months. My town just made the national news for a plain factual sign (number of Covid deaths, and at the bottom it said "Donald J. Trump, President") being defaced and Illinois Nazis protesting its very existence. (My kids saw me flip people off from my car and were VERY EXCITED.)

I know a lot of people who just keep buying signs and donating to the Biden campaign. A local junior high student made lovely BLM signs for her Bat Mitzvah project and sells them for $20/pop with all proceeds going to a Black women-run bail fund in Chicago, and she is now BY FAR their single largest donor, edging close to the six figures now, because PEOPLE KEEP STEALING THE SIGNS and the families who bought them keep replacing them! She initially intended to raise $5,000 but people are donating big amounts when they get signs, and people keep needing to replace the signs and they're donating the same big amounts again.

I also have close friends in Waukesha -- a wealthy, GOP-leaning suburb of Milwaukee that you'd see in your drive around Wisconsin -- and it's the same thing. They've put up more than a dozen Biden signs now. Every single one gets stolen.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:28 PM on September 27 [51 favorites]


@SykesCharlie: DRUDGE: [THE FAKE BILLIONAIRE? NYT: LONG-CONCEALED RECORDS SHOW TRUMP’S CHRONIC LOSSES AND YEARS OF TAX AVOIDANCE]
posted by Going To Maine at 7:29 PM on September 27 [5 favorites]


On the yard sign derail -- I haven't seen a lot of Biden signs around the Twin Cities where my various family members live, and I haven't seen an inordinate number of Trump signs either. What I do see are many, many signs for down-ballot and local Minnesota DFL (Democratic Farmer-Labor) candidates.

Of course this is anecdotal, but I find it encouraging.
posted by theory at 7:33 PM on September 27 [6 favorites]


However, much of his non-base support comes from people who think he is some sort of business genius (I have no idea why, even in the Apprentice days it was public knowledge that the TV show was the only think keeping him from being 100% broke)

I watched one early season of The Apprentice (I think S2), and at the time I had no idea that he was otherwise broke. (I found this out at some point during the primaries.) I didn't search out info on him, or on the show; I had a vague knowledge of his name before it aired. It might not have been secret, but I don't think it was well known among the general public.
posted by jeather at 7:35 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


I don't have a link at hand, but I read an article recently that said that the Trump campaign were investing a lot of money and effort in old school signs, banners, and such in rural areas (and previously did in 2016). Context of that particular article was rural Pennsylvania.


As it happens, I spend a fair amount of time in central Pennsylvania, up and down the US-15 corridor.

Williamsport (which is an oasis of small-city-and-suburbia clinging to highway/interstate lifelines) is littered with Trump signs, with an occasional Biden or "Any Reasonable Human 2020" mixed in. On the way home from there, going southbound, there's some fireworks & leather shop with a huge road sign flashing TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP urging you to stop in and buy Trump Stuff. Another warehouse-y building has a gigantic TRUMP painted across its front, with big American and Israeli flags painted on the side of the building. The outskirts of Amish country had a nice big billboard informing passersby all about how Biden will bring socialism, crime and evil to America. 15 and the Turnpike have billboards on them depicting a smirking, shrugging woman across pictures of Gov. Wolf and Health Secretary Levine, boasting "Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Wagner" (Wolf's previous opponent.)

Where I spend more time, in the suburbs of Philadelphia? Far more balanced.

What we must hope is that the Silent Majority proves to be precisely that -- but leaning the other way this time around. That people are collectively fed up with Trumpism and Trumpoids but are sufficiently spooked by their violent turns to not draw unwanted attention lightly. Extremists tend towards two things -- small numbers and loud voices.
posted by delfin at 7:36 PM on September 27 [4 favorites]


At least part of the debate and final-days strategy isn't scoring "gotchas" on Trump with boring tax detail - it's being fast in the mocking pushback to his heavily signaled and ponderous attempts - making him look stupid, slow, old, confused, and above all, weak.

Oh, I wouldn't discount Biden just yet.

This morning, apparently, Trump tweeted that he thought Biden should take a drug test before their debate because "his performance has been UNEVEN and only drugs can explain it". Biden personally had a "no comment" response this morning, but later this afternoon the Biden camp said the following (and this is a direct quote):
“Vice President Biden intends to deliver his debate answers in words. If the president thinks his best case is made in urine he can have at it, We’d expect nothing less from Donald Trump, who pissed away the chance to protect the lives of 200K Americans when he didn't make a plan to stop COVID-19.”
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:38 PM on September 27 [93 favorites]


If you thought I was discounting Biden, it was exactly the opposite. Biden's ready, and it's Trump that will look weak and slow. Sorry if that was unclear.
posted by Miko at 7:39 PM on September 27 [4 favorites]


I think a story like has the potential to move the needle if it stays in the news, and that's the big unknown. About two weeks ago what I thought was the most horrific and earth-shattering stories of the last 4 years dropped, and now I bet everyone reading this sentence is wondering what I'm talking about*. That story is apparently dead of neglect now.

If the NYT decides to run this stuff on the front page for week after week the way they did in 2015 whenever someone floated a rumor that Hillary maybe double-dipped a nacho once then I could see this story hurting Fuckface von Clownstick. Otherwise no.

* migrant women in detention being sterilized without their knowledge or consent.
posted by um at 7:41 PM on September 27 [19 favorites]


There may be an enthusiasm gap in that a lot of people who absolutely will vote Biden are unenthusiastic about him personally. But votes count the same whether you love or just tolerate your candidate. I don’t know if all the doomtrolling in this thread is just legit anxiety. Maybe. But Russians are paying for posts like that all over the internet. Let’s not participate in that.
posted by rikschell at 7:42 PM on September 27 [33 favorites]


Given the stunning consistency of Trump's approval rating in the face of ... well ... everything, I don't see this or anything else mattering to the votes. I mean, the effect of the impeachment was only about 1.5 percentage points on approval and disapproval, and that didn't last.

Maybe the Times and every other news outlet just makes Trump's tax avoidance / evasion / fraud the one and only story every day 24/7 from now until January. Maybe. But I'm not optimistic. Maybe there is something criminal in Trump's taxes that lets the House impeach again?

I hope I'm just too worn down by this nightmare to see clearly.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 7:47 PM on September 27


um, did you notice that the Times plans to run several stories on the tax returns and their analyses? This is not going to be going away soon. FWIW, I wouldn't piss on Dean Baquet if he were on fire, but I welcome any additional, rigorously reported info on the president* and his financial antics.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:51 PM on September 27 [5 favorites]


I saw that but there's a difference between a multi-week run of daily front-page stories and a slow trickle of articles relegated to P5 and beyond.
posted by um at 7:58 PM on September 27


Continuing on the sign derail - Biden/BLM signs are even getting stolen in the people's republic of boulder (colorado).

This:
In another case, Pauline Binam, a 30-year-old woman who was brought to the US from Cameroon when she was two, saw Amin after experiencing an irregular menstrual cycle and was told to have a D&C, said her attorney, Van Huynh.

When she woke up from the surgery, Huynh said, she was told Amin had removed one of her two fallopian tubes, which connect the uterus to the ovaries and are necessary to conceive a child.


is an example of what um is talking about.

What that story isn't getting more traction is a bit beyond me. Except, of course, racism.

I really hope the NYT saved some juicy bits for the next few week.
posted by lab.beetle at 7:59 PM on September 27 [7 favorites]


Approval ratings aren't votes.
posted by Miko at 7:59 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


(Just spent a week in suburban Cleveland. Countless Biden/BLM signs on my 5 mile jogging route, nary a single cheeto sign. Heavily blue area - presumably lots and lots of enthusiasm.)
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:02 PM on September 27 [3 favorites]


Anybody know why Jared Kushner suddenly deleted all his tweets?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:05 PM on September 27 [12 favorites]


Can we not refer to her by her initials please?

Yes, again. RBG earned it; AOC chose it. Let's not assume the initialed nickname for someone who is both unworthy and likely doesn't want it.


People come up with lots of reasons why they use initials or first names when referring to women. The actual reason is sexism.
posted by medusa at 8:07 PM on September 27 [6 favorites]


This is the happiest day of my life.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:10 PM on September 27 [4 favorites]


I like the timing of this. The news story last week was Ginsberg and there was a real threat that Trump was going to successfully ride into the debates as the standard bearer of the culture wars. He will still try to do this, but the tax returns puts the spotlight back on him personally, as a failure and a fraud.
posted by storybored at 8:11 PM on September 27 [11 favorites]


any insight into what all of this might do to Trump's plans to lawyer up come election time to dispute the result?
posted by philip-random at 8:17 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


That reference to debating in urine (vs. in words) is truly golden. I hope the Biden campaign continues to shower 45 with such warm, glittering zingers.

I’ll see myself out.
posted by armeowda at 8:18 PM on September 27 [43 favorites]


Anybody know why Jared Kushner suddenly deleted all his tweets?

He never tweeted. (EDIT: Snopes)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:19 PM on September 27 [16 favorites]


>Anybody know why Jared Kushner suddenly deleted all his tweets?

He didn't - his account had no tweets to delete. The same claim was made a couple years ago, and wasn't true then as well.
posted by theory at 8:19 PM on September 27 [10 favorites]


If you're looking at signs, don't just look at Biden and Trump signs.

Maybe this is different where you are; I'm in suburban western NY so our area doesn't matter. I'm too lazy to look it up but I think our precinct went about 60/40 for Clinton last time. Around here, there are so so many houses that haven't had any kind of sign up since we moved here in 07 that have put up a Black Lives Matter sign, or a Pride sign, or an "In Our America..." sign since 2017, and those houses are unlikely to include many Trump voters. It's also the case that there are easily 10-15 times as many Biden signs around here as there were Clinton signs (and I mean that literally), but, again, suburban WNY.

The enthusiasm thing is hard to get a handle on. On the one hand, there probably is somewhat less enthusiasm for voting for Biden than there is among Trumpers. I don't mean to downplay that. But I expect there are a lot of people who aren't super-enthusiastic about voting for Biden who are really enthusiastic and driven about voting against Trump and all his shitty minions. My motto since the local elections in 17 has been FROM HELL'S HEART I STAB AT THEE, FOR HATE'S SAKE I SPIT MY LAST VOTE AT THEE.* The usual enthusiasm questions are gonna miss that.

Likewise, the paired-off enthusiasm questions -- the ones that ask "Are you more enthusiastic about voting for X or against Y?" -- are just stupid this year. I could be the most enthusiastic-for-the-Democrat person a pollster had ever contacted, and that would still be a birthday candle next to the blue-white supergiant of my enthusiasm for voting against Trump.

All of which is to say that enthusiasm measures in surveys are probably missing some important stuff.

*Aside: It's been an interesting experience to figure out after the fact that I made it to 47 years old without ever really hating anyone. The part where I learned how tiring and grinding and awful-feeling it is to do is less interesting and more, well, tiring and grinding.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:21 PM on September 27 [34 favorites]


I mean, he's owned. He's wholly owned. You know the old line: if you owe $100, the bank owns you; if you owe a million dollars, the bank owns you? Well, if you owe $400 million and you're president, do you own the bank or does the bank own you? It depends on who the bank is.

As a British person who formerly subscribed to Private Eye I grew familiar with the section towards the back that dealt with the complicated finances of Prominent Rich Men Who Do A Business. Branson, Fayed, etc. Lots of companies paying dividends to companies that are wholly-owned subsidiaries of companies that are owned by companies that pay management fees to companies.

The Family Business is like a deck of cards managed by people who learned how to shuffle cards from the best close-up magicians. Need a loan? Shuffle, shuffle: full house! Need to pay taxes? Shuffle, shuffle: jack high. The Family Business is run like Robert Maxwell's. No wonder he's fond of Ghislaine. No wonder he sold his yacht.

The story behind the story is why nobody shut him down, and that touches on a different thing: his business is secrets. He hides his own (see: Stormy Daniels) and finds out the secrets of others. (See: Falwell Jr.) Even granting the fact that the IRS has been systematically disempowered, I would stake decent money on him having blackmailed or bribed his way into avoiding the kind of scrutiny that the Family Business deserved.
posted by holgate at 8:22 PM on September 27 [22 favorites]


People come up with lots of reasons why they use initials or first names when referring to women. The actual reason is sexism.

This is a derail spun off from a funny username-based gag. JFK, LBJ, FDR and many others would agree.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:25 PM on September 27 [34 favorites]


> >Anybody know why Jared Kushner suddenly deleted all his tweets?

He didn't - his account had no tweets to delete. The same claim was made a couple years ago, and wasn't true then as well.


Which begs the question - why does he have a Twitter account in the first place? ....I'm wondering if Trump's inner circle is using Twitter DMs to conduct clandestine conversations.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:31 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


Which begs the question - why does he have a Twitter account in the first place?

Because it's first come, first serve with Twitter names. If you're in the public eye, it's worth controlling your name on Twitter, even if you're not going to tweet.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:34 PM on September 27 [18 favorites]


Mirax: This makes no sense. Assuming he is servicing the debt today, however it's structure or accounted for (which is he is, otherwise he'd already be insolvent), he will just term out the debt. Haven't you ever renewed a mortgage?

You might be interested in this Twitter thread. Looks like a lot of the debt isn't being serviced. And as a bonus, it's personally secured!
posted by un petit cadeau at 8:35 PM on September 27 [11 favorites]


Here's why I think this really matters. If you've ever donated to his campaign, and those yard signs and hats and godawful flags for your boats can't be cheap—you have to be thinking about how you've been conned. Many people reading this have paid more income tax in the last year than Trump has in a decade.

Then you look around. Schoolteachers are buying supplies with their own money. Nurses can't get PPE. Our infrastructure is tatters. And every rich asshole has been using rules like this to carry debt forward to reduce their tax burden for ages, rules you can't use because the system isn't set up to grift on that scale.

I've suspected for years that I've paid more than Donnie has, now I know for sure that I have. And I don't mind paying taxes, because I LIKE schools, roads, clean air and water. But I know that I live in a society, many people choose to ignore that.

However, when they see the notice that this orange asshole has been losing money for years, and using their donations to his campaign to enrich himself? I think some of them are going to finally wake up and see how they've been cheated. Not all of them, but some. I got fleeced once by a "knock over the bottles with a baseball" booth at a traveling fair. It's been decades but I still feel the shame and anger that I let them fool me. I picture people seeing this news, and then looking at how much junk they've bought to brand themselves a fascist.

My hope is that a bunch of flags and signs go quietly in the dumpster and never get spoken of again after today. Again, not all of them, because for some the cruelty is the point. But another bit of his base chipped away.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:41 PM on September 27 [29 favorites]


I put up a Biden sign in the bloodiest red state this past week, and it lasted two days. I promptly replaced it, but I can’t keep doing that.

Also, it took over two weeks to get the sign from the Biden store proper. The knockoff manufacturer was faster, but not by much. Maybe that is a factor too.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:42 PM on September 27 [11 favorites]


Given the stunning consistency of Trump's approval rating in the face of ... well ... everything, I don't see this or anything else mattering to the votes. I mean, the effect of the impeachment was only about 1.5 percentage points on approval and disapproval, and that didn't last.

And once again, Trump won because electoral college - essentially he got 1.5% more voters in the right places, so winner-takes-all rules got him all the electoral votes from just enough states.

It's appalling that his approval has stayed steady at about 40% for pretty much his entire presidency, but it's also a sign that he has to do that again. (Setting aside, of course, all the bullshit & lies he's spewing about mail voting and various voter suppression tactics & the Supreme Court.) Depressing as it may be, this election could well hinge on a couple percentage points difference in votes.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:43 PM on September 27 [9 favorites]


"why does he have a Twitter account in the first place? "

No, yeah, lots of people camp out on empty twitter accounts. My brother is (these days) a semi-prominent lawyer and a dude who shares his name with a high-profile, frequently-arrested heroin addict who posts HORRIBLE THINGS to twitter. My brother learned his lesson to camp on his name on every. possible. social. network. after his employer 10 years ago, before he was remotely important, called him into the managing partner's office and asked, "Were you arrested for heroin possession in Pennsylvania last Tuesday? And also why did you tweet such graphic and disgusting things?"
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:43 PM on September 27 [15 favorites]


Less important that the direct effects on voters, but it's at least good this has been getting national daily news coverage here in Japan today. Japanese people that I talk with are generally a lot warmer to Trump than he deserves, mostly because they only hear/care about him in relation to Japan's concerns with China and North Korea. Exposing more of Trump's dirt internationally should at least help more of the world to see him for who he really is.
posted by p3t3 at 8:55 PM on September 27 [8 favorites]


More merch derail: Also, it took over two weeks to get the sign from the Biden store proper.

I'm still waiting on Biden Harris stickers and a t-shirt I ordered August 28th. T-shirt on its way, maybe I'll have the stickers before the election.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:00 PM on September 27 [4 favorites]


I'll be interested to check in with David Cay Johnson as this story develops. He has focused a lot of his investigative effort on the Trump family finances and taxes (book, online reporting project).
posted by JDC8 at 9:00 PM on September 27 [4 favorites]


All the cynical ha ha nothing matters folks are just blowing smoke, sharing their feelings.

The only real data we have about what voters think is federal elections held since Trump took office, and the Republicans have been getting trounced.

Yes, there's evidence Republicans will try some stuff to try to rig the election. They tried some stuff two years ago too. We should definitely be prepared for problems, but it's just a bunch of what-if scenarios. Anybody claiming to know what will happen is guessing.

What we do know is a whole lot of voters got upset at Trump and have been turning out in the last few years and Republicans have lost a bunch of elections. That's much better evidence of whether bad news about Trump swings elections than counting campaign signs in yards.
posted by straight at 9:01 PM on September 27 [25 favorites]


The yard sign thing is interesting, though not really interpretable in any systematic way. I'm in a suburb of Philadelphia, and while my borough is strongly Democratic, the county leans Republican, and when I moved here in 2017 there were still quite a number of Trump signs up a year after the election from assholes who really wanted to make sure everyone knew where their allegiances lay. But now? In my borough there's Biden/Harris signs up everywhere, which isn't surprising, but almost no Trump signs anywhere in places they used to be. There are plenty of "We support our police" and similar signs up in the places I'd expect them, but those same yards don't have Trump signs. I doubt this translates to a large shift in overall politics, but I hope it at least signals a shift in enthusiasm, and maybe some of those previous Trump voters are too turned off by everything to actually cast their vote for him this time. Again, unlikely to be a large shift, but in Pennsylvania even a little bit could mean a lot.
posted by biogeo at 9:04 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


I'd like to ask any professional cosplayers what they think about his hair budget - $70000. He could look like Super Saiyan Goku, and that'd be pretty rad, but he ends up with whatever the hell that is?
posted by adept256 at 9:20 PM on September 27 [14 favorites]


I spotted this elsewhere:

Federal income taxes paid in 2017 (jointly with spouse): Joe Biden - $3,742,974 Kamala Harris - $516,469 Bernie Sanders - $343,882 Elizabeth Warren - $268,484 Donald Trump - $750. Chart.

