Wednesday, April 10, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He reprised all of his previously told lies on the subject of his taxes, and then took action to prevent any scrutiny of his taxes.

Trump briefly took questions from reporters on the White House lawn today. Among his remarks on the subject of his taxes, Trump said this:

Q: Do you believe (inaudible) law requires you to give Congress your tax returns? 
TRUMP: No, there is no law.

But there is exactly that law.

TRUMP: There’s no law whatsoever.

Yes, there is, although according to a Treasury Department memo released tonight, Trump has ordered his administration to pretend otherwise for the time being.

TRUMP: Now, I will say this: I would love to [release] them.

It's pretty clear Trump very, very much does not want this. What's less clear is exactly what he's afraid of.

TRUMP: What I have done is approximately a 104-page summary — and, really, in great detail — of assets and values.

Trump is notorious for lying about his net worth, sometimes for strategic business purposes—which can be a crime—but especially as a matter of personal vanity.

TRUMP: [F]rankly, the people don’t care.

But polling clearly shows an overwhelming majority of Americans do want Trump's taxes made public.

As investigative reporting showed last year, Trump's inheritance of almost half a billion inflation-adjusted dollars came from illegal schemes to dodge gift and estate taxes. His sister, a federal judge, was recently forced into retirement as a result of the investigation of those charges.

Why should I care about this?

  • People who "would love to" demonstrate their own innocence, usually do, unless they can't.
  • It's wrong to lie, even if it's just for purposes of vanity.
  • Presidents aren't above the law.