Trump suggests to undocumented immigrants that they quickly pool their savings and use the funds to buy real estate in extremely leveraged deals* in order to avoid paying back taxes (or income taxes at all) once they become legal residents during a Trump administration. And Eric Trump agrees!
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.
Broken record time again – I believe the real story here is Trump’s betrayal of his base on one of the issues truly important to them.
This “middle finger” to his most vigorous supporters is another signal to me that the man doesn’t want to move into the White House.
I’ve remarked to friends that Trump will promise to “take their guns” if he needs to do that to lose. If Hillary’s problems get to be any worse, it just might come to that.
There are an almost infinite number of real stories about Trump in this election, but certainly one of the most important is Trump’s financial interest in Putin’s regime, and another, related one is how he finances those real estate deals he constantly brags about.
These don’t get the attention that Trump’s will-he-or-won’t-he reversal on Mexican undocumented immigrants does. But they sure as hell are real stories.
To Beverly Mann August 25, 2016 4:12 pm
It was relatively easy for me to find some stories about the “Donald Trump Russia Connection. Example:
A similar search turned up stuff about Hillary:
Now I’ve never had the slightest doubt Donald Trump is corrupt to the core, but on the other hand I’ve had exactly the same thoughts about Hillary.
Is it your belief Trump is worse than her on that subject? Or given the “Putin’s regime” choice of words, do you maintain Trump is some special kind of traitor for his long-term business dealings with Russia?
In light of Hillary’s declared devotion to “Netanyahu’s regime”, would you say the same about Hillary?
Trump was entitled to his business dealings with Russian oligarchs as a private person, as long as the arrangements were legal. The problem is that he made it clear as a presidential candidate that if elected president, he would look the other way if Putin started, say, annexing some former Soviet bloc countries. He also kept praising Putin, and kept mentioning Putin’s praise of him.
Suffice it to say that there appeared to be no particular geopolitical purpose to any of this. Nor was this a position taken for political reasons; to the contrary, most Americans of Eastern European ancestry, at least those of non-Russian Eastern European ancestry—and there are very large numbers of them in some key swing states—probably were concerned and offended. He does, however, have many financial ties to very wealthy Russians.
As for Clinton’s support of Netanyahu, that was not a personal monetary decision. It was purely a somewhat craven political decision.
There’s a big difference between these two things.
*** The problem is that he made it clear as a presidential candidate that if elected president, he would look the other way if Putin started, say, annexing some former Soviet bloc countries. ***
I was unaware Trump ‘made this clear’. Do you have a link?
*** He also kept praising Putin, and kept mentioning Putin’s praise of him. ***
In what way is this bad? In Putin’s shoes I’d definitely prefer a candidate who at least CLAIMS he’s not going to provoke Russia into a war. Putin’s alternative is a woman who directly compares him to Hitler.
“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.”
Boy Howdy! That would be ME! Guilty as charged. But the problem with this assertion for the Trumps pere et fils is that these same returns would be combed through by people who (collectively) know EVERYTHING about taxes and could then educate people like me. Who could come up with some conclusion about whose math and logic seemed to match up with our best understanding of the world and who was just blowing a turdnado.
Me I am betting on Trump-turd-nado.
Plus you don’t have to be a genius tax dude to understand a schedule of charitable deductions.
For a second I thought I would go through one of Bev’s posts without a shot at the Clinton campaign.
Close, but no cigar.
“. . . the Clintons’ rapacious money mongering. . . ”
Before we accept this standard cant that the right wing also loves to adopt, we in good faith should attempt to process the fact that the Clintons have either paid in Federal, state and local income or payroll taxes or charitable contributions that combined have made up nearly 60% of their gross income. In 2014, that was $16 million they paid in taxes (excluding sales and other indirect taxes) and charitable contributions.
“Rapacious money mongering” is usually associated with accounts in the Grand Caymans or tax inversions, none of which one will find in their many years of disclosed tax returns. One also needs to factor in her apparently accurate observation that when Clinton left the Presidency they had more liabilities than total assets — a condition which one should recognize as being “flat broke” as she said. Of course, the qualifier on that from a strict accounting standpoint is the “good will” that a former President and First Lady that can translate into a comfortable income — but then that good will can only have its imputed value if the potential income is actually generated. If we begrudge the Clintons getting market value for their activities, then, of course, that would be rendering the good will inoperative — meaning, of course, that the “flat broke” description becomes accurate even from a strict accounting standpoint.