He paid more in taxes to Panama ($15,598), India ($145,400), and Philippines (156,824) than he did here in the U.S. Chart.
posted by adept256 at 9:36 PM on September 27 [27 favorites]


I would hope that the Biden/Harris campaign will be doing some message testing in the next couple of days to figure out which aspects of this story are most damaging, and with what audiences.

My guess is that the "Trump is a loser who loses money" part may have legs, and so will raising questions about to whom he owes the $400+ million. But I really don't know - presumably they can do some focus groups, small surveys, or whatever else they do when they want to hone their approach on an issue, and figure out how to message this before the first debate happens.

In the meantime, this has already given Trump one news cycle's worth of bad press, and probably will be a big story for a couple more days, until the debate. After that, it depends on what else the NY Times may have, and when they release it.

It would be nice if this, or something else yet to break, would constitute the proverbial knockout blow. That may not be necessary, though. Every day that Trump is playing defense is a day that he's not closing the gap with Biden, and the clock is running.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 9:39 PM on September 27 [6 favorites]


I found it interesting to know that conservatives are rationalizing this using trickle-down theory and sound business investment strategy. Trump is an economic risk taker, creating jobs for thousands of workers, and the unquestionably legitimate "tax code" provides tax exemptions for such risk taking in business. Trump is like Amazon's negative profit strategy, sinking money into business development, so the resulting massive deductions are financially and economically sound.

They are unconscientious arguments. I'm looking forward to the next Paul Krugman essay explaining this, though.
posted by polymodus at 9:44 PM on September 27 [4 favorites]


It looks like the article takes pains to be fair–noting what is not included, how what is shown may be legal and even normal business practice. For instance, “Tax records do not have the specificity to evaluate the legitimacy of every business expense Mr. Trump claims to reduce his taxable income…”
That being said, the source is not disclosed.
From the Article: “Over the past decade, President Trump has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015,” Mr. Garten said in a statement.
OK. You dispute what’s reported. It’d perfectly fair for you to dispute this. Publish the actual tax returns–or instruct the IRS to do so (I believe Garten knows their boss)–and prove it.
Otherwise, you are just responding to a well thought-out article in a reputable news outlet (willing to lay that reputation on the line) with, basically, “nuh-uh.”
Ultimately, Mr. Trump has been more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life.
Pretty much what has been described for the past 4-5 years.
And within the next four years, more than $300 million in loans — obligations for which he is personally responsible — will come due.
This creates an interesting situation. I’m, not sure the office would protect him from foreclosure on a personal debt, though I’m sure this is more the “Trump Organization.” If they did, it would definitely burst the bubble of him being a “successful businessman” once and for all.
But, I can see him thinking (and, perhaps, the truth in practice), that the office might shield him. Would a bank want to foreclose on a sitting president? A lot of Trump business practices seem to be some variation of “too big to fail”–his defaulting would have blow-back sufficient to impact the creditor. I could see foreclosing on POTUS make a bank pause.
For the rest, he took advantage of a provision of the Great Recession bailout that allowed income from canceled debt to be completely deferred for five years, then spread out evenly over the next five.
Given the attacks on Obama by him and the Tea Party for this bailout, I can’t help but feel this is ironic.

At the end of the day, it sounds like most of what he’s done is taking legitimate rules, and exploiting them. Plenty of businesses do this–I read the section about consultants, and recalled all the battles about the line between “contractor” and “employee.” It looks, though, he did it in a very Trump fashion: he did it a lot and repeatedly. It almost sounds like some sort of check kiting scheme writ large. As long as he keeps shuffling money around and keeping one step ahead of any regulating body, he could keep it going until he dies. Then screw anyone who he hasn’t already screwed.
Unless he truly fails as a businessman, paying only $750 in taxes won’t matter. The source will be questioned, or it will be seen as evidence of what a smart businessman he is, etc. Only if his shell game falls apart will it matter.
It’s not going to make a difference, because, when it comes to Trump, little does. Everyone has pretty factored in it’s highly likely his businesses are likely tanking, probably in Putin’s pocket, probably did quid pro quo with Ukraine and other countries, probably committed sexual assault, probably paid for an abortion, probably used the N-word, probably has health conditions that should have him removed from office, probably…the list goes on. His detractors are disgusted by it on its face. His supporters push me-tooism, plausible deniablility, “it doesn’t matter,” rationalizations, or even seeing it as a feature-not-a-bug.
We can only hope that the steady disapproval over 50%/approval not much better than 40% is reflected on November 3.
posted by MrGuilt at 9:46 PM on September 27 [3 favorites]


Mr. Trump reduced his taxable income by treating a family member as a consultant, and then deducting the fee as a cost of doing business.

As a small businessman with many small businesspeople friends, I'm quite familiar with this as it is a common ... practice.


Paying a friend's company who are consultants is a common practice as a small business. It can even be a family member (although thar be dragons). What's not common is to have an executive-level employee of the business starting a side business as a consultant and getting paid from the main business. It's double-dipping and has weird tax things going on. That's a big no-no. The IRS frowns on it heavily.
posted by ryoshu at 9:49 PM on September 27 [23 favorites]


People vote for Trump because he makes fun of the people he hates. This is why he's able to come out of every previous scandal so far. No one doubts he exaggerated his wealth, even among his loyal base. Truth does not matter anymore. Did anyone honestly think anything but this was in his tax filings? If anything he's a bigger hero: a man who managed to bamboozle the IRS.
posted by geoff. at 9:55 PM on September 27 [8 favorites]


Yeah I don't see this moving the needle at all in the election, on its own.

However, a blizzard of constant bad press and revelations is sure to depress his team and his base. Even if just a small % stay home on election day because it's become a little more embarrassing to be a Trumper, it's a win.
posted by chaz at 9:59 PM on September 27 [7 favorites]


Which begs the question - why does he have a Twitter account in the first place?

Per deep MeFi alum espiers: he bought the very best iMac and installed Windows on it. That's who he is. He is not going to do any fucking thing on Twitter but he is going to have an account.
posted by holgate at 10:12 PM on September 27 [5 favorites]


The yard sign thing feels like a massive derail to me (not to mention that counting yard signs is about as useful a predictor as investigating the entrails of an animal or talking to the an old white dude in a diner in Ohio).

Trump has a massive base; if you look at his net approval ratings for instance, once you get past the honeymoon of the first few months and the normalization of deviance from the first year of his presidency, it's been pretty solid at -10% ever since; remarkably solid by historical terms even ignoring how eventful the past four years have been.

But it's not been 100% solid. In January 2019 during the government shutdown, it dropped to -15%; in July 2020 during the height of the BLM protests, it dropped down in towards -16% range again (although it has since come back some). Which suggests that while 42% or so of the country support the guy come hell or high water, there exist 5-6% or so whose support can wane depending on events. I have no idea how you could have a changing opinion of the guy at this point, but millions of people do, somehow. Which means that there exists a possibility that something could move the needle, which is important in an election with the Electoral College, and in an election that has the potential for more GOP antidemocracy effort than usual.

A uniform swing of 5-6 percent last time, and we'd be speculating on whether President Clinton could keep her gains in Georgia and Arizona this time around.
posted by Superilla at 10:27 PM on September 27 [6 favorites]


Having a large amount of personal debt is a common reason for security clearance to be denied. It's funny to think that Trump likely would have been denied clearance if he held any government job other than the presidency.

We never learned the exact reasons why officials refused to grant clearances to both Jared & Ivanka. Of course, the President overruled those decisions and ordered them to be granted anyway.
posted by theory at 11:30 PM on September 27 [19 favorites]


It's hard to believe the 70K for hairstyling when he uses TREsemme TRES Two hairspray.

*TW/"CW* for suicide attempt

Posting this because by the end of July the Campaign Legal Center nonprofit filed an FEC complaint, alleging "the president’s reelection campaign and campaign committee hid $170 million in spending to major vendors as well as family members and associates by diverting the money through firms headed by Brad Parscale, who was replaced as campaign manager earlier this month, as well as other senior campaign officials." (CNBC, July 28, 2020; 81-page filing) : On Sunday, after a brief standoff with police, Trump adviser Brad Parscale was hospitalized under Florida's Baker Act. At CNN: According to Fort Lauderdale Police Department Sgt. DeAnna Greenlaw, Fort Lauderdale police officers responded to Parscale's residence "in reference to an armed male attempting suicide."

Bill Stepien replaced Parscale as Trump's campaign manager in July (USA Today, July 16, 2020), in the aftermath of the Oklahoma rally, but Parscale continued to "oversee digital and data strategies" and serves as a senior adviser. His relationship to the Trump family "dates to 2011, when his digital marketing firm Giles-Parscale was hired by the Trump Organization to build websites and develop media strategies" and his involvement with the company ramped up in 2015, right before Trump announced his presidential bid.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:39 PM on September 27 [6 favorites]


We've talked about security clearances here before and I recall debt being a red flag during the screening process, with a relatively paltry six-figure sum a predicate for further scrutiny. This guy is on the hook for $421 million in loans, and it's all due in the next four years. That's a far bigger story than the headlining $750. Given what he's done to merely smear an opponent, what may he do to squirm out from under half a billion in debt? And when his time comes to choose between his money and the country, which is in the next four years, I suppose then you can talk about the $750 he thought was a fair price to pay.
posted by adept256 at 11:48 PM on September 27 [16 favorites]


The Parscale thing looks dangerous; I wonder whether anyone in the Trump organization realizes how often a suicidal gesture is a prelude to a major spillage of the beans, should a person possess beans to spill.
posted by jamjam at 11:57 PM on September 27 [13 favorites]


You'd think so, considering that was how Manafort joined up in 2015.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:07 AM on September 28 [2 favorites]


It's not directly related to tax, but the latest episode of Trump Inc has some interesting and entertaining new information suggesting why Qatar's sovereign wealth fund maintains a very expensive - and very empty - office in a San Francisco building part-owned by Donald Trump. They've called the episode The Empty Office at 555 California Street, but it could just as easily have been titled How To Rent A President.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:35 AM on September 28 [15 favorites]


Trump owes $400 million and apparently only has around 1 million left in his stock portfolio. Anyone with this much potential debt is legitimately a security concern. Also, for a guy who goes on and on about the stock market it's interesting that he's dumped basically all of his own.
posted by xammerboy at 2:16 AM on September 28 [8 favorites]


The tax data is clear. Trump buys hotels, then pumps more money into them than they are worth while they continue to lose money. It's almost unthinkable he's doing this for any reason other than to launder money. Will it make a difference? Who knows, but I think we are going to see a lot of reputable papers and news organizations saying outright that Trump is probably a criminal, and perhaps a Russian stooge.
posted by xammerboy at 2:35 AM on September 28 [24 favorites]


I think the simple message from the tax story is that Trump thinks people who pay taxes are suckers and losers, same as military members and veterans are suckers and losers, same as he regards his supporters as “disgusting” (according to Olivia Troye’s report.) He’s Leona Helmsley (“the little people pay taxes, we don’t pay taxes”) all over again.
posted by Sublimity at 4:41 AM on September 28 [11 favorites]


MrGuilt: Given the attacks on Obama by him and the Tea Party for this bailout, I can’t help but feel this is ironic.
But to turn that long arc of failure into a giant refund check, he relied on some deft accounting footwork and an unwitting gift from an unlikely source — Mr. Obama. ... Until 2009, those coupons could be used to wipe away taxes going back only two years. But that November, the window was more than doubled by a little-noticed provision in a bill Mr. Obama signed as part of the Great Recession recovery effort. ... His total federal income tax refund would eventually grow to $70.1 million, plus $2,733,184 in interest. He also received $21.2 million in state and local refunds, which often piggyback on federal filings.
All of the "why are we bailing out Wall Street instead of normal people?" questions of 2009 are still relevant.
posted by clawsoon at 4:55 AM on September 28 [15 favorites]


“It has become evident that those who do not pay taxes do not only commit a felony but also a crime: if there are not enough hospital beds and artificial respirators, it is also their fault,” [Pope] Francis quoted verbatim from the article.
posted by clawsoon at 5:06 AM on September 28 [26 favorites]


This facade of business success, I'm reminded of a raconteur who once said (paraphrased) the problem with doing things for cosmetic reasons is that you get cosmetic results, and like many cosmetic surgeries those results are often ludicrous, embarrassing and horrific. This is literally true with his bronzer and hairspray, but also with his response to the pandemic. The numbers are terrible, and his reaction is to change the numbers to look better. Only appearances matter, even though the slightest scrutiny reveals the ugly truth.

I wonder if he broke character and took a dog for a walk. Would he carry those little plastic bags? I don't think so. Maybe he would prefer a can of gold spray-paint, and proudly proclaim what a wonderful gift his dog has given to the city.
posted by adept256 at 5:20 AM on September 28 [6 favorites]


It's also worth noting that when it was discovered that Nixon only paid $793 in taxes in 1970 on a $200K salary, it was enough of a scandal that it started the tradition of presidents releasing their tax returns.
posted by spinn at 5:36 AM on September 28 [28 favorites]


I like the timing of this. The news story last week was Ginsberg and there was a real threat that Trump was going to successfully ride into the debates as the standard bearer of the culture wars. He will still try to do this, but the tax returns puts the spotlight back on him personally, as a failure and a fraud.
posted by storybored


During the debate I would love to see Biden ask: So tell us, Don, as a businessman are you a failure or a fraud?
posted by Pouteria at 5:48 AM on September 28 [7 favorites]


Does no one else think that it is strange that with all the hundreds of gears in the machinations of Trump's finances that his tax bill was the exact same amount, $750, two years in a row? Sounds to me like "pick a number" so I can say that I pay taxes.

I wonder if he claimed the $1200 stimulus check this year.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:49 AM on September 28 [7 favorites]


Though I am not surprised that he is in deep debt and probably also has a smart accountant, I am surprised that he made so much off of The Apprentice. That explains a lot.
posted by mumimor at 5:52 AM on September 28 [3 favorites]


And The Apprentice TV show didn't pay for doing his hair? He had to pay $70,000 out of his own pocket?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:54 AM on September 28 [9 favorites]


He probably only trusts an elite team of personal hairdressers, and they have to sign an NDA, to conceal the true horror that lies beneath.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:10 AM on September 28 [15 favorites]


One thing to remember with the debt pile is that it doesn't know about the value of the assets purchased. It may be that case (esp if re-elected and a good target for bribes) that in a year or two he could find willing buyers of those properties to come out ahead.

I think this is great for Biden. A drip drip drip whispering "con man" is the perfect demoralizing agent. Biden hasn't been super out there because re-election campaigns are mostly a referendum on the incumbent ... which happens to be a fine thing to have if you are Biden. Some debate / commercial zingers will be good. "Did you pay more than $750 in taxes last year? Did you live the high life in your luxurious resort and spend time in your summer mansion? Maybe you should ask what Trump is really doing for the tax code, because we know how he likes it."
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:20 AM on September 28 [1 favorite]


In 2017 my partner and I paid $2,344 in Federal income taxes after all deductions, refunds, etc. Meaning I paid 3.12 times more in income tax in 2017 than Donald Trump did.

And the Republicans, I flat out guarantee it, will be perfectly fine with this. They've already got one defense prepared, the idea that tax evasion means he's smart and successful and anyone objecting is just jealous that they weren't as smart as Trump. The other, for people not quite willing to go that far, will be performative cynicism claiming everyone cheats on taxes and the only reason we know or care about Trump is because of politics.

That's the one my boss, who is one of those Republicans who doesn't really love Trump but will never say that Trump is bad either, will take. It's his stock approach to all political issues, to give a world weary look and take refuge in the cynical idea that all politicians are liars, crooks, thieves, cheats, and the only reason anyone cares about Trump is just because they're hypocrites and want to pretend their politicians are better.

I'm personally betting though that the real MAGA cultists turn Trump's tax evasion into a rallying cry and a positive good, a thing they praise him for.
posted by sotonohito at 6:22 AM on September 28 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, on Fox News's website, the top story is crime in Chicago and the Trump taxes story is nine headlines below that one.
posted by emelenjr at 6:24 AM on September 28 [3 favorites]


I spent time recently in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, a town of about 8000 people way in the northwest, awash in Trump signs.

I own a property in Elbow Lake MN (15min south of Fergus Falls) and drove down there to do some work on it on Sunday, and all along the freeway is Trump, Trump, Trump -- but I was happily relieved when I got to Elbow Lake the truck dealership on the northwest end of town has a big Biden sign and there were three houses in our little two-block neighborhood with Biden signs and only one Trump. Also, the DFL seems to just recently been getting out the Biden signs, here in Clay County they've just become available, so I'm hopeful that there's more Biden support in rural Minnesota than you might think.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:28 AM on September 28 [4 favorites]


Let me consult the chart.

* The tax returns are Fake News.
* Okay, they're real, but it is a federal crime for the NYT to have them.
* They _actually_ show that Trump pays massive amounts of taxes.
* And if they don't, it's because Trump is a SUPER STABLE GENIUS who plays the system like a champ. <- WE ARE *HERE*
* It doesn't matter because everybody does it. Especially hypocritical Democrats.
* He shouldn't pay taxes anyway because the tax rates are way too high.
* Ukraine! Hunter Biden! Her Emails! Drug Tests!
posted by delfin at 6:28 AM on September 28 [19 favorites]


this taxpayer paid multiples of the president's reported income tax and qualified for affordable care act subsidy
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:40 AM on September 28 [8 favorites]


The best thing that could happen now is a leak of the corresponding valuations of his properties that are under bank-fraud investigation by the SDNY.

