Trump’s Tax Lawyer: No Russian Income With a Few Exceptions
That qualifier of course defeats the whole talking point. Still, for Trump’s tax lawyer of all people to be speaking publicly makes him a man of great public interest.
“President Trump’s lawyers say his income tax returns do not show income from Russian sources or debt owed to Russians, with the exception of $95 million paid by a Russian billionaire for a Trump-owned estate in Florida and $12.2 million in payments in connection with holding the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013.”
“The statements are contained in a letter from two lawyers, Sheri A. Dillon and William F. Nelson, of the tax firm Morgan Lewis, to Mr. Trump, which the White House released on Friday. The president cited the letter in an interview with Lester Holt of NBC News as proof that there were no hidden financial ties between him and Russia.”
There you go. I have nothing to do with Russia except two payments of way over $100 million dollars.
As for the house payment of ‘only $95 million dollars’-that I bought for less than half that a couple of years ago. And the buyer is a Russian oligarch who follows me everywhere in his private plane.
But it’s worse than that.
In addition to the Florida estate and the beauty pageant, the lawyers said Mr. Trump received undisclosed payments over 10 years from Russians for hotel rooms, rounds of golf, or Trump-licensed products, like wine, ties or mattresses.
But they said those amounts were “immaterial” and would not have been identified as coming from Russian sources in the tax returns.
So how is Trump’s lawyer able to give us this clean bill of health will all these provisos that make it not a clean bill of health as Trump is still in the throes of the world’s longest audit?
It seems to me that these statements by Trump’s tax lawyer will be very persuasive for those who believe in taking Trump at his word. You know, like Trump U victims.
Those who want actual evidence-not so much:
“The White House on Friday released a letter from two tax attorneys for President Trump claiming that Trump’s only income from Russian sources in the last 10 years came from fees for hosting the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013, his sale of a Palm Beach mansion to a Russian businessman in 2008 and his company’s routine sales of condo units and golf games to Russians.”
“The attorneys said their analysis came from a review of Trump’s tax returns for the last 10 years. However, they did not release the returns or provide any documents to support their claims.”
“The letter, from lawyers Sheri A. Dillon and William F. Nelson, also asserted that Trump holds no debt from Russian lenders and holds no equity in Russian entities. They explained that because of the way that Trump operates his businesses, his corporate income and debt would be disclosed on his personal tax returns.”
They would be. Would be if what? Again very compelling if you believe the best way to get to the truth of things is to take Trump at his word with no corroborating evidence.
For those who don’t, this report is a little less useful it seems:
“Daniel Shaviro, a tax law expert at New York University, said that without additional information on Trump’s tax returns and income, the letter from the lawyers is “meaningless garbage.”
“There are too many ways that it could be misleading and incomplete, Shaviro said. “For example, suppose that Russian people controlled U.S. entities that were intermediaries. Or suppose that things were run through Russian allies, including former Soviet countries.”
“He said the fact that the White House would release such a letter with no verification “makes me more suspicious, not less, of the president’s financial ties.”
Maybe the tax lawyers can tell us when the audit finishes. And why he can’t release previous years.
“Critics have raised questions about whether Russians have funneled money through Trump or his projects into the United States. The letter is less clear about whether Trump has borrowed or received any money from Russian sources. It says his tax returns do not reflect any “debt” to Russian lenders, but, depending on the type of debt, it would not necessarily be listed on someone’s tax returns.”
“The letter also says that no Russian sources have “any equity investments” in organizations that Trump controls. That means that Russian sources weren’t legal investment partners on any project the Trump Organization pursued. But borrowing money from Russian sources could mean a number of things and would not necessarily represent an “equity investment.”
“In 2008, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. said at a real estate conference that Trump businesses “see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump Jr. said then.
“If the tax lawyers reviewed Trump’s past 10 tax returns, it is likely they did not review the years that Trump’s son, a top company executive, was referring to.”
“Steven Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center who practiced tax law in Washington for 25 years, described the letter as “very narrowly crafted by clever lawyers.”
Meaningless garbage very narrowly crafted by clever lawyers.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.