A quick response: Just because the right-wing may use the phrase “the Clintons’ rapacious money mongering” doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply. Assume the Clintons were, in fact (in relative terms), dead broke when they left the WH. Since 2001, HRC served a 6-year term as a Senator, a 4-year term as Sec. of State, and 2 2-year terms as a Presidential candidate – and her personal net worth is now $43 million.
Her profession is politics. A professional politician sells influence. For 10 years she made no more than $300,000 per year. For 4 years she was running a Presidential campaign. People who put $43 million in her private hands and untold millions in the coffers of the Clinton Foundation are not acting out of charitable but self-serving reasons. It stinks to high heaven. She is certainly not alone.
1) From Politico: “Two years ago, McCain and former Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) issued a report that named Mercer’s company as among more than a dozen firms that dodged billions in tax payments through a complicated financial product known as basket offerings. McCain said at the time that companies including Renaissance Technologies played “by a different set of rules” and secured an “unfair tax advantage over ordinary citizens.”
Now the Mercers step into the race in AZ and contribute to McCain’s opponent as an act of revenge, of punishment – and a warning.
2) In a letter to the DOJ last December, the Aetna CEO wrote, “Specifically, if the DOJ sues to enjoin the [merger between Aetna and Humana], we will immediately take action to reduce our 2017 [Obamacare] exchange footprint…” The DOJ halts the merger and Aetna withdraws – as an act of revenge, of punishment, and a warning.
Some very clear lines are being drawn in the sand. A billionaire financier feels perfectly free to try and defeat a candidate who, while performing his public duties, castigated rather than protected that financier’s interests. A huge insurance company uses its power to undermine Obamacare because it was denied a monopolistic merger by DOJ.
These are the issues where the rubber meets the road. Do we live in a country where the values and practices of democracy predominate, or where the values and practices of oligarchic capitalism predominate? Just who has the deciding hand in determining how we will run the country? Will we let the Mercers of the world dictate who represents the citizens in Congress? Will we let powerful industrial players determine governmental policy in an area so profoundly important to everyday citizens as health care?
These people are throwing down the gauntlet. We will rule, they say, not the people. They are fixing to run into a Progressive buzzsaw.
We got incompetent incoherence against crooked war mongering.
Bev, I am not near any former ‘east European communities’, have not been since college days. I cannot image in the 60’s or now they would want to tilt with nuclear war over US’ Clinton proclaimed “debt to Estonia” for playing around with US in the permanent Afghanistan wreckage.
“Her profession is politics. A professional politician sells influence. ”
Ulysses’ Grants first profession was as a career Army officer. His second career was as a President/Politician. Which left him dead broke.
How did he make his money in retirement? By the massive sales of his “Autobiography”. John Kennedy didn’t live to monetize his political career. But made a significant amount of money writing books during it. ‘Profiles in Courage’. Or before it ‘While England Slept’.
Your argument takes the form of a syllogism but fails by assuming that politicians can only have one profession and that any other gains thus have to be a consequence. Well it doesn’t always work there. Though of course their is a serious muddle of chicken and egg when it comes to political memoirs.
To Bruce Webb August 26, 2016 11:45 pm
I doubt if it’s reasonable to talk about ‘making money in retirement’ with either Grant or Kennedy. On the wiki list of wealthy presidents, Kennedy is #1 with a net worth of 1 billion 2010 dollars. Any book sales with his name on the cover would have counted as chump change.
Grant could handle troops, but not money. He was deeply in debt and dying of cancer when ‘Mark Twain’ arranged the sale of his memoir. This left his family debt-free but hardly wealthy. On the same “wealth” wiki Grant was near the bottom.
In the opinion of a lot of people including myself, giving many speeches at the rate of $5,000 a minute (then keeping the transcripts secret) isn’t a new retirement job, but legal corruption. Naturally opinions vary….
If you want to make the argument that HRC had a second career to speak of, what is it? During the entire 24 years 1992 HRC has spent 8 years in the WH, 6 in the Senate, 4 at State and 6 running for President – and all 24 of those years in progression towards one ultimate political goal. Where’s the second career? And since the 24-year career is in “public service,” how the $43 million in private wealth?
The only other period in American History that compares to today in terms of legalized bribery as accepted political practice is the age of monopolistic power from 1880-1910. She is not alone in her corruption. In 1998 John Boehner was caught handing out campaign contribution checks on the floor of the House from an industry at the exact same time a vote to protect that industry’s interests was being passed. That is bribery, legal or otherwise. The selling of access to an ex-President and a sitting Secretary of State – both named Clinton — via “contributions” to a “Clinton Foundation” is out and out bribery. I don’t see how it serves the citizenry’s interests to argue otherwise.