That would make the fraud loud & clear.
posted by Dashy at 6:47 AM on September 28 [8 favorites]


From gwint: "he won't have the federal government to use for his personal benefit"

Yes and no. He won't be in a position to do business on behalf of an entire country, but he will reap the benefits of being a former president--including personal protection for himself and his family for the rest of his life, and that protection extends to his travels. So he could wind up spending a lot of taxpayer money. I would want to see a law passed that puts a spending limit on the cost of protecting former presidents--that they are not covered for international travel. /derailrantsnarl
posted by datawrangler at 6:56 AM on September 28 [11 favorites]


I’m still deep in the “it doesn’t matter” camp. Someone suggested this may unreframe the debates from SCOTUS-driven culture war back to Trump himself. I think the fact that this is basically what we expect from Trump–that it’s been baked into our assumptions about him since the last election–that we’re in for him trying to use the culture war to energize his base.
NoxAeternum: Because it’s first come, first serve with Twitter names. If you’re in the public eye, it’s worth controlling your name on Twitter, even if you’re not going to tweet.
That is a fair point: if you don’t grab the account/domain name you want and someone else gets it, you wind up either getting into a protracted battle with the service (especially if someone is using it in good faith (e.g. if there was someone else who legit had the same name and was in no way trying to misrepresent themselves as famous person)), or see if the owner of the account would be willing to transfer it to you. Either way, it may not be cheap, and may create bad PR.
I had looked at buying MYREALLASTNAME.com many years ago. It was cheap, but I bought “mrguilt.com” because, for my application, I favored the shorter name (my surname is 10 characters). I looked at buying it recently…and they want $30K for it.
I’ve snatched the “mrguilt” account on new social media services, even if I’m not sure I’ll use, so I’ll have the claim to the name. As I said, I bought the domain, and have records showing my use of “mrguilt” since 2000 on one service or another.
geoff: People vote for Trump because he makes fun of the people he hates.
I think “owning the libs” is a mentality for the Trump base that goes beyond anything else. I think conservative talk radio has increased this tendency. This is heading in the unfortunately obvious escalation. Slate this morning: “Own the Libs” Is Gradually Morphing Into “Kill the Libs”
clawsoon: All of the “why are we bailing out Wall Street instead of normal people?” questions of 2009 are still relevant.
Because the stock market is the economy, and what’s good for it is good for ’Merica.
datawrangler: I would want to see a law passed that puts a spending limit on the cost of protecting former presidents–that they are not covered for international travel.
I’d take it a step further: any travel (personal or as part of his duties) to venues where the president/former president have an interest will only be paid at a set rate equivalent to what federal agents would pay in that area for “standard” accommodations. There’d have to be some tweaking (there may be legitimate reasons for using a POTUS-owned venue), but you see what I’m getting at.
posted by MrGuilt at 7:09 AM on September 28 [3 favorites]


but he will reap the benefits of being a former president--including personal protection for himself and his family for the rest of his life, and that protection extends to his travels. So he could wind up spending a lot of taxpayer money.

How would that work if he is successfully convicted of several crimes, like he should be?
posted by mumimor at 7:10 AM on September 28


The word "successfully" carries a lot of weight there. This is America, after all.
posted by delfin at 7:15 AM on September 28 [2 favorites]


Let me consult the chart.

Also, once it gets to treason:

- Trump being in debt to the Russians is a good thing, because Russia is the centre of Traditionalist Judaeochristian Conservative Family Values, and Putin has been taking the fight to the (((globalists))) more than any other leader (insert QAnon verbiage here). Having a no-nonsense strongman who has no time for lip service to “human rights” niceties have the US government by the balls is good news for rooting out the Deep State and taking the country back to its values, or something like that.
posted by acb at 7:15 AM on September 28 [5 favorites]


My guess is that once Trump finally leaves office, he is going to move to the nicest country that won't extradite him or have its own grudges, and stay in a compound there for the rest of his life. Maybe some of his followers will form a colony, like the Confederate Brazilians.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:16 AM on September 28 [3 favorites]


And by "going to move," I mean "without stopping from the moment the helicopter leaves the White House."
posted by Countess Elena at 7:17 AM on September 28 [5 favorites]


delfin I forgot to add that final step, and they're doing it right now. Over on /r/conservative the main talking point is people quoting the phrase "I'm more worried about rich public servants than I am about public servants who get rich while in office" at one another.

And yes, plenty of Ukraine, Hunter Biden, and now adding in the latest Project Veritas lie that Ilhan Omar has been literally purchasing votes and therefore the NYT was just trying to distract from the **REAL** issue of Democratic voter fraud with fake news about Trump's totally legal and totally cool taxes.
posted by sotonohito at 7:32 AM on September 28 [4 favorites]


Countess Elena I'm pretty sure he'll just retire to FOX, live in Trump Tower, and never face any consequences for any of his crimes. This is America, and Joe Biden was part of the Obama team's "look forward, not back" approach.

Further, Biden is a true believer in bipartisanship, friendly rivalry with political adversaries, taking the high road, and maintaining norms. Which means he's pretty much guaranteed to be opposed to taking the unprecedented step of prosecuting a former President. To him it'd look like criminalizing politics even if he thinks Trump really is a criminal.

Even moreso than with Americas normal approach of forgiving any and all crimes committed by rich cis het white men, I think there is absolutely no chance at all of Trump being prosecuted and I think the idea of state level prosecutions is simply wishful thinking. At most we'll get a few low level cronies, not Trump family but some retainers, prosecuted. Kushner and all the Trumps will walk. They won't flee because they know they don't need to. Prosecution is for little people.
posted by sotonohito at 7:37 AM on September 28 [17 favorites]


What about all the state level charges which he cannot be federally pardoned for?
posted by acb at 7:39 AM on September 28 [5 favorites]


'Conmen, grifters and criminals': why is Trump's circle so at odds with the law?
“My almost 40 years working in criminal law has taught me that criminals of a particular type tend to associate with other criminals of the same type. There is a comfort level and mutual understanding in such associations.

“So when I see a swarm of conmen buzzing around one particular man, in this case Trump, my experience suggests that it is because they recognize one of their own. And in selecting them to be his confidants, the president also recognized kindred spirits.”
I was reading the great piece posted by Iris Gambol above, and wondered how Paul Manafort is doing now, and this came up, as well as this. The Guardian also has this comment by Tom Burgis: What $2tn in possible corrupt activity reveals about Kleptopia
, showing how this all has its roots in the deliberate breakdown of the Sovjet Union, encouraged and even managed by ideologues from US and UK who were trying out their Randian fantasy society.
I think if a future administration (wether it be in 2021 or in 2025) fails to prosecute Trump and his gang, America will be broken for at least a generation.
posted by mumimor at 7:42 AM on September 28 [13 favorites]


"I'm more worried about rich public servants than I am about public servants who get rich while in office"

I am thoroughly befuddled by this. Did they mix up "more" with "less?"

Is this suggesting that they are more worried about people who entered the office rich as Croesus -- as Trump has always claimed to be -- than people who obtain wealth while in office, implying that the power of the office is being used to enhance their personal wealth?

Or somehow performing the logical double-somersault-and-a-half-twist that Trump was actually not rich when he entered the Oval Office, but he is now, and that is a good thing?

If a public servant gets rich while in office, is he/she not now a rich public servant and part of the first category?

That Joe Biden is rich and Donald Trump is not? Or that the alleged abuses of power re: Hunter Biden, playing off of his father's role to obtain lucrative contracts, are less worthy of worry than being a famous and extravagant man with gold-plated toilets?

What about all the state level charges which he cannot be federally pardoned for?

This is America. If you are sufficiently wealthy and connected, you are generally immune to prosecution and/or conviction for anything but the little stuff. The exceptions are if your actions wound other wealthy and connected people and are too lengthy to ignore -- i.e. Bernie Madoff -- or if you are a C-list celebrity who falls afoul of the IRS (the likes of Martha Stewart, Wesley Snipes, Willie Nelson). Which is one reason why Trump has fought long and hard to keep his tax records sealed away... because he recognizes that taxation is one of the few venues in which he may be vulnerable.
posted by delfin at 7:46 AM on September 28 [4 favorites]


Whoops, my mistake, I mixed up the two.
posted by sotonohito at 7:47 AM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Fair enough, carry on. :)
posted by delfin at 8:03 AM on September 28


Hi. FWIW, I'm going to withdraw my knee-jerk comment above about the committee being the reporters' source. I know one of the reporters a bit from my former career in journalism, and that person does have great sources in NYC real estate and finance. It's more likely someone in that circle was a source.

I will say that from my year working as a Hill staffer, and from much more time reporting on Washington, that staff can and do leak information. Select committees like this one, much less often. Still, I would have tried to run my findings past them for verification, because I wouldn't trust a single source on a story this big. You might get limited help that way.
posted by martin q blank at 8:04 AM on September 28 [10 favorites]


This is the thing, right? When someone is entrusted with the public trust it should be a sacrosanct thing. It should be the most harshly punished thing in the country because of the power it imbues the receiver with. Instead we've let deviance slowly be normalized within the political system and we have a body politic who's resounding response is either "meh" or to completely withdraw from the political process. We've allowed it to become partisan and JFC are we reaping what we've sown on that one.

No matter which party the person who commits the wrong is, we need to gain (restore?) the ability to go after political malfeasance with the best resourced investigators and prosecutors on the planet.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:12 AM on September 28 [14 favorites]


I agree that facts won't sway the forever Trumpers, but what will is making him flail. They want to associate with his image of a successful tough guy (it's all kayfabe, remember?). But the more Trump starts looking weak, defensive, and no longer in control, he's going to lose his appeal. They may not switch to Biden, but they simplely won't bother to show up to vote.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:15 AM on September 28 [13 favorites]


My guess is that once Trump finally leaves office, he is going to move to the nicest country that won't extradite him or have its own grudges, and stay in a compound there for the rest of his life.

That “country” being Florida.
posted by photoslob at 8:24 AM on September 28 [1 favorite]


On the twitters the red herring I’m seeing from the true believers (or trolls) is that Trump donates his entire salary to charity so he therefore has no income, checkmate libs!
posted by misterpatrick at 8:26 AM on September 28 [7 favorites]


certainly, his salary as POTUS is his one and only source of income
posted by delfin at 8:30 AM on September 28


Does he really give his salary to charity? Because his history says no.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:31 AM on September 28 [2 favorites]


Yeah and if you do the math on that "donation to charity" it's akin to someone earning $100k a year donating $12.90 to charity. Wow. Much donation. So charity.
posted by cooker girl at 8:32 AM on September 28 [5 favorites]


I think there is a pretty big difference with Obama's "forward not back" and the present situation. GWB and co (prob including one current SC justice) broke the law with respect to torture and surveillance, but they did so with an (arguable) good faith belief that this was necessary for the safety of the country and ongoing military operations. No POTUS wants to be second guessed on those questions. Cheating on taxes before you were in office isn't going to get the same free pass, nor do I expect actions clearly for personal political gain like we saw in Muller report. Those are basic rule of law issues.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 8:35 AM on September 28 [6 favorites]


Does he really give his salary to charity? Because his history says no.

Apparently, this is one of the campaign promises he's kept. He's consistently donated his presidential salary. Not to charity, though - he's been donating it to various federal departments (his last three quarters' worth of salary went to a division of HHS responsible for "fighting the opioid crisis").
posted by hanov3r at 8:41 AM on September 28 [3 favorites]


Time to start calling him Freeloader-in-Chief. For the past 20 years he's enjoyed living in the greatest country in the world without doing his fair share of paying for it--without doing anything to pay for it. That's what a freeloader is.
posted by Sublimity at 8:47 AM on September 28 [11 favorites]


I don't know, I think if Trump leaves office the next president isn't going to have as much of a choice when it comes to addressing at least the most egregious stuff. Once you get past his reality distortion field and get to where the acts he performed can be discussed dispassionately, it's pretty clear it's essentially a non-stop parade of shit future presidents shouldn't be allowed to do. If this goes unaddressed it will substantially undermine the office over the long term. The next president will be named after a soda if we're not careful. It's clear the GOP thinks this doesn't matter but they don't understand the future and never have--we're not far from legitimacy being a last ditch bulwark against total disintegration as the climate crisis worsens.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:07 AM on September 28 [10 favorites]


I can't wait to hear, "This is all fake, it's all lies, and it also proves there's no Russian money"
And "It's all fake, it's all lies, also whoever leaked it should go to prison."

Wanted to share this, too:
@CZEdwards: This is gonna take some time for me. It’s a LOT.
But remember the #MoneyLaundry’s first rule: Money laundering is the opposite of profit. It always loses money.
Always.
A well run laundry looks very much like a badly run legit business.

posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:08 AM on September 28 [29 favorites]


Money really isn't real* if you** can spend your entire adult life in varying degrees of massive amounts of debt to God knows who and still live a life of luxury, like a "real" rich person. The more I think about this the more abstract it all gets (because I've never taken an economics course).

* for "rich" people
** a "rich person"
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:11 AM on September 28 [5 favorites]


Time to start calling him Freeloader-in-Chief. For the past 20 years he's enjoyed living in the greatest country in the world without doing his fair share of paying for it--without doing anything to pay for it. That's what a freeloader is.

Now wouldn't that be a great sound bite for the debate?
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:13 AM on September 28 [3 favorites]


Leading links from the Drudge Report tell a quick story:

NYT: Trump has paid no federal income taxes for much of past two decades...
Records show significant gap between what he told public and what he disclosed to authorities...
LOST MORE MONEY THAN MADE?
FINANCED EXTRAVAGANT LIFESTYLE WITH USE OF BUSINESS EXPENSES...
'Can you believe how f*cking stupid the IRS is?'
FLASHBACK: Ripped Obama 20.5% Rate...
WIRE: National Security Threat...
Biden ad compares to what workers pay...
DEBATE TOMORROW...
Will not shake hands!
Expectations Game...
MAGA LOYAL: White men backing Donald say they can't be swayed!

posted by philip-random at 9:14 AM on September 28 [5 favorites]


the real charity was the graft we committed along the way.

speaking of which: that coif cost is the first graft graft i've ever seen. truly hair-raising!
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:20 AM on September 28 [14 favorites]


But remember the #MoneyLaundry’s first rule: Money laundering is the opposite of profit. It always loses money.
Always.
A well run laundry looks very much like a badly run legit business.


I would like to learn more about how money laundry works, are there any good sources that are not twitter?
posted by mumimor at 9:28 AM on September 28 [2 favorites]


Here's a basic How To Launder Money article.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:32 AM on September 28 [11 favorites]


Leading links from the Drudge Report tell a quick story

Holy crap, when did Drudge go full-on anti-Trump?! I knew he had some dust-ups with Trump recently but damn!
posted by photoslob at 10:01 AM on September 28 [2 favorites]


his employer 10 years ago, before he was remotely important, called him into the managing partner's office and asked, "Were you arrested for heroin possession in Pennsylvania last Tuesday? And also why did you tweet such graphic and disgusting things?"

When my employer learned how to use the Google, we had a brief meeting to verify that I, a 35-year-old Canadian, was not actually a 21-year-old New Zealander who had been sentenced to ten years in prison for trafficking heroin. They were just doing due diligence to make sure I had not, in the six months since sentencing, escaped prison, emigrated, changed my accent and — to judge from the photos — gained four inches of height and seventy-five pounds of muscle mass and gut. Turns out I was not. (Note: at the time of my namesake’s sentencing, I was working for my employer.)
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:02 AM on September 28 [13 favorites]


He's doing everything my right wing relatives heard about in the myth of the "welfare queen" except on a scale about 100,000 times greater.
posted by cmfletcher at 10:14 AM on September 28 [17 favorites]


Yes but you see it’s different because he’s a Business Man Job Creator and he uses all that money to create new jobs.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:19 AM on September 28 [3 favorites]


Fanfiction, courtesy of my senior aunt & uncle: Biden sweeps, then steps down after the election (citing a minor health issue), handing the reins to Harris -- a gloriously incandescent Fury who proceeds to decontaminate the Attorney General's office and use every legal lever available to throw the book at Trump. A & U speculate the NYT source is Melania Trump, reasoning that since she files jointly with her husband, she's signaling she'll cooperate with authorities to avoid being prosecuted for the same financial crimes.

Mae Capone paid $52K for a tax lien on a Miami estate her husband bought in her name, then unsuccessfully sued to have the money refunded. (Al Capone's unpaid tax debt totalled $215K; additionally, he was fined $50K and ordered to pay an estimated $100K for the prosecution costs in his case.)

My Google name doppelgangtry tend to be nurses, teachers, and social workers, they're really doing us proud.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:20 AM on September 28 [10 favorites]


He won't be in a position to do business on behalf of an entire country, but he will reap the benefits of being a former president--including personal protection for himself and his family for the rest of his life

Make the Secret Service protective agents mandatory reporters and watch him disclaim the shit out of any protection in a femtosecond.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:20 AM on September 28 [6 favorites]


“There’s no way Trump can wiggle his way out of this one!”, he posted for the 200th time in the past 4 years.

As Boston College historian Heather Cox Richardson notes in her daily newsletter (recommended by someone here - thanks):

The tax returns ... suggest that Trump’s desperation to stay in office is sparked by the 1973 Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel memo saying a sitting president cannot be indicted. Former inspector general of the Department of Justice Michael Bromwich tweeted “Trump knew something we didn't when he started balking at the peaceful transfer of power. If he loses the election, he faces federal and state prosecution for bank fraud, tax fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud, as does his entire family. No OLC memo will spare him.”

The New York AG and others do, indeed, seem to be laying in wait for him.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:24 AM on September 28 [32 favorites]


Can’t they still move on his family even if he’s still president?
posted by Selena777 at 10:45 AM on September 28


"That makes me smart".

Yeah but...Biden's had a good four years to think of a strong counter to this assertion, and I fully expect one. I can imagine a few myself but I've got no doubt he's ready for this attempt and has a quiver full of counters that have tested really, really well.


"It's smart to be 400 million dollars in debt with no income?!" [shakes head, chuckles]
posted by Gelatin at 10:47 AM on September 28 [5 favorites]


This particular grift really does show the difference between the two parties in word anyway (I wouldn't be qualified to comment on deed.)

The whole populist/right wing "reduce government spending" really does come down to paying fewer taxes. I don't think this will significantly hurt Trump among his supporters at all, because they have been listening to a stream of ideas that foster the idea that all governments but their own (which varies) just waste money and spend, spend, spend. I remember tuning into Dave Ramsay - I think I heard about his show here - and hearing him just go off on taxation when for me, I dunno, I don't want to be a chump but the first time I saw I owed taxes I kind of felt like I'd started to arrive, earning-wise.

But on right-wing radio there's no idea of a social safety net; politics is like supporting your home football team through thick and thin and you just hope and pray for a Good Job which is the only decent way to acquire a home, healthcare, etc. And that's why the populist leader has to prove he created jobs and cares about jobs right at the top of his priorities, whether those actually occur or not. And sure enough, I clicked on ONE link about this story on Twitter and the first response was "well at least the President created jobs, unlike sleepy Joe." :P

Whereas a vision that includes some level of medical care for everyone, or other social spending, is in opposition, and in that world, taxes are not people's favourite things and there's always room to argue on what's a priority, but they consider them at least partly necessary...and even maybe have some pride in contributing them, when they feel good about their use.

The populist anti-tax response makes me sad; it reminds me of watching people with abusive dads who (I am not kidding) ate steak in front of their kids while the kids got spaghetti, not just pre-1970, and then complained about the cost of sneakers and went on about how hard they worked. Sometimes I think Trump is the Jungian Bad Dad that his supporters are locked into a generational traumatic dance with.

Anyways...
posted by warriorqueen at 10:55 AM on September 28 [13 favorites]


Eric is ducking a grand jury subpoena as we speak.
posted by cmfletcher at 10:57 AM on September 28 [7 favorites]


I've read a couple of Reddit threads about people who voted for IMPOTUS in 2016 but won't now. A lot of them took what to me seems an incredibly long time to turn on him, but they did. For many of them the tear gas/bible show was the final thing. This may not make a huge difference, but it will make a difference.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:05 AM on September 28 [8 favorites]


A well run laundry looks very much like a badly run legit business.

