In what would be a stunning reversal on an issue central to his candidacy, Donald Trump floated a possible process to allow undocumented immigrants to remain in America in a town hall that aired Wednesday.
“No citizenship,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in an interview taped Tuesday afternoon in Austin, Texas. “Let me go a step further — they’ll pay back-taxes, they have to pay taxes, there’s no amnesty, as such, there’s no amnesty, but we work with them.”
Trump said he was moved by concerns from fans who opposed his previous calls for a “deportation force” to remove all of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.
– Donald Trump Openly Weighs a Massive Immigration Reversal, Benjy Sarlin, NBCNews.com, today [h/t Greg Sargent)
Meanwhile, son Eric helpfully instructed yesterday that tax returns don’t show anything instructive about such things as who, or what entities, actually are funding the purchases of this real estate, how many times refinancing has occurred and how it occurred, who or what entities own partnership interests (and what those interests are), and whether they are profitable and, if so, how much is paid in taxes on that income. Politico's Tyler Pager reported yesterday:
“There is no tax attorney in the world who will tell you to release your tax returns while you're under a standard, routine audit,” Eric Trump said on CNBC. “It would never happen. Anybody who thinks that is in La-La Land. … It would be foolish to do."
Eric Trump added that he is the biggest proponent of his father not releasing his tax returns.
"His tax return, did you see the Twitter picture, it's 5 feet tall," he said. "You would have a bunch of people who know nothing about taxes trying to look through and trying to come up with assumptions they know nothing about.”
Donald Trump’s tax returns have become a key campaign issue with Democrats hammering him for not disclosing them and saying the returns could reveal hidden business interests, particularly with Russia. Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has publicly challenged Trump to release his tax returns, saying he will release his own if Trump does.
Still, Eric Trump maintained he does not think his father should release them.
"You learn a lot more when you look at somebody's assets," he said. "You know how many hotels we have around the world. You know how many golf courses we have around the world. You know every single building we have."
"We have," of course, appears to be loosely defined here. But what we do know, courtesy of Eric’s brother Donald Jr., is that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” and that “[w]e see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” Or at least this was so in 2008, when Donald Jr. disclosed this to his audience when speaking at a real estate conference.
No one need wonder who suggested that Trump hire Paul Manafort to run his campaign, decades after Manafort had stopped being a Republican Party operative. But that’s in the past.
The future, by contrast, holds big things for undocumented immigrants. Multimillions of dollars in tax-free income. At least if they become real estate developers.
Eric’s given away the secret that the Trump University professors withheld. And he did it without even charging tuition.
There does remain that little question of how to go about having unpaid back taxes count for future real estate purchases under the tax code. But if the newly-documented immigrants hire accountants and tax lawyers recommended by Trump’s accountants and tax lawyers, this shouldn’t prove difficult.
And for a partnership interest in the real estate, Trump surely will have his accountants and lawyers provide names.
*ADDENDUM: About one of those extremely leveraged real estate deals:
“I don’t settle lawsuits — very rare — because once you settle lawsuits, everybody sues you,” he said recently.
But Mr. Trump made an exception when buyers of units in Trump SoHo, a 46 story luxury condominiumhotel in Lower Manhattan, asserted that they had been defrauded by inflated claims made by Mr. Trump, his children and others of brisk sales in the struggling project. He and his codefendants settled the case in November 2011, agreeing to refund 90 percent of $3.16 million in deposits, while admitting no wrongdoing.
The backdrop to that unusual denouement was a gathering legal storm that threatened to cast a harsh light on how he did business. Besides the fraud accusations, a separate lawsuit claimed that Trump SoHo was developed with the undisclosed involvement of convicted felons and financing from questionable sources in Russia and Kazakhstan.
And hovering over it all was a criminal investigation, previously unreported, by the Manhattan district attorney into whether the fraud alleged by the condo buyers broke any laws, according to documents and interviews with five people familiar with it. The buyers initially helped in the investigation, but as part of their lawsuit settlement, they had to notify prosecutors that they no longer wished to do so.
The criminal case was eventually closed. Mr. Trump’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination rests on the notion, relentlessly promoted by the candidate himself, that his record of business deals has prepared him better than his rivals for running the country. An examination of Trump SoHo provides a window into his handling of one such deal and finds that decisions on important matters like whom to become partners with and how to market the project led him into a thicket of litigation and controversy.
Trump SoHo is one of several instances in which Mr. Trump’s boastfulness — a hallmark of his career and his campaign — has been accused of crossing the line into fraud.
– Donald Trump Settled a Real Estate Lawsuit, and a Criminal Case Was Closed, Mike McIntyre, New York Times, Apr. 5, 2016
For me this general election campaign has been an exercise in frustration and dismay at the failure of Clinton and her campaign to apprise the public of critically important things about Trump that they don’t already know. Like Trump’s monetary motive for his coziness with Putin, and his methods of financing his real estate empire that included bank fraud and partnerships with corrupt foreigners. Things that make the Clintons’ self-dealing and misrepresentations to the public look utterly inconsequential by comparison.
And like what billionaire is backing Trump financially and calling the campaign shots, and would be calling the shots in a Trump administration. And what those shots would be.
Whatever favors Clinton did as Secretary of State for Clinton Foundation donors, they were trivial in that they had nothing to do with making or changing government policy, it appears. And the Clintons’ rapacious money mongering didn’t defraud banks or individuals. And while it served their personal financial interests well, their foundation did have the effect of actually doing some real good on fairly widespread scale. The Clintons, in other words, aren’t sociopaths. Trump is.
Finally—finally—now, Clinton is angry enough about Trump’s statements about Clinton Foundation/State Department connection that she’s willing to depart from her campaign’s strategy of telling the public what they already know about Trump, but nothing else, because informing voters about the stuff they don’t know would require a slightly complex discussion. Telling people what they already know is quick and easy and soundbite-y. So it’s what her highly paid consultants and top campaign staff advise.
But in a stark, sudden and surprising departure, Clinton is about to begin educating the public about something somewhat complex, something that requires that she tell them things about Trump that they don’t already know. She’s about to explain the alt-right, apparently in some actual depth, and illustrate that Trump is the alt-right’s candidate because he himself is alt-right.
So is his billionaire. The public has no idea he has one, much less what the billionaire’s specific agenda is. And if Clinton finally is ready to tell the public that, yes, Trump has his very own billionaire supporting his campaign with many millions of dollars, she will get some help from John McCain, who obviously reads Angry Bear even if Clinton and her campaign folks don’t. Although, of course, it’s more accurate to describe the relationship as one in which the billionaire has his very own presidential nominee.
Addendum added 8/25 at 4:07 p.m.