I'm no expert, but my understanding goes something like:

Run a high-volume business (like a bar or a pizza joint, or maybe a hotel or a golf club).

If profits are huge because you've deposited dirty money straight into your business acct, the IRS might ask for proof that you've actually done all those sales/business. They might ask for receipts of the liquor you bought, or ask for your water bill.

If there's just enough of a loss, no one asks for proof, so those receipts don't need to be real. Deposit lots of "sales", create fake expenses, money is clean.

Hotels seem like a great way to create fake sales or expenses, now that I think about it.

At some point in several years of consecutive losses, you have to prove to the IRS that it's actually a profit-motivated business and not just an expensive hobby you're trying to write off, but I'd guess selling and buying another one takes care of that.
posted by Dashy at 11:06 AM on September 28 [7 favorites]


IMPOTUS "runs the country like a business" like the mob ran the restaurant in Goodfellas. "Business bad? Fuck you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? Fuck you, pay me. Place got hit by lightning, huh? Fuck you, pay me."
posted by kirkaracha at 11:16 AM on September 28 [10 favorites]


One more personal story of signs and portents ... we recently moved to an outstate Minnesota neighborhood that for reasons of topology has only one road into it. Nobody comes here who doesn't live here or come to fix a roof or mow a lawn. Two house, than a third one had Trump signs long ago. One house in particular became covered in Trump flags and posters. They just kept coming, like the giant "Trump train" flag added to the front of their house. Super-fans, decorating like it was Halloween.

In the past couple of weeks a Biden sign or two showed up on lawns, and suddenly there was a blossoming of signs, including many for down-ballot candidates. The only audience for this display is neighbors of this small cluster of houses. It's as if people wanted to assure one another that those of us who aren't voting for Trump aren't alone, a kind of neighborly solidarity.

It's odd. But it has been a lot more cheering to take a walk in the neighborhood lately.
posted by zenzenobia at 11:19 AM on September 28 [36 favorites]


Forbes reporter (author of White House, Inc.) is doing a rundown of the Times info, bringing in other material, and says that 45 is at least in debt to the tune of $1.1 billion dollars . . . also breaks down real estate assets valuations, etc. Good spreadsheet nerd material!
posted by pt68 at 11:22 AM on September 28 [19 favorites]


I love the Aunt & Uncle fanfic above. Even without a quick resignation, though, I can easily see Kamala Harris taking the lead on fumigating DOJ and pushing Prez Joe hard not to forgive or forget any of the past four years' sins...
posted by PhineasGage at 11:23 AM on September 28 [9 favorites]


The total debt really doesn't mean much unless you're comparing it against the assets. At the very least, the value of the assets acting as collateral for those debts. If you can show positive cash-flow and the assets are still worth at least as much as the debt he can probably refinance.

At least, that's the argument I would make if I were actually running a legit business well and someone was concerned about my debt. So I expect some version of that argument from Trump-land and it'll help to have done that homework.
posted by VTX at 11:27 AM on September 28 [2 favorites]


Hotels seem like a great way to create fake sales or expenses, now that I think about it.

They seem like a bad one to me - endless logs of credit card receipts and stays booked far in advance and logged in a computer. If you are a small time money launder, not a grand villain buying IRS agents, then an all cash business with large fixed asset equipment expenses would be much better. Something more like a take-away food business or an actual laundromat would be best.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:28 AM on September 28 [3 favorites]


I've read a couple of Reddit threads about people who voted for IMPOTUS in 2016 but won't now.

My father was a lifelong Republican who voted for trump in 2016 and is now solidly for Biden. You know what the first cracking point was? He retired and went on Medicare. He's diabetic, and took a neck injury in a fall that led to partial paralysis, numerous surgeries and physical therapy to regain mobility, but thanks to Medicare, and his pension and health plan from a federal career (civilian, but for the military), he's doing well and can stay living at home in relative comfort. Now, after a veritable lifetime of voting republican and decrying entitlement programs, he thinks everyone should also have access to quality healthcare.

The second big crack was the abject disrespect and derision trump has for military service members. How can you be commander in chief if you openly hate the troops?
posted by mrgoat at 11:28 AM on September 28 [24 favorites]


Forbes reporter (author of White House, Inc.)

That's the same guy who appears in the Trump Inc podcast episode I linked above. He knows his stuff when it comes to Trump's finances.
posted by Paul Slade at 11:38 AM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Re: whether this will matter or not.

In addition to pro-life Republicans and pro-gun Republicans, there's a significant number of "lower my taxes" Republicans. They're not as vocal, and don't hang out on message boards as much, but the one thing we know about them is that they feel like they carry an unfair tax burden. Maybe some of them will be like, 'Yeah, go Trump, way to screw the system" but I bet for some portion of them, the reaction will be the opposite. $750 dollars in income taxes, whether it's legal or not, just feels unfair. It's a visceral, lizard-brain thing...which is what a lot of voting comes down to in the end.

They might not come right out and say this is what changed their minds - no one likes to eat crow -but I can easliy imagine some of them on election day, looking at the decision in front of them, and what they think about isn't Russiagate, or even the pandemic, or even the fact that their taxes might be technically lower under Trump...but all the times they've gotten punched in the gut by taxes they couldn't afford. And then they think: "$750 - ugh. Fuck that guy." Fuck that guy' is a very powerful force in politics. Paying $750 dollars in income tax packs a powerful 'fuck that guy' punch.

Fuck that guy. I'm glad this news is breaking now.
posted by Merricat Blackwood at 11:43 AM on September 28 [28 favorites]


I'm pleased to see that different news outlets are picking out different items to focus on - for example, from CNN (via MSN): Don't miss the Ivanka Trump bombshell buried in the Times tax story:
it appears as though the Times may only have found the tip of the iceberg here.

Why? Because of the $26 million that Trump wrote off as "consulting fees" between 2010 and 2018, none is allocated to any specific person or entity. (The Times figured out the $747,622 payment by matching an amount paid in Trump's tax returns to the same sum reported by Ivanka Trump on her financial disclosure forms filed when she went to work in the White House in 2017.)

So we don't know who received the other $25-ish million that Trump wrote off to "consulting fees" during that time. (Worth noting: The Times reports that Trump wrote off roughly 20% of all income he made on projects over that time to "consulting fees.")

Given the apparent payment to Ivanka Trump revealed by the Times, however, it's not terribly far-fetched to wonder whether all (or much) of those "consulting fees" went through a similar process: Paid to one of Trump's offspring who were serving as both managers of these operations for the Trump Organization and as consultants to the projects as well.
There are plenty of questions here, and the answers will likely make life difficult for everyone else involved in the millions of dollars of payments.
posted by kristi at 11:52 AM on September 28 [15 favorites]


datawrangler: ...he will reap the benefits of being a former president--including personal protection for himself and his family for the rest of his life, and that protection extends to his travels.

With the Secret Service protecting his worthless hide, what does Trump have to fear from Putin's Department of Delinquent Accounts goons? Or is it the possibility of American tax/fraud laws nailing him that is so frightening?

(Whoops, looks like the thread lapped me.)
posted by wenestvedt at 11:55 AM on September 28


Utah here. Was dreading seeing Trump signs - in a relatively quiet upper-middle neighborhood (which admittedly went Hillary narrowly last election) But it's awash with Biden/Harris and some down ballot democratic signs. There is one house a street over I've always called the Eagles' Nest - big straight driveway with beautiful Aspens leading the eyes the whole way up the drive to a glorious mountain home, with Moose antlers for door handles on the massive double door entrance way. It's now flying a Trump flag - so yeah the Eagles' Nest name checks out.

But it is the *only* house (out of about 70 I walk past daily) with any Trump or Republican candidate signage (ignoring a Thin Blue Line flag...but fair play I think they have a cop in the family). Versus at least 20 Biden or down ballot D candidate signs, plus 10 or so more "In this house we believe..." progressive signs. Trump will still win the state of course (anything less then 20% margin of victory for Trump in Utah will likely be seen as Biden doing well - last time Evan McMullin took 21.5% of the Presidential vote in Utah - a lot of which was peeled off from Trump)
posted by inflatablekiwi at 12:01 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


I thought the textbook money-laundering business was a nail salon.

w/r/t our government, sometimes I think I'd appreciate the slightest acknowledgement of, these are employees bad at their jobs.

I think that about all Republican politicians. They're elected as representatives for some portion of our population (a hideously unequal representation at that), but they only serve to further the interests of their friends and themselves. They work for an institution they don't believe in and constantly bad-mouth. They say they're for small government, but they enjoy their salaries, benefit packages, and status; they're forever eliminating services and programs (and the gov't jobs which support these endeavors) which help the public, but are insanely protective of their own positions and power. To them, the federal government serves no purpose -- other than extending endless exploitation opportunities.

But I feel like this has been going on so long, anyone on the opposite side of the aisle has no talking room. We've all been inculcated with the belief politicians are dirty, and if they're caught they're just sloppy. If Biden tried to bring up the shrinking of the Internal Revenue Service, well, that's been happening for ages, including during the Obama administration. And I don't know if You hired your crony, you both lied about his business ties to you in order to steal would land better. In January 2016, Biden spoke about the beginning of his son Beau's illness, when Beau had a stroke and considered quitting his job as Delaware's AG. Joe and Jill Biden's contingency plan, which didn't come to pass, was selling their house to help out financially. I thought it refreshingly honest, this first-hand account, by someone well-regarded in the public eye, highlighting how few protections there are in these situations even for people whose pocketbooks aren't hurting in general. But at the time, I heard criticism in the vein of, Credit Card Joe's been in the business this long, his wife works too, and their fortune's tied up in their house? Like he was a failure as a career public servant, or hiding assets someplace, or simply a lousy money manager.

Eons ago, Gore's gov't-bond investment portfolio (look ma, no obvious conflicts of interest) also earned jeers, but he'd arrived with a full silver place setting in his mouth.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:01 PM on September 28 [2 favorites]


"lower my taxes" Republicans

Yep. My dad is a lifelong R and voted as such in 2016. Don't get me wrong, he likes the racism, but the main thing he cares about is low taxes. He and his friends HATED Trump's tax plan. And they're pretty pissed about the COVID response, too. They don't hate Biden as much as they did Obama and Hillary (gee, wonder why). Worst case, this story will remind my dad and his friends and others like them of their least favorite part of this presidency that wasn't already fresh in their minds.

The base may not ever be swayed, but not everyone who voted R in 2016 is in that base.
posted by lampoil at 12:05 PM on September 28 [13 favorites]


In my experience, people who hate taxes also hate tax-evaders, maybe even more than the rest of us hate them. It does make sense, in a way: if some billionaire doesn't pay his taxes, you will need to pay more to provide for the services your country offers, wether they be the world's largest military-industrial complex or decent healthcare.
posted by mumimor at 12:10 PM on September 28 [7 favorites]


The military costs money. Law enforcement costs money. Roads and bridges cost money. Schools cost money. Social Security costs money. Medicare costs money. All of these things are paid for by YOUR taxes. Ask yourself how it is fair that someone who makes millions of dollars per year is paying less than you, less than your neighbor, less than a college kid with a part-time job. Because every dollar that a rich swindler like Trump doesn't pay is one more dollar out of YOUR pocket. And THAT is the take-home message. Not "he doesn't pay taxes because he's smart", but "YOU PERSONALLY pay MORE taxes because this shitbag refuses to pay what he really owes."

That needs to be said, over and over and OVER to every Trumper. Pick the one with the biggest impact. Gung-ho gun nut with a "support the troops" sticker? Talk about how this cheapskate is head of a military he won't support in words or in money. They get to live in a world where the terrorists can get away with it because of Trump! Senior citizen? Explain again how this grifter refuses to make sure his fair share of the social security fund is covered. They'll be left insolvent, eating cans of cat food and unable to pay for their medication because of Trump! Younger parent with a "Blue Lives Matter" sign in the yard? Remind them that law enforcement and prisons and schools are going underfunded because con men like Trump cheat their way out of paying what they owe. Their kid gets a shit education AND has to live in a world full of violent criminals thanks to Trump!

You want lower taxes without having to give up Social Security, the military, law enforcement, etc.? Make the grifter pay up.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:22 PM on September 28 [48 favorites]


.
posted by Miko at 12:57 PM on September 28


^He's picking your pocket appeals to more people than, say, today's What Trump and Biden Should Debate at the Cleveland Clinic: Why the Hospital’s Private Police Mostly Arrest Black People, via pulse-of-my-heart ProPublica, which is great investigative journalism with an odd headline. I wish his racism (which is tied tightly to his chosen COVID-19 response) outraged more people, but if that were true he wouldn't be sitting where he's sitting.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:57 PM on September 28 [6 favorites]


It seems so simple. No matter what the first debate question is, Biden should just turn to Trump and say:

"You're either a lousy businessman or you cheat on your taxes. Which is it?"

*mic drop*
posted by PhineasGage at 1:13 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


Because it’s *too* simple. He’d go into some spiraling tirade about the complexity of business taxes and that he’s paid his fair share, and how sleepy Joe isn’t sharp enough to even open the discussion, but crooked Hunter Biden would certainly understand. And Chris Matthews will refuse to fact check. And 45’s supporters will make memes about how he just pwnd the Libs again.

You know, as always.
posted by mochapickle at 1:19 PM on September 28 [6 favorites]


Because it’s *too* simple. He’d go into some spiraling tirade about the complexity of business taxes and that he’s paid his fair share, and how sleepy Joe isn’t sharp enough to even open the discussion, but crooked Hunter Biden would certainly understand.

Trump will, of course, do this, or loudly claim fake news - I hope Biden points out that Trump can simply disclose his taxes on his own if he's so confident of his innocence.
posted by ryanshepard at 1:22 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


They had Scarmucchi on CNN this afternoon and the only thing I remember was that he was very impassioned about "like hell that guy spent $70 grand on hairdressers, he's so paranoid about his combover he will only do it himself."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:27 PM on September 28 [16 favorites]


"You're a lousy businessman who cheats on your taxes, and the only reason you're rich now is because Fred Trump was a white-collar criminal. My son Beau was a better version of his father, but you're a worse version of yours, and your sons are worse versions of you."

And then Trump says something about Hunter Biden, Biden goes into his prepared statement while it's still fresh in his mind, everybody gets a soundbite, and we're off to the debate.
posted by box at 1:28 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


Make sure to check out right wing propaganda I mean "real journalism" sites foxnews and wsj before you think any of this is going to matter. The story is barely there and what is there is not making it out to be a thing.
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:30 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


you just hope and pray for a Good Job

With the added pressure due to widespread conservative narrative/cultural belief that if you don't have a good job then you are a Bad, Lazy, or Stupid Person.
posted by soundguy99 at 1:32 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


When my employer learned how to use the Google, we had a brief meeting to verify that I, a 35-year-old Canadian, was not actually a 21-year-old New Zealander who had been sentenced to ten years in prison for trafficking heroin.
posted by ricochet biscuit


Alright, but what about these stories of people going hungry because you don't bounce back?
posted by straight at 1:39 PM on September 28 [8 favorites]


In my experience, people who hate taxes also hate tax-evaders, maybe even more than the rest of us hate them

Unfortunately, we're talking about the US here, where people who hate taxes mostly do so because of a half-century + of propaganda wherein if you give the government money they do dumb shit with it, badly. So tax evaders are like fucking Robin Hood to them, "stealing" their own hard-earned money back from a greedy and incompetent government.
posted by soundguy99 at 1:40 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


Well, I'm not even an American, so I'm not really qualified to contribute and I shouldn't do Presidential Debate Fanfic, but I hope Biden doesn't bring up the taxes thing at all. Donnie will be burning to say something, let him bring it up himself.

Except at the end, Joe says something like "I'm a husband and father and I pay my taxes", and Donnie goes off on one and they have to roll the credits over him rambling on.

Oh, and I hope he refers to him as Donnie.
posted by Grangousier at 1:48 PM on September 28 [18 favorites]


Yeah, talk about defunding the police? I paid more for police salaries in the last four years than Trump did. I've been paying more to fund the military every year than Trump has.
posted by straight at 1:50 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


For tomorrow night's presidential debate, the first of two, at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, 9 to 10:30 p.m. ET, which will be livestreamed, per NPR: What are the topics going to be? [Chris] Wallace selected the following topics:

Trump's and Biden's records
the Supreme Court
COVID-19
the economy
race and violence in U.S. cities
the integrity of the election


The debate topics are not without controversy. Three dozen Democratic senators signed a letter calling for the debates to also focus on the climate crisis, and critics objected to the framing of the fifth topic, saying it conflates the issues of race and violence. The sixth topic comes as Trump has not committed to a peaceful transfer of power.

What's the format? The debate will consist of six segments to address the topics above, with each segment getting approximately 15 minutes. Each candidate will have two minutes to respond to the opening question in each segment. Candidates will get a chance to respond to each other as well.
--
It won't happen, but I daydream about Biden prowling around behind Trump during the debate. The tax exposé will be a non-story by the time the second presidential debate rolls around on 10/15; how does Biden address/reference it on-air tomorrow in any substantive way, given those topics and that format?
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:54 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


Oh, and I hope he refers to him as Donnie.

"Donald", which is what Clinton called him, will be more effective.
posted by thelonius at 1:54 PM on September 28 [2 favorites]


Trump's and Biden's records
posted by kirkaracha at 1:55 PM on September 28


Unless Trump literally dies on stage, the Pundit Class will find a way to pretzel logic a horse race narrative out of the debates.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:56 PM on September 28 [27 favorites]


Everyone will laugh at poor Trump, October 24, 2019
President Trump fears embarrassment more than anything, and nothing would embarrass him more than proof that he isn't as rich as he says he is.

Of all the strange things Trump has done, one of the strangest was his decision in 2011 to be roasted on Comedy Central. Being ridiculed on TV for an hour is hard for any normal human being, but especially hard for narcissists. According to The Huffington Post, Trump stipulated that there be no jokes about his bankruptcies or suggestions that he exaggerated his wealth — in other words, no truths about his finances. Everything else was fair game.
Donald Trump rewrote jokes for his 'Comedy Central Roast' to make him sound wealthier
One original joke went: “What’s the difference between a wet raccoon and Donald Trump’s hair? A wet raccoon doesn’t have $2 billion.” Trump eventually agreed to use the joke as long as the $2 billion was changed to $7 billion. Ross told Kimmel that initially Trump wanted the number to be $10 billion.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:08 PM on September 28 [12 favorites]




Talking to reporters years ago, in the course of a single sentence Trump shaved 1.35 million off his own purchase of that moldy Florida mansion and added 5 million to Russian billionaire buyer Dmitry Rybolovlev's later check.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:27 PM on September 28 [4 favorites]


I think the prosperity gospel enthusiasts already have a lot of arguments for paying as little in taxes as possible.

Here’s how much you had to make in 2017 to pay more income tax than Donald Trump (Vox.com, Sept. 28, 2020) A single adult without kids making $18,000 would have paid more.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:34 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


They had Scarmucchi on CNN this afternoon and the only thing I remember was that he was very impassioned about "like hell that guy spent $70 grand on hairdressers, he's so paranoid about his combover he will only do it himself."

Buying a hairdresser's silence isn't cheap.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 2:39 PM on September 28 [16 favorites]


Every little thing helps. Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania is voting for a Democrat for the first time ever. Source
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 4:05 PM on September 28 [9 favorites]


Make sure to check out right wing propaganda I mean "real journalism" sites foxnews and wsj before you think any of this is going to matter. The story is barely there

I talked with my grandparents a few hours ago, who have Fox News on around the clock. They hadn't heard anything about Trump's taxes. They were remarkably up-to-date on the emerging hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan, though.

Also, I learned that the economy is doing well and unemployment is low.
posted by trig at 4:12 PM on September 28 [10 favorites]


The deduction for donating his salary does not fully offset the income; I believe due to ceilings, he'd be able to claim only a fraction of the amount donated.
posted by achrise at 4:14 PM on September 28 [2 favorites]


With the added pressure due to widespread conservative narrative/cultural belief that if you don't have a good job then you are a Bad, Lazy, or Stupid Person.

Fucking Calvinists ruin everything.
posted by mikelieman at 4:18 PM on September 28 [11 favorites]


Oh, and I hope he refers to him as Donnie.

"Donald", which is what Clinton called him, will be more effective.


The lovely thing is that four days after the debate, when the president* is recounting inventing the tale of his glorious victory in the debate to an enthralled crowd at a rally in Houston, he will have Biden addressing his as "sir" in the tale.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:18 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


With the added pressure due to widespread conservative narrative/cultural belief that if you don't have a good job then you are a Bad, Lazy, or Stupid Person.

Fucking Calvinists ruin everything.


I have read but not confirmed that in 1998, during the inquiry into Bill Clinton's misconduct, the Sydney Morning Herald ran a letter to the editor that read in its entirety, "Thank God we got the convicts and they got the Puritans."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:23 PM on September 28 [37 favorites]


This from Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American:
A piece from Michael Kranish at the Washington Post today reinforced the New York Times story. Apparently, when he was on the verge of personal bankruptcy in the 1990s, Trump tried to trick his 85-year-old father, who was sliding into dementia, into signing a codicil to his will that would cheat Trump’s siblings out of their inheritance and give Trump control of his father’s entire estate. Trump’s mother stopped her husband from signing it.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:58 PM on September 28 [15 favorites]


Fuckface von Clownstick

Something about mock language again and not doing it.

But on an entirely (well, maybe) different note, where I can get yard signs from organizations that are donating to the good causes? The Berlins are looking for a regular BLM sign, maybe Straight Outta Compton style, and a rainbow pride Biden sign. I can't find them through my local DNC outlet or the Biden campaign, and I don't want to just buy from some random Etsy shop. Suggestions either here on the blue where I haven't looked yet or that you know of? We are in NC if it matters, but we can pay shipping.
posted by Snowishberlin at 4:59 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


You know what? America also got the convicts. Georgia was a prison colony until U.S. independence and then the prison colony moved to Australia (1788).
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:07 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


I Paid More In Taxes Than Donald Trump t-shirt, button, & vinyl sticker; dang that was swift, Biden/Harris campaign swag shop.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:14 PM on September 28 [9 favorites]




@AdamDavidson: Some clear implications from the Trump Tax story:
  • He blew through other people’s money. His dad’s. Then Mark Burnett’s. Plus loans.
  • he starts blowing through the most money in 2011, when the known sources disappear.
  • He had a new source of funds.
  • This new source had more money and seems to have put fewer restrictions on his spending.
  • Only question for us as a nation: what is that new source of money?
  • As I’ve written obsessively, 2011 is when he gets into business with the Mammadovs.
  • Soon after, he’s in business with the Agalarovs, flirting with Georgians and Kazakhs with ties to Putin.
  • All of these groups are—between 2011 and 2016—known to be laundering money through golf courses.
  • Golf courses are one of the best ways to launder large amounts of money.

So, next step: look to Scotland. That is where he spent this money, where the businesses make the least sense. The math seems clear: *somebody* was giving him 100s of millions to spend. Until we know who, we don’t know who this man owes and what they know about him.

posted by Going To Maine at 6:35 PM on September 28 [28 favorites]


The New York Times just dropped Part II on Trump's taxes, "Tax Records Reveal How Fame Gave Trump a $427 Million Lifeline".
posted by orange swan at 6:39 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


Time to start calling him Freeloader-in-Chief. For the past 20 years he's enjoyed living in the greatest country in the world without doing his fair share of paying for it--without doing anything to pay for it. That's what a freeloader is.
posted by Sublimity


Parasite is a good word too.

•••••••••

The New York AG and others do, indeed, seem to be laying in wait for him.
posted by ryanshepard


I really really really want to see the NY AG team standing outside the White House on Jan 20, with arrest warrants, cuffs, and orange jumpsuit in hand, and the media in full attendance, all in clear view of Donny, just waiting...

Don't give that fucker a moment of peace for the rest of his days.

•••••••••

The populist anti-tax response makes me sad; it reminds me of watching people with abusive dads who (I am not kidding) ate steak in front of their kids while the kids got spaghetti, not just pre-1970, and then complained about the cost of sneakers and went on about how hard they worked.
posted by warriorqueen


Me and my siblings got so lucky with our father. He was one of those who just always made sure his kids took precedence over him. Piece of cake left over? Give it to the kids. Family needs dental work or new shoes? Kids first. Every. Single. Time. It was never even a decision he had to make, it is just his nature.

Thanks, Dad, you are still the best man & role model I have ever known. :)

(I am pleased to say that in his early 80s he is still in excellent health, very active, and enjoying the shit out of his retirement.)

•••••••••

$750 dollars in income taxes, whether it's legal or not, just feels unfair. It's a visceral, lizard-brain thing...which is what a lot of voting comes down to in the end.
posted by Merricat Blackwood


I am as wary of the likes of Rick Wilson as I am of a rabid cornered dog. But he is right on the money (ho ho) about having to appeal to the lizard brain. Whatever one's policies and campaign tactics, they must take that shit fully into account.

Dura lex, sed lex.

•••••••••

That needs to be said, over and over and OVER to every Trumper.
posted by caution live frogs


Repetition works.
Repetition works.
Repetition works.

See lizard brain.

Paying attention, Dems?

•••••••••

Forbes is saying Trump is worth 3.66 billion, and has a debt load of 1.13 billion.
posted by orange swan


The real question about Donny's finances is not his asset-debt ratio, but to whom he owes that debt?
posted by Pouteria at 6:52 PM on September 28 [8 favorites]


You know what? America also got the convicts. Georgia was a prison colony until U.S. independence and then the prison colony moved to Australia (1788).

Few punchlines stand up to fact checking.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:00 PM on September 28 [10 favorites]


The Parscale story is worsening; at the U.K.’s Channel 4 News, Trump Campaign Accused of Using TV, Digital Ads to Deter Black Americans From Voting in 2016 (Variety link), and last month, still more ledger creativity as Trump’s Scottish and Irish golf resorts spur a new round of scrutiny on his businesses (Politico, August 11, 2020) President Donald Trump appears to have inflated the value of his three golf resorts in Scotland and Ireland in documents filed with the U.S. government, according to a new examination of six years of financial records in the U.S. and Europe.

Ethics experts see national security concern in Trump’s debt (AP News, Sept. 28, 2020) Chef's kiss closer: On the other hand, Barack Obama, in his second term, encouraged American homeowners to refinance their mortgages as rates dropped well below what he was paying, but he said he and his wife were holding off. “When you’re president, you have to be a little careful about these transactions, so we haven’t refinanced,” Obama explained at the time.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:26 PM on September 28 [16 favorites]


Few punchlines stand up to fact checking.

Pedants rarely chuckle.
posted by Pouteria at 8:14 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


The Parscale story is worsening

What does he know, and when did he know it?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 8:24 PM on September 28


Oh, and I hope he refers to him as Donnie.

Will there be extraneous furniture?
posted by pee tape at 8:41 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


If with Trump maybe the coup de grace is not possible, then maybe death by a thousand cuts with this being a fairly deep one? Yes, the hardcore trump humpers are mostly a lost cause, but I think this close to the election it will start to add up for the reportedly 11% who say they haven't made up their minds yet and for at least a subset of others. If not, then goodnight.
posted by blue shadows at 9:12 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


Targeting women, or Black Americans is something that could be done in the pre-Facebook era though. It's the hyper-targeting enabled by Cambridge Analytica, to tiny markets. Eg one set of ads of Black college-aged male Bernie supporters in Wisconsin that have shopped for guns to get them not to vote because Hillary would come for the second amendment and their guns, vs different ads for those that haven't shopped for guns, so they vote because Hillary Clinton wouldn't do anything about guns in schools. Simultaneously, older supporters Bernie supporters who strongly believe in peace could get shown ads playing up Hillary Clinton's war-hawk tendencies. Hopefully we'll learn more details on just how targeted they were went.
posted by fragmede at 9:20 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


From the Forbes article posted upthread:
A representative for the Trump Organization told Forbes that profits ticked up to
Imma stop you right there.
In May 1984, an official from the Trump Organization called to tell me how rich Donald J. Trump was. I was reporting for the Forbes 400, the magazine’s annual ranking of America’s richest people, for the third year. In the previous edition, we’d valued Trump’s holdings at $200 million, only one-fifth of what he claimed to own in our interviews. This time, his aide urged me on the phone, I needed to understand just how loaded Trump really was.

The official was John Barron.

Washington Post, April 2018
Fool me once, etc.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:23 PM on September 28 [17 favorites]


maybe death by a thousand cuts with this being a fairly deep one?

That's how I view things. Every ex-Trump supporter reached a breaking point that was too much for them. Every fresh revelation (insults to the military, this tax info, etc.) is a chance for another tranche of his lukewarm supporters to reach such a breaking point.
posted by nnethercote at 9:44 PM on September 28 [12 favorites]


What an utterly empty life this guy has had. I feel sorry for him. (It would be also good to reshuffle society so as not to reward the murderous, sinews-in-teeth behavior that has gotten him into a position to kill and/or rape so many people, of course. Vote no to hungry ghosts, I guess?) Anyway, wow, I don't think that this guy has had a moment of being okay in his entire life.

Here's to all of us who need to take a moment taking a moment to gather ourselves and breathe a bit before we get into this last stretch.

A cardinal landed on my fire escape today and screamed his head off just to be around for a while. He was right. He gave me time to gather my other human and my cat so everyone could see how red he was and then LAUNCHED OFF, presumably to make the rounds to other tired humans who have been indoors for months and months. Birds are still screaming on handrails, so it's gonna be okay.

Everybody hang in there. Keep hanging in. Keep working. Keep breathing. Keep laughing. Every time you laugh, you're more okay than that miserable ghost, especially if you laugh about nice things or fond things. He's never been able to do that, and that is incredibly sad, and we gotta get him out of power. It would be worse for him if he could understand the horror he's inflicted, but it seems like he got emptied out early. Take pity (if you can; no worries if that's too much energy) and turn the earned real justified anger to your good works. I will sing you a song. Your works are good.

And if you find yourself in the next day or so being pleased that you did all the dishes or you got to take a walk or you got to commit a single tiny act of generosity to an animal or human, please bask in it. That's the good stuff. This president never got to understand that, but we can still keep trying to protect everyone else and make sure that other people can also have the good stuff.
posted by lauranesson at 9:53 PM on September 28 [64 favorites]


It seems so simple. No matter what the first debate question is, Biden should just turn to Trump and say:

"You're either a lousy businessman or you cheat on your taxes. Which is it?"

*mic drop*
posted by PhineasGage


That's a better phrasing than mine.

(So tell us, Don, as a businessman are you a failure or a fraud?)
posted by Pouteria at 10:43 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Brad Parscale, set fire to $170 million in campaign funds, trolled by kpop fans, fired for incompetence (they usually hire people for that). And now there's a bodycam video of him being violently arrested wearing nothing but jorts. Right now I suppose he's wondering where it all went wrong.

I think about people like Cohen, Mooch, Bolton, Omarosa, many more, who all came out to spill their guts for whatever reason. Brad surely knows about the campaign finances and how they lost all that money. Whether for self interest or for redemption, I don't care, just tell us what you know Brad. We only want Donald.
posted by adept256 at 10:46 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


Smith added [sun-sentinel] that “it was evident that Candace Parscale could not safely be left with Brad.”

Officer Timothy Skaggs was the first to arrive at the neighbor’s house, records show. He said he witnessed bruising on Candice Parscale’s arm and face. She told him that the injuries had come from Brad Parscale, though she said she’d gotten them earlier that week.

She also told officers that Brad Parscale had been “stressed out” over the past two weeks and had made comments about shooting himself.


The body cam footage is strange. Candace Parscale seems mostly unfazed, like she's used to it. Then she flashes her (biniki-ed) top. Trumpist or not, the cops didn't treat the dickbag woman beater with kid gloves but they certainly didn't rough him up.
posted by porpoise at 11:17 PM on September 28


So tell us, Don, as a businessman are you a failure or a fraud?

Why not both?
posted by PenDevil at 11:37 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


Right question, Ms Harris. Please keep it in the spotlight.


Kamala Harris to Trump: Who do you owe the money to?.


I am as cautious as anybody about a Dem win, and just as scared of a Dem loss, and I sure don't want to get overconfident at this point.

But this tax thing is starting to smell like the point of no return for Trump. At the very least he is now quite likely to be on the back foot for the rest of the campaign, just when he absolutely cannot afford spending any time on playing desperate defence.

Trump's power to intimidate is probably waining quickly, and in that situation the chances quickly increase of the dam breaking and a wide range of damaging info, from a lot of sources, starting to flood out before the election. It is beyond doubt that Trump has fucked over a lot of people in his life, and certainly in the last four years. People who have not forgotten, still have the receipts, and have been waiting for the right moment. The next five weeks are going to be interesting.

Doesn't bode well for what remains of the Republican party either. Or their klepto-plutocrat puppet-masters. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of sociopaths.

Will we see a massive meltdown from the Manchurian Rage Mango before election day? As long as he is foaming at the mouth, I care not if he is in a white straitjacket or an orange jumpsuit.

•••••••••

"So tell us, Don, as a businessman are you a failure or a fraud?"

Why not both?
posted by PenDevil


I'm cool with that. :)
posted by Pouteria at 12:30 AM on September 29 [6 favorites]


Buying a hairdresser's silence isn't cheap.

Just ask King Midas.

This "leader" certainly has the ears of an ass, and the remarkable ability to turn gold into dross.
posted by basalganglia at 12:58 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


I have read but not confirmed that in 1998, during the inquiry into Bill Clinton's misconduct, the Sydney Morning Herald ran a letter to the editor that read in its entirety, "Thank God we got the convicts and they got the Puritans."

To be fair, Australia's conservative party has noticed this and moved to correct it; hence programmes such as $300m spent putting religious chaplains in schools (with a ban on secular counsellors), to build a religious cultural bloc that can be safely relied on to keep them in power, and “theology” listed as a special industry exempt from Covid-19 travel restrictions. The Hillsongification of Australia proceeds apace, and the end goal is US-style theopolitics.
posted by acb at 1:13 AM on September 29 [10 favorites]


That $421 million loan is making me itch, and the closest I can get to scratching it is the $450 million a Saudi (prince?) paid a Russian Oligarch for the now widely thought to be fake "last Da Vinci", the Salvator Mundi.

Christie's commission is ~12% for items above $200K, I just read, but probably they would have been willing to go a little lower in the case of the most money ever paid for a painting.

So a Russian Oligarch loans Trump $421M, and a Saudi pays him about that much for a painting they both know is not genuine. It's never been exhibited or even seen in public again though there have been a number of opportunities by now, and all enquiries as to reasons have been ignored.

And remember that campaign Ben Salman ran where Saudi Royal family high roller investors all around the world were suddenly one after another ordered back to Saudi Arabia and basically put under luxury hotel arrest until they coughed up the major part of Saudi funds at their disposal?

Maybe those funds were needed for a more specific and immediate purpose than we knew — a major foreign policy initiative, so to speak.

And now I'm really stretching my memory, and I'm counting on Mefites to fact check me on this, but I seem to recall that Trump's first official foreign trip included Saudi Arabia and pundits were puzzled by that, and the trip featured that really weird scene where Trump and select Mideast leaders were gathered around a glowing orb that looked like a blank Globe and put their hands on it. I thought that looked like some kind of occult ritual at the time, but the odd resemblence of that scene to the Salvator Mundi Jesus holding up a transparent globe which represented the world was ultimately not lost on me, so maybe the hands in a glowing orb was merely a way of sealing a deal that could never be written down. Trump certainly looked uncomfortable enough.
posted by jamjam at 2:04 AM on September 29 [14 favorites]


I would just like every reporter to respond talking head canned responses of "Everybody does it" with "How specifically have you done it?" so that all right wing talking heads either have to back track from supporting Trump or go all in and publicly confess to committing crimes.
posted by srboisvert at 2:54 AM on September 29 [33 favorites]


the odd resemblence of that scene to the Salvator Mundi Jesus holding up a transparent globe which represented the world was ultimately not lost on me, so maybe the hands in a glowing orb was merely a way of sealing a deal that could never be written down

I think you are really reaching here - evil conspiracies do not actually telegraph their existence outside of cinema, they do not have anything to gain by tipping people off. It's not like MBS could present the orb-holding as evidence of their agreement when filing a complaint against Trump for not executing his end of the deal.

Also if they really needed to transfer $400m through overinflated art sales, why would they want to draw attention with the sale of the century rather than just overpricing a few hundred minor works nobody really cares about outside of art circles?
posted by each day we work at 3:20 AM on September 29 [4 favorites]


“... why would they want to draw attention with the sale of the century...”

Because, Trump.

I agree that it sounds like a stretch, but I’m not sure Trump has a good handle on lying low.
posted by Kriesa at 3:45 AM on September 29 [4 favorites]


It's 420 million in loans, plural, and debt, not a 420 million loan. I don't know how to respond to a theory based, as far as I see, on one amount of money being in roughly the same order of magnitude as another and the existence of glowing orbs. Donald Trump has probably made some of his money laundering money for various malefactors. There's no need to spin elaborate theories about what he's doing.
posted by rdr at 5:06 AM on September 29 [18 favorites]


It may be a bit of a stretch, but it's a damn good one.

Maybe the painting isn't involved, but it does make sense that the Russians and Saudis are in this together. Both countries are desperate to keep oil and gas prices (and greenhouse gasses) up for at least a decade more while they try to figure out what comes after.
posted by mumimor at 5:20 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


It is very likely that the majority of Trump's sizeable debt is owed to Russia.
A Guide to Donald Trump’s Huge Debts

Instead, he began working with what’s known as the “private bank” side of Deutsche Bank—the division that caters to high-net-worth individuals and that has significantly more leeway to lend money. His various corporations now have four outstanding loans from that part of Deutsche Bank, worth a combined $364 million.
Deutsche Bank is identified in numerous illegal business deals with Trump and the Russian government:
On a day-to-day basis, [Deutsche Bank] continues to be regarded by the Federal Reserve as a badly managed lender with weak money-laundering controls. But somehow the bank has escaped serious sanctions over offences that it has admitted.

Three years ago it accepted guilt over a “mirror trading” scheme, which allowed clients to move $10bn from Russia while circumventing anti-money laundering rules. It seemed an open-and-shut case for the US Department of Justice, which has levied swingeing fines on other foreign banks for illegal cross-border transactions. Investigators interviewed Deutsche staff in a criminal probe. Then: nothing.

One theory is that the justice department is busy bundling together charges, including over Deutsche’s role in the €200bn Danske Bank money-laundering scandal, into one mega-settlement. If so, that augurs ill for the bank’s beleaguered shareholders, who might face another large fine.

A more convincing scenario is that a department where the president has steadily increased his grip is unlikely to punish his main creditor, especially over any Russian offences. In that view, Deutsche Bank’s unfathomable loyalty to Mr Trump is finally paying off.
A whistleblower published documents linking the Russian government to Trump's loans.
The Russian state bank VTB underwrote loans to Donald Trump via Deutsche Bank. Over the course of Trump’s relationship with DB, an inordinate amount of questionable, mismanaged & risky loans approved by Deutsche Bank to Trump required his Personal Guarantee which, over time, also lost its value.

Trump’s team at DB sought out creative ways to circumvent the varied protections DB’s compliance team institutionally implemented, & whether by happenstance or by design Trump’s loans became underwritten by Russia’s own VTB.

I informed the FBI of this in 2019.
The national security implications are not only obvious, but demonstrated by acts of office over the last three years that go outside the scope of banking regulations: Leaving Syria and Crimea to Russia. Doing nothing when Russia commits chemical warfare attacks on dissidents and pays for American soldiers to be murdered. Withholding military aid to weaken Ukraine and coerce it to bolster a conspiracy theory involving Trump's political opponent.

We know his debts exist and that they are sizable. The motives for his actions can be explained by his obligations as a debtor.

If we manage to vote Trump out, we'll need a new host of laws to try to ensure a Trump family member or Trump-like creature can never again get into the executive branch.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 6:05 AM on September 29 [36 favorites]


We only want Donald.

Speak for yourself. Trump is the symptom of a much nastier disease, and his behavior to now was enabled by a whole host of misbehaving assholes.

A lot more people than Trump should face consequences, from massive tax bills to jail time to being placed in stocks in the national mall so we can pelt them with soggy gideon bibles.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:19 AM on September 29 [37 favorites]


and a lot more people than that horror alone should never be welcome in public service or any office of trust again.
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:27 AM on September 29 [11 favorites]


being placed in stocks in the national mall so we can pelt them with soggy gideon bibles.

This is an oddly specific punishment. Not that I object, mind you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:35 AM on September 29 [7 favorites]


It's interesting that the $750 of taxes somehow seems more damaging than all the years of paying no taxes.
posted by carolr at 7:36 AM on September 29 [5 favorites]


carolr: It's interesting that the $750 of taxes somehow seems more damaging than all the years of paying no taxes.

We're funny with numbers. I remember that what made me mad about a $5,000 legal bill was $25 for photocopying. A Canadian cabinet minister was taken down by a $16 glass of orange juice. A number like $750 is relatable somehow, disrespectful somehow, a slap in the face somehow, in a way that millions and billions and trillions aren't. It's a fascinating quirk of our psychology.
posted by clawsoon at 7:55 AM on September 29 [24 favorites]


$750 is such a nice, graspable, specific number. It's less taxes than I paid at my first real job. This guy is living like a Roman emperor and in return he buys the government a mid-range laptop. It's so much more memorable than something abstract like "didn't pay his fair share."
posted by theodolite at 8:06 AM on September 29 [18 favorites]


theodolite: It's so much more memorable than something abstract like "didn't pay his fair share."

Right, because most of us have a specific referent for what we didn't buy with that $750 that we sent to the IRS (OK, which was withheld from our paycheck).

That "mid-range laptop" would have been an upgrade for your kid doing distance learning at the kitchen table, who is still limping along with a device from six or seven years ago.

Or it's the dishwasher you never replaced when yours broke.

For most of us, we know what we could do with $750, but we paid our damn taxes so we don't have it. For Trump this sum is definite "It's one banana, Michael. What could it cost, ten dollars?" territory.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:18 AM on September 29 [26 favorites]


AugustWest: If his losses are greater than his earnings, I am not sure what he should be taxed on. The question to me is did he follow the tax code.

To me this is an argument for adding a wealth tax in addition to an income tax.
posted by clawsoon at 8:41 AM on September 29 [16 favorites]




Polling doesn't mean shit, but still...hook it to my veins!
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:51 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


From the article Clawson posted,

But many respondents who voted third party in 2016 don’t view Joe Biden with the same disdain they did Hillary Clinton.

HMMM I WONDER WHY?!?! IS MYSTERY!
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:54 AM on September 29 [47 favorites]


Adam Davidson, also linked above, is super to follow for a deep dive into the possible money-laundering aspects of the recent releases. I'd quote some, but I can't choose. It's worthwhile to spend some time on his feed.

Here's a threadreader on how the Aberdeen financials point towards money laundering, at least up to the presidency.

and a good Mother Jones longread on same, from Russ Chroma.
posted by Dashy at 8:57 AM on September 29 [9 favorites]


Apparently some of the money Parscale was laundering for the Trump campaign stuck to his fingers.
posted by rdr at 9:09 AM on September 29 [4 favorites]


From rdr's link:

Donald Trump's demoted campaign boss Brad Parscale is under investigation for 'stealing' between $25-$40 million from Trump's 2020 presidential campaign, well-placed sources exclusively told DailyMail.com.

The 44-year-old is also being investigated for 'pocketing' nearly another $10 million from the Republican National Committee, the insiders added.


Dude broke the cardinal rule of thievery, which is never steal from the mob.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:20 AM on September 29 [10 favorites]


Another rule he broke: don't spend the money on anything conspicuous, like a 32-foot boat or a Ferrari.
posted by box at 9:30 AM on September 29 [3 favorites]


I mean the Daily Mail? Really?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 9:30 AM on September 29 [8 favorites]


Yeah that's an interesting allegation but I won't be relying on or clicking a Daily Mail article, and I'd sorta appreciate a warning when it's linked.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:42 AM on September 29 [9 favorites]


Part of me thinks skipping this whole issue as a debate point would be clever for Biden. Trump and his people are doubtlessly expending a ton of effort prepping for it (in the scope of whatever prep they do), and therefore crowding out other stuff from Trump's tiny brain. Biden could skip it and all that effort and space would be wasted.

However, I feel like, "Hey Donald, how do you plan to earn $421 million dollars while in office for four more years?" is a legitimate question.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:43 AM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Trump and his people are doubtlessly expending a ton of effort prepping for it

CNN:
Heading into this year's inaugural general election showdown, Trump has written off formal preparations as unnecessary given the daily demands of the job and instead hopes his brawling instincts and an unguarded embrace of personal attacks will carry him through.

Efforts to focus the preparation-averse Trump on the upcoming debate have occurred in sporadic bursts, including one 30-minute session last weekend. This past Sunday they resumed with a short question-and-answer period utilizing the flashcards campaign advisers prepared to try and hone what have so far been unwieldy attempts to define Democratic rival Joe Biden. Trump did less than two hours of prep total, a person familiar told CNN.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:51 AM on September 29 [10 favorites]


I find it interesting that the Never Trumpers appear to be a bunch of atheist software engineers, while all of the Christians on my Facebook feed are 1000% into The Return 2020 and Franklin Graham's thing, all praying for Trump and the nation and blessings on his Supreme Court nominee.

It feels like being attached to symbols of good and evil is blinding people to actual good and evil. They sincerely, deeply, want to get rid of racism, but someone just has to say the boogy word "communism" and they're instantly turned off a whole set of useful approaches to getting us further in that direction.

Whether $70,000 hair care will shake them out of it, I don't know.
posted by clawsoon at 9:52 AM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Beating Trump in a debate seems like it should be easy, but as Clinton found out it's more like wading into a sewer which turns out to be chest deep instead of ankle deep and also supported by millions of people who believe, or at least want others to believe, the sewer is a brilliant businessman and/or an instrument of God.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:59 AM on September 29 [10 favorites]


clawsoon: A number like $750 is relatable somehow, disrespectful somehow, a slap in the face somehow, in a way that millions and billions and trillions aren't. It's a fascinating quirk of our psychology.

Yeah, was kind of thinking about that when the $750 is held up next to, say, the U.S. military budget while I listened to a chunk of CBC's Ideas last night, which featured a talk by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson:

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson is firmly on the political right. He spent over 30 years in the U.S. Army, was chief of staff for former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell, and is a lifelong Republican.

He believes that Eisenhower was right, and is a fierce critic of the military-industrial complex. Or what he calls "the warfare state," an obvious play on "welfare state." He believes military spending has become an ideological article of faith on the political right —and it is ruining America.


The $750 figure just seems more emotionally potent than trillions of dollars.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:13 AM on September 29 [3 favorites]


I also want to know, in regards to the tax schemes and hotel/resort schemes ... who's running the show? Who's the mastermind? Someone is coming up with and overseeing the strategy and operations that are required for all of this - who is it?

It's not the Mad King. He's demonstrably stupid, incurious, shortsighted, not strategic, cannot engage him in any level of detail at all. This is Rube Goldberg machine, but it's not his design.

Who is it?
posted by Dashy at 10:13 AM on September 29 [13 favorites]


I find it interesting that the Never Trumpers appear to be a bunch of atheist software engineers, while all of the Christians on my Facebook feed are 1000% into The Return 2020 and Franklin Graham's thing, all praying for Trump and the nation and blessings on his Supreme Court nominee.

All the Christians in my feed are promoting Biden/Harris, Warnock, and Ossoff continuously, posting about Black Lives Matter and the lack of justice for Breonna Taylor, demanding answers about the forced hysterectomies at the detention center in Ocilla, talking to people about making a plan to vote, and giving advice about how long to wait for our mail-in ballots before panicking. You clearly need better Facebook friends.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:15 AM on September 29 [12 favorites]


hydropsyche: You clearly need better Facebook friends.

Lol, perhaps. :-) I grew up in an Evangelical church, so those are the Christian friends I've got.
posted by clawsoon at 10:23 AM on September 29


Someone is coming up with and overseeing the strategy and operations that are required for all of this - who is it?

All the same people who are paid to do that at any endeavor of this scale? No mastermind needed when you've got droves of Parscales and Manaforts and Cohens to do the dirty work and armies of lawyers to find the loopholes and shield you from the consequences. Hell, that network is part of what Trump inherited from his daddy.
posted by aspersioncast at 10:31 AM on September 29 [4 favorites]


It's not the Mad King. He's demonstrably stupid, incurious, shortsighted, not strategic, cannot engage him in any level of detail at all. This is Rube Goldberg machine, but it's not his design.

Who is it?


Criminals are never really smart. The criminal mastermind is a fiction, made for novels and movies. But Trump is smarter than he pretends to be. You can hear it on that Woodward tape. He knows his base are the stupid people of America (and he often says it out loud), so he dumbs himself down for them. He is lazy, incurious, shortsighted, and not strategic, and that is what has got him into criming. But he can do as he is told by his Russian/Saudi/Turkish etc. masters and he does actually pay attention to details if he finds them relevant.
posted by mumimor at 10:32 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Dashy: This is Rube Goldberg machine, but it's not his design. Who is it?

Could it not be that the whole thing is patched together by self-interest, everybody putting in just enough to keep the ramshackle thing together as long as some of the money sloshing around drips off in their direction? It's not like he's had a stellar record of business success.
posted by clawsoon at 10:33 AM on September 29 [7 favorites]


An update: It's a day later now and I checked foxnews.com and wsj.com out of curiosity to see what the coverage was.

On foxnews.com, searching for "tax" on the front page gives the following headlines:

Biden releases 2019 tax returns before debate, calls for Trump to release his
Top Republican wants probe of possible 'illegal' release of Trump tax information
Eric Trump rips ‘coordinated' tax report: NYT is ‘carrying Joe Biden’s water’
Rudy Giuliani on Trump-Biden first presidential debate, taxes and SCOTUS nomination

On wsj.com:

Biden Releases Tax Returns Ahead of Debate
Opinion: How the Bidens Dodged the Payroll Tax [me: !!!]
crickets


I did not actually expect that from the Wall Street Journal. I guess my impression was still rooted in the old "right-wing editorials, but vaguely objective news" stance they used to take. Long gone, I guess.

(In short, bringing it up at the debate might be the only way some people even hear about it.)
posted by trig at 10:40 AM on September 29 [8 favorites]


From Adam Davidson, linked above:
Remember:

Money laundering is easy to do.

It requires no special sophistication.

It just requires lying and a bit of showmanship.

You can be a very dumb and bad businessperson and also be a money launderer.

posted by mumimor at 10:49 AM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Sure, I'd guess it's easy if it's a one-machine laundry.

The breadth and depth of the Mad King's operations, though -- not "easy", a transnational crime syndicate (cf Sarah Kendzior). And I expect that it takes some oversight and coordination, or the wheels would have come off somewhere by now.

Self-interested participants, sure, but ramshackle? That's what they want you to think. And the Mad King's ineptitude at business is exactly my point: someone else is running this show.

Remember we're only seeing the very tip of the iceberg. The stuff in the tax returns is what he voluntarily disclosed, to the IRS.
posted by Dashy at 10:58 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


What bothers me is more that this wasn't investigated a decade ago. Again, Trump probably said the quiet part out loud: he paid off politicians to leave him alone. As has been said countless times here on the blue and in some more reputable media: Trump is not the main issue, just the most obvious symptom.
posted by mumimor at 11:03 AM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Bloomberg has blown $100MM of his own money on anti-trump ads. Wouldn't it be fantastic if he bought up Trump's $450MM Debt instead?
posted by onehalfjunco at 11:07 AM on September 29 [12 favorites]


Sadly the absence of Fox "News" coverage of this is why Biden has to bring it up if the moderator doesn't. Piercing their epistemic bubble is more important now than ever before.
posted by PhineasGage at 11:08 AM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Could it not be that the whole thing is patched together by self-interest, everybody putting in just enough to keep the ramshackle thing together as long as some of the money sloshing around drips off in their direction? It's not like he's had a stellar record of business success.

I found myself on the periphery of what you might call an elaborate con some years ago. Not one of its victims but somebody who was probably going to make good money by aiding and abetting the ruse. It was a charity fundraising thing and I figured out pretty much immediately that it was not "on the level". The first hint was I recognized one of the key players from my time working in a TV newsroom a few years before (he'd been implicated in something). The next hint was just the people in general. I didn't trust any of these guys (they were all guys). So I slept on it ... and opted out. Thanks but no thanks. That was the last I heard of it ...

Until a couple or three years later I ran into one of the con-men at a bar. It was late in the evening. He'd had a few drinks. We got to talking. As he put it, the con never happened, ran out of energy before it achieved critical mass, but no big deal, most cons don't ever manifest. The key point being that it was all about "lining up the energies" (this guy obviously had some ex-hippie in his blood -- it was the 1980s).

So how does that work? I asked.

As he put it, it's all about Fools And Their Money. You walk into a room, you look around and certain a percentage of the people in that room are going to meet your gaze in a certain way. Nothing is said but a lot is understood. "We get it, we see what's going on here," is what's understood, "We're not idiots, we see that this thing is not about doing what its press release says, but in shifting as much money as possible from fools' pockets to our own. But it's a sufficiently complicated plan that it's going to take a team to pull it off." And so on. A key point being that, nobody ever says any of this in so many words, not at first anyway, not until you're at the point where you're discussing who gets what, and how etc.

In the case of the failed bogus charity fundraiser, it had been one guy's basic idea but he immediately knew he didn't have the skills or the smarts to pull the scam off on his own, so he pulled out his rolodex, made a few phone calls and set things in motion. I got my call from one of the guys he'd called -- an associate (I wouldn't call him a friend) who knew I was between gigs, short on cash.

Blah blah blah. It's a long and complicated story.

My overall point being that it's entirely likely to me that Trump's the guy with the rolodex in his particular situation. He had the big idea. He started making calls. And given the overall character of the people he was calling, a lot was simply assumed without it ever being said, let alone written down. Welcome to his world.

So I don't think there's a particular mastermind, more like a bunch of fellow travelers (sorry, old school communists), bound by their greed and cynicism more than anything else. Obviously, there are individuals involved who are very good at playing complicated games with other peoples' money, just as there are individuals involved who are good at playing to peoples' vanity, prejudices etc.

Maybe Satan's the real ringleader.
posted by philip-random at 11:12 AM on September 29 [17 favorites]


also, having watched some talking heads spar with some flaks, it would be ideal if he (and talking heads) said "income tax" every time, to preempt deflections conflating, say, property and other taxes, with that tax at issue.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:12 AM on September 29


Who is it?

It's probably at least partly longtime Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg (the second link sources Michael Cohen, who I don't find to be a reliable narrator. The first is ProPublica, who I do), and ousted accountant Jack Mitnick, who I believe Trump inherited from Fred.

Or, asked the LA Times, is the Trump Organization a mirage?
posted by box at 11:20 AM on September 29 [3 favorites]


If his losses are greater than his earnings, I am not sure what he should be taxed on.

That's precisely it. He supposedly had successful businesses, but when it came to tax time he turned around and claimed them as losses so he could then say on paper that "my losses are greater than my earnings". Which begs the question - whether he deliberately tanked them so that he could claim them as losses, or whether he intentionally bought failing businesses so he could claim them as losses - or whether he is just staggeringly incompetent at running businesses and capitalized on the fact that he could claim them as losses.

None of those scenarios reflect well on him, and two of them suggest he was deliberately trying to offset his tax burden by sabotaging his businesses.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:22 AM on September 29 [4 favorites]


I did not actually expect that from the Wall Street Journal. I guess my impression was still rooted in the old "right-wing editorials, but vaguely objective news" stance they used to take

The WSJ is not an actual newspaper, it's the equivalent of the Racing Form for stock traders and fund managers.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 11:23 AM on September 29 [10 favorites]


So I don't think there's a particular mastermind, more like a bunch of fellow travelers [...] bound by their greed and cynicism more than anything else.

Also, it's important to remember how much we're culturally trained to think in terms of an observer: in a movie, large scams or heists or criminal organizations may be variously depicted as masterful or improvisational, barely-held-together bullshit, but they're always shown to the audience.

In real life, most of the time no one is actually watching, and that's why no one sees an obvious scam or criminal organization--or only sees a piece or two. Unless there is a person or organization that is paid to pay attention to everything a particular set of people do, no narrative or story or even nearly complete picture of what's actually happening is available. A journalist or an investigator might see something specific or follow a particular catalyst, but like scholarly research, there is no story there until someone does all the digging around and piecing together so that a narrative emerges to explain what's happening.

In hindsight, sure, it's really easy to see patterns and connect things once someone has already noticed it and pieced it together and suggested what's going on; but when there's nothing but 'this dude is gross and does shady deals,' there's enormous ground to cover to get to 'there is a huge criminal conspiracy here, and this is what it is and who is involved'...especially if lots of it involves massive, international money laundering. And when people do put the pieces together, they often end up dead by poison or exploding car or other unexpected cause.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:35 AM on September 29 [15 favorites]


A number like $750 is relatable somehow, disrespectful somehow, a slap in the face somehow, in a way that millions and billions and trillions aren't. It's a fascinating quirk of our psychology.

Fascinatingly, it's also more potent than $0 would be. You say something is zero, it kind of loses all sense of scale. Something which "has no real cost" in the federal budget might be a five- or six-digit number, but it's zero relative to the multimillions and billions in individual budget line items. Likewise, if you say "he pays no taxes", there's a sense that, OK, the amount of money he pays is unfairly low relative to his income, but only nebulously does it come across as being an actual zero-dollars-and-zero-cents thing. "$750" is a number which is both insultingly low and precise enough to read nonmetaphorically.
posted by jackbishop at 11:35 AM on September 29 [15 favorites]


Beating Trump in a debate seems like it should be easy

Part of the problem facing any Democrat in a Presidential debate is that the US media is loathe to say that a Republican lost or performed poorly. Instead, as long as the Republican doesn't eat a living child on stage, the US media will twist hard to speak negatively of their performance, opting to say nothing more critical than "He held his own" or "He certainly threw some red meat to his base."

It's not the same on the flip side though.

Something as simple as a mildly flat affect on the part of a Democrat is enough to result in a declaration that he or she lost badly. (Eg, Obama in debate 2 vs Romney)

The Democrat will be penalized for being emotional as well. It will be seen as a sign of poor control or being arrogantly dismissive of the Republican and by extension all good ol' everyday folk who support him. (Gore's eye-rolling and sighing.)

Democrats will be dinged for actually discussing the details of any plan (too wonky, too "Inside Baseball"); simple slogan-slinging with no details on the part of a Republican will be evaluated as an amazing ability to drive home their message and connect with the people.

It's gotten to the point where I'm not even sure why we have debates anymore. I feel like studies have shown that debates rarely sway people who actually end up voting. Sometimes it seems it's just something the news orgs do because their script for covering politics calls for it and they don't know what else to do.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:36 AM on September 29 [23 favorites]


I'm not even sure why we have debates anymore.

We haven't had an actual debate since Kennedy/Nixon. Television reduces everything to the lowest common denominator. All we've had for decades are sound bite contests.
posted by pee tape at 11:48 AM on September 29 [9 favorites]


Beating Trump in a debate seems like it should be easy

My sense is that the effective strategy in debating Trump is one that would, for me, disqualify a candidate in any other, less bizarre, circumstance: Biden must completely objectify and de-humanize Donald Trump, and not talk to him but about him and to us, the American people. Treat Trump as an errant, tantrum-having child and manage his behavior, but do not engage with any of it--not the words, not the tone, nothing, he is a problem to be solved, anger to be managed, a cliff to be avoided; but not a person to actually speak with, peer-to-peer, on issues of any substance whatsoever, because nothing in his public behavior has earned him a seat at the adult table, and he doesn't use words as symbolic representations of discrete meaning, so Biden shouldn't accept the fiction that Trump's words are anything but emotional spew in the form of rational language, and act accordingly.

Mr. Biden: I implore you to treat Trump like the child that he is, and please have a conversation with the American people tonight instead. At least that might make the debate meaningful instead of merely spectacle.

yes, some small beacon of hope continues to burn inside of me, I try to keep expectations appropriately low or absent while not snuffing out that pilot light, bc I'll need it later.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:52 AM on September 29 [22 favorites]


The dynamics of the expectations around this debate are interesting in that on the one hand Trump's team has been trying to talk up Biden's debating abilities so as to lower expectations on Trump, who really just has to "break even" to hit expectations. On the other hand, Trump the candidate has been messaging constantly about how Biden is cognitively impaired and on drugs, so for those who only pay attention to Trump himself, Biden only needs to "break even" to hit expectations.

But what are the supposed 11% undecideds really looking for? Probably just an excuse to vote for the guy they were planning on already? But on the other hand, if some of those undecideds are living in the Fox News bubble, this might be the only time Biden has to make his case to them.

In conclusion: I have no idea what is going to happen or what it means.
posted by gwint at 12:00 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Criminals are never really smart.
mumimor, I disagree. I'm thinking of people like US organized crime figures Meyer Lansky, Paul Ricca, and Otto Berman, who were exceptionally intelligent.

For more on money laundering specific to the Trump Organization business model:

Here’s what we know about Donald Trump and his ties to Russia (Washington Post, July 29, 2016) Most notably, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. made that very claim at a real estate conference in New York in 2008, saying “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” Donald Trump Jr. added, “we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
Why does Donald Trump like Russians? Maybe because they love his condos (USA Today, December 15, 2016) Trump first traveled to Moscow in the 1980s, to discuss renovating hotels there. After several bankruptcies made it hard to raise money in the United States for his high-end hotel and condominium projects since the 1990s, Trump, and later his children, traveled to Moscow to talk deals and attract buyers, according to interviews with people who have worked with Trump over the years and news accounts.
Russian elite invested nearly $100 million in Trump buildings (Reuters, March 17, 2017) - Focus on Florida transactions
Trump's Russian Laundromat (New Republic, July 13, 2017) - mobsters and 1980/90s-present luxury real estate investing
Following the Money: Trump and Russia-Linked Transactions From the Campaign to the Presidential Inauguration (American Progress, Dec. 17, 2018)- longer read, with now-familiar names
How Russian Money Helped Save Trump’s Business (Foreign Policy, Dec. 21, 2018) After his financial disasters two decades ago, no U.S. bank would touch him. Then foreign money began flowing in.

When Rodham Clinton tried to be the adult in the debate, she was disparaged. Biden doesn't have the same biases working against him, but now there's the 'respect for the office of the president, if not the president' tripwire that kind of precludes shouting this chump's FULL of MALARKEY during lulls.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:03 PM on September 29 [11 favorites]


It doesn't seem totally crazy to think that this byzantine organizational structure that seems highly optimized for international money laundering might actually have been set up with the help of the FSB or similar for the specific purpose of laundering money. The CIA does this sort of thing, why not assume most intelligence services can/do also? In many ways, setting up something like Trump Organization which is run by a foreign patsy is the perfect way to launder your most questionable cash. If they were to have gotten busted washing money for North Korea, e.g., they could've hung it on Trump and walked away. It was a pretty ideal situation for them even before 2016.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:12 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


I did not actually expect that from the Wall Street Journal. I guess my impression was still rooted in the old "right-wing editorials, but vaguely objective news" stance they used to take

The Wall Street Journal. is owned by Rupert Murdoch.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:16 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


It'd be great if Biden were to simply note every time Trump fails to answer a direct question by barfing up another bowl of word salad. Not engage, just point it out and move on. After a few rounds of that, it'd be hard for even the Trumpers to not see what Trump is doing.

If Biden can't do it, maybe the moderators can. I just wish SOMEBODY would. He gets away with it again and again and again and it's maddening.
posted by bink at 12:17 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


have been set up with the help of the FSB or similar for the specific purpose of laundering money

If so, they used the most obvious and effective misdirect possible: let Trump plaster his name all over everything, and people will think he actually owns all that.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:19 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Someone in the Adam Davidson twitter thread linked to this old NYTimes article, which has reminded me that the entire construction business is loaded with corruption and shady deals, it has always been that way, and that I would never, ever vote for anyone involved in construction. More people should know this.
I am an architect, and when I was young I was a relatively succesful architect. I was 27 the first time someone offered me a return commission of 25% of the construction price. In today's money it would be a million dollars straight up. My former boss, a gentle and poetic architect, always drove fancy cars, given to him by generous developers and entrepreneurs. In his mind, they were friendly people who cared for him.
Last week I was at a conference with some of the local heroes of public housing, people who fight for social justice every day, and even they described a business where it is near impossible to escape shady deals. They may not get involved themselves, but they can see that others down the chain enter the fray.
If you are not in this business, you cannot imagine how normal and ingrained it is, because construction is a business where prices are really hard to define. Well, they are not really, but they are extremely fluid. Writing this, I can feel I could go on for ages, so I'm stopping myself. The point is, for someone who grew up in the construction business, like Trump, shady deals are a second nature.

And for the record, I said no, that first time and all the other times.
posted by mumimor at 12:26 PM on September 29 [17 favorites]


mumimor: "What bothers me is more that this wasn't investigated a decade ago." It bothers me, too - and while it's an old story that lots of white-collar-ish crime doesn't get prosecuted, it's always bugged me that this stuff in particular didn't get pursued to the point of prosecution before the 2016 primaries.

Many Republican politicians are happy to smear their opponents with every bit of dirt they can find. Finding out what skeletons lurk in your opponents' closets is standard procedure for every politician these days. Why didn't any of the other Republican hopefuls in 2016 dig into the connections with Russia, the obvious illegality?

I genuinely do not believe that, prior to, say, June 2016, very many top Republicans wanted him to become the nominee.

What could explain the ultimate failure of Cruz and Rubio and Jeb Bush and all the rest to hammer on this criminal behavior in early 2016?

The conspiracy theorist in my head whispers that the Russians have something on everybody, and it's made them all back off. I mean, sure, there are a lot of allied interests, and once he got the nomination, there was a strong disincentive to publicize his criminal past.

But before then? Why didn't his Republican opponents - not even ONE of them - make his dealings with Russians a huge story, based just on what we knew in 2016?
posted by kristi at 12:46 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


to follow on to TWinbrook8's excellent reminder, Seven days and seven examples of the alliance between Trump and Murdoch (CNN, June 25, 2019); Murdoch And Trump, An Alliance Of Mutual Interest (NPR, March 14, 2017); Rupert Murdoch & Trump are longtime friends with some shared enemies, and less-flattering Trump news items (lawsuits, etc.) are not in Murdoch properties.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:49 PM on September 29


Sorry, that "not" was supposed to go here, not to "National Enquirer owner admits it buried stories for Trump" which is a separate, AMI/David Pecker issue about Trump coverage.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:54 PM on September 29


Recently spotted on Twitter - a suggestion to Joe Biden that during tonight's debate, he should say he'll do a thing where he issues a $750 tax credit to anyone who paid more on their taxes than Donald Trump did in 2016.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:54 PM on September 29 [13 favorites]


The conspiracy theorist in my head whispers that the Russians have something on everybody, and it's made them all back off.

I have long suspected that the NRA is funded partially by Putin-connected oligarchs.
posted by box at 12:55 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Now why in the name of Maria Butina would you think that?
posted by cmfletcher at 1:02 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


box, that links to a 2018 Vanity Fair issue; the Sept. 2019 Senate Finance Committee report "The NRA and Russia: How a Tax-Exempt Organization became a Foreign Asset" has more.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:02 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


Russian Hackers had RNC Data But Didn't Release It - I always assumed Manafort or Trump got access to this data and used it to quell opposition, Roy Cohn style.
posted by benzenedream at 1:39 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


It'd be great if Biden were to simply note every time Trump fails to answer a direct question by barfing up another bowl of word salad. Not engage, just point it out and move on.

I remember Biden doing something similar when he was "debating" Sarah Palin in 2008. I believe both of them were asked what their plan was to deal with the national debt, and she went first and spewed a lot of "never again" nonsense to the effect, if effect there was, that the budget would never get out of hand again on *her* watch [eyeball roll], and then when it was Biden's turn, he snapped, "I didn't hear a plan there." Biden couldn't go after Palin in that debate without looking like a German Shepherd worrying a chihuahua (albeit an incredibly annoying, incessantly yappy, and ill-behaved one that deserved it), but he needn't pull his punches when he's on the stage with Trump.
posted by orange swan at 1:57 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


benzenedream, that would definitely explain it. Thanks.
posted by kristi at 2:02 PM on September 29


House majority leader to colleagues in 2016: ‘I think Putin pays’ Trump
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post.
...
Some of the lawmakers laughed at McCarthy’s comment. Then McCarthy quickly added: “Swear to God.”

Ryan instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”
posted by kirkaracha at 2:02 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


The funny thing about that story is that the Washington Post told McCarthy and Ryan they were publishing the story and Ryan and McCarthy said the conversation never happened. Then the Post told them there was a transcript, and they said there was a conversation but the transcript was inaccurate. Then the Post told them there was a recording and they said it was a joke.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:07 PM on September 29 [18 favorites]


Many Republican politicians are happy to smear their opponents with every bit of dirt they can find. Finding out what skeletons lurk in your opponents' closets is standard procedure for every politician these days. Why didn't any of the other Republican hopefuls in 2016 dig into the connections with Russia, the obvious illegality?

I genuinely do not believe that, prior to, say, June 2016, very many top Republicans wanted him to become the nominee.


One of the recurring antagonists in the Honor Harrington series of novels is a not very bright, not very brave, but very cruel officer who is the eldest son of a member of the ruling class. When certain things come to light, he is stripped of his rank and tossed from the service. As his sentence is declared, his father has a heart attack and dies, immediately putting this former officer in control of his father's House and, more importantly, the decades of records he has of every major and minor transgression other members of the government have been involved in - records that the father had been using to blackmail Important People to do his bidding, now in the hands of the idiot son.

One wonders if Fred had, and Donald now has, a safe somewhere, full of photos and reels of tape and pages of testimony about the shady and unsavory things various political families have been getting up to for generations.
posted by hanov3r at 2:08 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Biden needs to say: "Trump promised to run the United States like a business. He didn't tell us that business would be Trump Casino. Or Trump Airlines. Or Trump University. Or Trump Beefsteaks*. The New Jersey Generals. That went into a lawsuit and Trump won. One dollar. Or Trump Vodka, or that Trump travel agency. . . all of these are real. Excuse me, were real. He is the most incompetent businessman alive."

*I realize Trump Beefsteaks was Trump Steaks, but wouldn't want people to think it was some horse-racing event.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:12 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


One wonders if Fred had, and Donald now has, a safe somewhere, full of photos and reels of tape and pages of testimony about the shady and unsavory things various political families have been getting up to for generations.

Photos of them from the klan meetings Fred used to attend?
posted by bcd at 2:14 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


About the WSJ: It is indeed owned by the Murdochs, and its editorial page has been insane for longer than that. But it used to have some aura of respectability, and it was somewhat conventional wisdom that its editorial and news sections took different approaches, because surely a business paper with unreliable news would lose its audience. See this thread (from when Murdoch bought it, back in 2007) for examples. I barely look at the WSJ, so I missed that it had gone full News Corp.
posted by trig at 2:39 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Trump says “Russia, if you’re listening” was a joke. There’s tape to prove otherwise.
Trump accused reporters this weekend of mischaracterizing comments he made in July 2016 publicly encouraging Russian hackers to attack Hillary Clinton. But the way he described those comments is completely at odds with reality, and there’s video to prove it.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:50 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


"It'd be great if Biden were to simply note every time Trump fails to answer a direct question by barfing up another bowl of word salad. Not engage, just point it out and move on"
I'm hoping that Biden's team have been looking back at the times that Trump has gotten mad at a reporter, said "no more questions!", and stormed off stage in a huff.
posted by TwoToneRow at 2:54 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


I thought Trump said he "never jokes" (in response to some other dumpster-fire event this year). This is all coming full circle and it is delicious, not gonna lie.
posted by sundrop at 2:56 PM on September 29


Also, this: I'm hoping that Biden's team have been looking back at the times that Trump has gotten mad at a reporter, said "no more questions!", and stormed off stage in a huff.

Ever since I learned that there were actually going to be debates (I truly thought that Trump would bail on tradition), I've harbored the secret thought that when the debate ends up going sideways for him, he will storm off the stage in some dramatic fashion. My other thought is that he tries to physically punch Joe out in some sort of fucked-up tough guy fashion. Remember that creepy looming shit he pulled on Hillary? Something like that.

I know it sounds crazy, but I would not put either of those things past Trump at this point. Dude is on the ropes and desperate to make himself look...good? Tough?
posted by sundrop at 3:02 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


If Biden calls him Don, as suggested by Pouteria upthread, he will briefly puff up, then wither and collapse like a Pokemon raid boss.
posted by bink at 3:08 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


bullies hide behind the convention of joking when their threats and jeers are challenged.

speaking of bullies, and recalling the orange horror's deportment in 2016, i suspect it is folly to expect decorous turn taking as in a debate. the question is whether biden can talk over or through when his opponent disregards the conventions of the forum. and whether the moderator will try to moderate or succeed.
posted by 20 year lurk at 3:18 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


One wonders if Fred had, and Donald now has, a safe somewhere, full of photos and reels of tape and pages of testimony about the shady and unsavory things various political families have been getting up to for generations.

Come on, there are plenty of photos in the public domain of Trump with leaders from both parties. The Clintons were at his wedding. He paid them. That is a huge part of his pitch, and it is a problem for the Democrats, even today. AFAIK, Biden has kept himself almost clean of this, which is why he is a better challenger than Clinton was (even though I certainly hoped for Hillary). But the US political system needs to be cleaned out of money and that is a huge task.
posted by mumimor at 3:30 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Outlook not so good. Chris Wallace says he wants to be ‘invisible’ as debate moderator. Will Trump let him?
Wallace said on his “Fox News Sunday” broadcast this week that his goal for Tuesday’s debate is to be “as invisible as possible.”

“I’m trying to get them to engage, to focus on the key issues, to give people at home a sense of, ‘why I want to vote for one versus the other,'” he said. "But if I’ve done my job right, at the end of the night, people will say, ‘That was a great debate. Who was the moderator?’”
posted by kirkaracha at 3:30 PM on September 29


“I’m trying to get them to engage, to focus on the key issues, to give people at home a sense of, ‘why I want to vote for one versus the other,'” he said. "But if I’ve done my job right, at the end of the night, people will say, ‘That was a great debate. Who was the moderator?’”

Fuck this. Wallace knows better than this. Trump is not going to play by the fucking rules, we all know that.
posted by sundrop at 3:39 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


Sometimes "here's one trick that would totally shut him down in a debate" comments remind me of the classic Onion Average Male 4,000% Less Effective In Fights Than They Imagine.
posted by clawsoon at 3:42 PM on September 29 [18 favorites]


On Trump's debate team, trying and failing to prepare him for this evening: Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, and Kellyanne Conway. Biden's has Democratic-debate stalwarts Ron Klain, Mike Donilon, Anita Dunn, and Bob Bauer.

Wallace is 72, Trump is 74, Biden is 77; no one's a first-time rodeo attendee yet this debate promises to be awful shouty. Trump and Biden will talk over one another, and since Wallace hopes to be invisible as it is, I think I'm reading the transcripts tomorrow.

NY Daily News: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris publicly released their tax returns Tuesday, just hours before the Democratic presidential nominee will spar with President Trump in their crucial debate. Biden and his wife paid $299,000 to Uncle Sam on nearly $1 million in income in 2019. Harris and her Hollywood attorney husband paid $1.05 million in federal taxes on about $3 million in reported income. Those payments dwarf by a factor of several hundred times the paltry maximum $750 a year that Trump forked over in the past decade, The New York Times revealed in a bombshell report...

Fox News isn't covering the NYT story (and the Times is covering how Fox is not covering its story), but some Fox viewers are Daily News readers.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:47 PM on September 29


transcripts are always way too generous to and forgiving -- to the point of outright fabrication -- of president khorosho
posted by 20 year lurk at 3:55 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


some Fox viewers are ... readers

Objection! Sustained!
posted by riverlife at 3:57 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


On Trump's debate team, trying and failing to prepare him for this evening: Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, and Kellyanne Conway.

Conway's "leaving to spend time with her family" didn't last a month. I guess for now it will be less mama, more drama.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:05 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Speaking of debate prep...well, here's the likely attempt to change the channel for the debate (WaPo link, just reported, so sorry, but I've included the salient excerpt)...

ICE preparing targeted arrests in sanctuary cities, amplifying president’s campaign theme:

Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, likely will travel to at least one of the jurisdictions where the operation will take place to boost President Trump’s claims that leaders in those cities have failed to protect residents from dangerous criminals, two officials said.

Two officials with knowledge of plans for the “sanctuary op” described it as more of a political messaging campaign than a major ICE operation, noting that the agency already prioritizes immigration violators with criminal records and routinely arrests them without much fanfare.


Dollars to doughnuts, this is what Trump's going to try to talk about exclusively tonight.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:14 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


On Trump's debate team, trying and failing to prepare him for this evening: Chris Christie

Ah, there's a name I was expecting to not hear again until we get the "where are they now?" retrospective in 10 or so years. Chris Christie, the wraithiest of the dignity wraiths.
posted by jackbishop at 4:19 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


So, I'm a little confused about some of this, barely being able to understand my own taxes, let alone anyone else's. With regard to Trumps loans, he has ~400 million of debt could come due soon, which would be awkward, but the Dan Alexander twitter thread linked above (which stopped just as it was getting to this sort of thing) suggest his assets far surpass that number, and indeed surpass his total debt. Are there consequences to selling off assets to cover the debt beyond reduction in income (if they generate profit) and mild reputational embarrassment? I suspect I'm not seeing part of the bigger picture here.
posted by Sparx at 4:19 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Sparx: Are there consequences to selling off assets to cover the debt beyond reduction in income (if they generate profit) and mild reputational embarrassment? I suspect I'm not seeing part of the bigger picture here.

My best guess - and someone with more knowledge can correct me - is that most of Trump's assets are highly illiquid. It might take years to find a buyer for a multi-million dollar golf course, while debts coming due now can lead to bankruptcy now.

And maybe the golf courses themselves are covered by mortgages which would get most of the money from the sale, with not much left over for the free-floating debt? Like having a house that's underwater doesn't help you pay your credit card bill, even if it's worth hundreds of thousands? No idea if this applies to Trump's various properties.
posted by clawsoon at 4:30 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Dude broke the cardinal rule of thievery, which is never steal from the mob.
posted by The Card Cheat

Another rule he broke: don't spend the money on anything conspicuous, like a 32-foot boat or a Ferrari.
posted by box


Contrary to their own view of themselves, these guys are not the sharpest tools in the shed.

What they are is brazen, reckless, and lacking self-restraint. And sometimes that works, for a while.
posted by Pouteria at 4:46 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


If Biden calls him Don, as suggested by Pouteria upthread, he will briefly puff up, then wither and collapse like a Pokemon raid boss.
posted by bink


Rick Wilson suggested a while back that if Trump tries to pull the intimidatory stalking act in the debate like he did with Clinton, then just walk up to him, put your hand on his arm, and ask him if he is okay and needs any help. Like you are gently but firmly guiding a slightly befuddled grandpa back to his seat at a family social event.

Apparently he hates being touched like that, and being treated in this way would be deeply insulting to his (distorted) sense of manliness and control.
posted by Pouteria at 4:58 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]




Huh. Today I learned that Jeni's has a location in Cleveland (or more accurately, in the amusingly-named suburban city of Chagrin Falls).
posted by jackbishop at 5:18 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]




orange swan, the replies in that Twitter link!

- Why is it legal to write off 100% of hair styling for the President, but not 100% of school supplies for teachers?

- At the debate Tuesday Biden should start every response by looking at Chris Wallace and say, “Well that’s the 750 dollar question, isn’t it?”


- For those who insist Trump is a religious man, I'll grant you he pays taxes like a church. (a Stephen Colbert tweet)
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:28 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


Joe Biden says he has his earpiece and performance enhancers ready for tonight.

How is he using such crappy ear buds? Someone get that guy better audio gear!*


* - because Biden and Harris both released their 2019 tax returns, which are important documents for any candidate's accountability to the American people, I know that Joe Biden--unlike Donald Trump--actually has the personal cash on hand for a decent pair of ear buds. Treat yourself, Joe!
posted by LooseFilter at 5:41 PM on September 29


This is good. Somebody needs to get it to Biden before the debate.

“Whether it’s the draft, taxes, or responsibility, you can count on Dodgin’ Don.”
posted by Pouteria at 5:41 PM on September 29


anyway
posted by philip-random at 5:51 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


Huh. Today I learned that Jeni's has a location in Cleveland (or more accurately, in the amusingly-named suburban city of Chagrin Falls).
Jeni's is headquartered in Columbus, so it's not super surprising that they have a store in Cleveland. The Jeni's thing was a little nod to Ohio, as well as being a joke.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:54 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


I had trouble reading that. The page kept turning red for some reason.
posted by sexyrobot at 7:23 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


I screwed up earlier. Tonight is the first of three Trump/Biden debates.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:32 PM on September 29


The vaccine is political, the vaccine is political!

It's biological. Different set of laws altogether. You can't ask a woman to have that pregnancy done in three months, that's not how any of this works. People that know have given us the realistic timeline for this, all he has is a fantasy.
posted by adept256 at 7:46 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


$750 is such a nice, graspable, specific number. It's less taxes than I paid at my first real job.

It is more or less what Mrs Biscuit and I get charged by our accountant to do our tax returns each year.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:29 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Perhaps the most damning is the assertion that while Trump has some businesses that turn a profit, when it comes to his full portfolio, he is king of shit mountain.[...] Smitty the accountant then had the absolute gall to take income taxes that showed hundreds of millions of dollars swirling around and being chopped up like a well-done steak going down the garbage disposal, and write the number 750 on the owed line. Yes, Donald Trump paid $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017. Smitty! Have some damn self-respect. We have only had this information for about 18 hours but I am certain that I have never hated a number more. It's not even 1,000. It's literally a middle finger of a figure. - Here Are Some Petty, Embarrassing Grievances About Trump's Taxes, Elle, Sept. 28, 2020
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:23 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


Those of you who feel nothing will change the Trump voter - for some of them that's true. But not all. Remember after Nixon resigned there was some 18% who still felt Nixon did nothing wrong. With today's social media the repeated voices of support help to make it seem that no one walks away from The Trumpster.

From a road-sign POV there were signs up of both vote for the State conservative Supreme Court Justice AND Trump in part of Wisconsin. After the spring election - both went down. The Trump signs came back up about the time the 'Trump back the blue' style signs came into existance sometime after May was over.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:10 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Why We Let White-Collar Criminals Get Away With Their Crimes, a NYTimes book review. Book, by Jennifer Taub, looks interesting.
posted by mumimor at 11:23 AM on September 30 [4 favorites]


mumimor, thanks very much for that book review - it notes
... white-collar crimes don’t really matter, even though white-collar crime in America “costs victims an estimated $300 billion to $800 billion per year,” Taub reports, while “street-level ‘property’ crimes, including burglary, larceny and theft, cost us far less — around $16 billion annually, according to the F.B.I.”
I had a hunch that white-collar crime cost society a lot, compared to "regular" crime, but it's great to get some actual numbers.
posted by kristi at 1:25 PM on September 30 [9 favorites]


Wage theft is probably the largest theft category, and it nearly never gets prosecuted, or even considered as part of theft.
posted by jeather at 2:03 PM on September 30 [17 favorites]


Wage theft is probably the largest theft category, and it nearly never gets prosecuted, or even considered as part of theft.

This may not be as bad as it sounds. My understanding is that the Department of Labor has a serious hard-on for wage theft, and complaints from regular Janes and Joes are pretty much guaranteed to get a look-see. The penalties for just minimum wage and overtime violations are over $2000 per instance. Like, if your boss has been forcing you to clock out and keep working for the past year, that's gonna be 250 instances. Multiply that by the size of the staff, at a half-million per for a housekeeping company, or diner, or whatever. Plus the worker gets their back pay and legal bills paid.

Prosecutions are of course available, but the statutory penalties the DoL can levy single-handedly are SRS BSNS. And that's just the feds; states have their own wage laws, too.

Of course almost nobody knows that pretty much all it takes is a phone call or email or webpage form submission. If I had a zillion dollars I'd put up billboards that tell people to keep their own records of their hours if their boss is dicking them around. I bet outside Mar a Lago would be a good first buy.
posted by rhizome at 9:57 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]




My thoughts and prayers are with him.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:53 PM on October 1 [3 favorites]


He better not have given it to Biden.

How close have Pence and McConnell been to him lately? Asking for a friend...
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:33 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Hope Hicks too [NYT]
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:36 AM on October 2


I suppose we're expected to pretend to have enough decorum that we don't let on what we're thinking of or praying for.
posted by Grangousier at 12:37 AM on October 2


For the President to die immediately before this election would be impossibly destabilizing for the powder keg that is this nation. Regardless of personal feeling towards the man, it would be really, really bad. Also, I would like to see the justice system deal with him before Herman Cain’s vengeful ghost does.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:52 AM on October 2


Indeed, I think that for him to pass on while this pandemic still rages and while nothing is resolved would be a kind of perfect chaos goodbye for him to inflict on us.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:54 AM on October 2


If he dies before the election he will be converted into a hero, I'm certain of it.
posted by rhizome at 11:58 AM on October 2


Instead of him being a hero, they could make a point of reading aloud the names of all the people who died of Covid that day, in alphabetical order. At two seconds per name, it'll take something like half an hour, and he'll be near the end of the list, and his name will be followed by another right away. Swept away by the stream.
posted by bink at 12:14 PM on October 2 [3 favorites]


they could make a point of reading aloud the names of all the people who died of Covid that day, in alphabetical order

This would make a good filibuster for the Democrats against the Barrett vote. All the Americans who have died of Covid, at 2 sec per name, would take nearly 120 hr. All the Americans infected by covid would take 4000 hr, which would more than run out the year.

The GOP would probably try to invoke cloture, which would make them look like heartless jerks. Which, no surprises there, but several are up for re-election in tight races, so....
posted by basalganglia at 3:36 AM on October 3 [8 favorites]


There's no filibuster on votes for Supreme Court justices. Democrats ended the filibuster on non Supreme Court appointments in 2013. McConnell eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court appointments in 2017. Actually there is a filibuster but it can be broken by 51 votes.
posted by rdr at 6:09 AM on October 4 [1 favorite]


Also that kind of filibuster hasn't happened since the 70s. The times you're thinking of since then were just people burning through a lot of time that had been previously allotted, not a filibuster.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:21 AM on October 4 [2 favorites]




More news today:

Trump got a $21 million tax break for saving the forest outside his NY mansion. Now the deal is under investigation. (Washington Post, via MSN)
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) is investigating whether the Trump Organization improperly inflated the value of Seven Springs as part of the conservation easement on the property, according to filings in the case in August. The investigation also scrutinizes valuations, tax burdens and conservation easements at Trump’s holdings in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City.

Trump’s son Eric, who now helps run the Trump Organization, sat for a deposition in the case Monday.

The Seven Springs appraisal, obtained by The Washington Post, appears to have relied on unsupported assertions and misleading conclusions that boosted the value of Trump’s charitable gift — and his tax break, according to two independent appraisers who reviewed the document at The Post’s request.
posted by kristi at 8:18 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


Oh, man.

Five years ago, Trump promised to preserve more than "150 acres of rolling woodlands," of the 230-acre Bedford property purchased in 1996, and the "size of Trump’s tax windfall was set by a 2016 appraisal that valued Seven Springs at $56.5 million — more than double the value assessed by the three Westchester county towns that each contained a piece of the property." The assessment was conducted by commercial real estate behemoth Cushman & Wakefield (long list of subsidiaries, as of 2018; contact page for executive director Fred Trump [III]), long-time Trump Organization collaborators, and this 'preservation' route was only pursued after Trump spent two decades failing to develop a 212-acre section of the parcel (as another friggin' golf course, and/or McMansions to be built on one of the 24 subdivided lots).

In 2014, Seven Springs was recategorized as an investment property, though "Trump’s family members have described the home as a family retreat in the past, and the Trump Organization’s website still characterizes Seven Springs that way." C&W's appraisal "also claimed the land preserved under the easement had no economic value of its own, which one independent appraiser described as 'crazy.' The tax break is calculated by subtracting the value of the conserved property from the value when it could be developed." [Bolding mine, because boy howdy, that is bold. Westchester County's Bedford, where George Soros owns a home? "Our cost of living indices are based on a US average of 100. Bedford cost of living is 173.1 Housing is the biggest factor in the cost of living difference."]

Cushman & Wakefield Again Named World’s Top Real Estate Advisor by Euromoney (Sept. 10, 2020) (NYSE: CWK) Globally, Cushman & Wakefield was also named the No. 1 advisor and consultant for Property Valuation and Research for the third consecutive year.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:27 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Okay, included Soros above because his was the wealthiest, recognizable neighbor name in the list that turned up after a moment's Googling; in October 2018, during the explosive-device-package spree targeting Democratic politicians, Trump critics, and CNN, one of those pipe bombs was sent to the Soros home in Bedford. But that list mentioned yet another Trump: ?!?! anecdote, lost in these decades of over-the-top stories:

...the Bedford area, known for its horse farms and large country estates, has also drawn celebrities like Bruce Willis, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively and Ms. Close’s "Fatal Attraction" co-star Michael Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, who bought an $11.25 million property there in 2014. It has attracted titans of business, including the likes of billionaire investors George Soros and Nelson Peltz as well as Ralph Lauren and Martha Stewart. [...]

Perhaps the area’s most famous occasional resident is President Donald Trump, who bought a sprawling estate, known as Seven Springs, for $7.5 million in 1995. Mr. Trump allowed then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to pitch a Bedouin-style tent on the property in 2009, when he was in town to address the United Nations General Assembly.

Muammar Gaddafi pitched his tent on an estate belonging to Donald Trump in suburban New York yesterday, according to reports. (The Guardian, Sept. 22, 2009) The Libyan leader is scheduled to attend the UN general assembly this week. He had been struggling to find a plot to accommodate the large Bedouin tent he takes with him when travelling abroad. Workers were seen yesterday erecting a tent and satellites in the glamorous neighbourhood of Bedford on an estate owned by Trump.

Local officials tried to stop them, saying it was illegal to build a temporary residence without a permit. Doors all over New York have been slammed in the colonel's face, but Trump says he has rented part of a large property in Westchester county to Middle Eastern tenants who may be associated with Gadaffi.

posted by Iris Gambol at 9:49 AM on October 9 [3 favorites]


And I've been wondering about the progression of the New York Times series (they said in the first one, additional articles will be published in the coming weeks., and I felt distinctly bad for them after the cascading catastrophes of the past two weeks have overshadowed this story) - now today I'm seeing this:

7 Key Findings About Trump’s Reinvented Swamp (New York Times via MSN):
Federal tax-return data for Mr. Trump and his business empire obtained by The New York Times shows that even as he leveraged his image as a successful businessman to win the presidency, large swaths of his real estate holdings were under financial stress, having racked up losses over the preceding decades.

After the election, his family business discovered a lucrative new revenue stream: people who wanted something from the president.

An investigation by The Times has found over 200 companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments that patronized Mr. Trump’s properties while reaping benefits from him and his administration. Nearly a quarter of those patrons have not been previously reported.

...

Just 60 customers with interests at stake before the administration brought the Trump Organization nearly $12 million during the first two years of Mr. Trump’s presidency, The Times found. Almost all saw their interests advanced, in some fashion, by the president or his government.
Looks like some outstanding investigative journalism.
posted by kristi at 11:16 AM on October 10 [9 favorites]


additional articles will be published in the coming weeks
I've been waiting for these too!

There's also this, from NYT: it seems Mad Bad Business Loser took out a $30M loan on his Vegas casino backed by Ruffin. $20M ended up (this part I'm a little fuzzy on -- how does this get parsed as a distinct flow apart from the rest of his transactions?) in the 2016 campaign coffers. And of course, took a tax deduction for the loan.

1. If candidates self-finance, they must disclose loans and sources of loans.
2. Backing it means Mr. Ruffin effectively made a donation to the campaign that was a wee bit bigger than allowed.
3. The tax deduction means that you and I, taxpayers all, also contributed to the campaign.
posted by Dashy at 11:47 AM on October 10 [7 favorites]


I really didn't get that Ruffin issue. They could have, completely legally, had Ruffin buy out Trump's stake in the partnership. Trump then self-funds campaign. Instead they have fictitious "fees" owed to Trump. I guess they really needed the tax write off?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:35 AM on October 12


One sad thing from this rather transparent law-breaking is that there is now no way Trump tries to avoid pardoning himself, his family, his associates, half the GOP on the way out the door.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:36 AM on October 12


One sad thing from this rather transparent law-breaking is that there is now no way Trump tries to avoid pardoning himself, his family, his associates, half the GOP on the way out the door.

Was there ever a chance of avoiding a pardon flurry? This is only the stuff that has become public, God only knows what's stashed in the top ultra seekrit server where they tried to bury the Ukraine extortion effort. Under a new admin so much malfeasance will be uncovered it would be hard for a new DOJ not to go after it.
posted by benzenedream at 10:21 AM on October 12 [1 favorite]


« Older Inside Ebay's Cockroach Cult   |   "Parts Unknown: Bajor" -- with fake ads Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.