Trump tax returns: $ 421 million in debt matures in second term
WASHINGTON – There’s a good rule of thumb for thinking about President Trump’s personal finances: it’s not what he owns; that’s what he must.
the New York Times‘new explosive investigation in Trump’s story of tax evasion and battles with the IRS not only reveals that Trump paid $ 750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017. Time‘bombshell – the first in a new series of stories examining the tax records that Trump himself has refused to disclose – also highlights just how much Trump is personally in debt and how those debts would fall due in the second term of office. a Trump presidency, posing a serious conflict of interest and a threat to national security.
the Time reported that Trump is personally responsible for loans and other debts of $ 421 million, much of which will fall due over the next four years. If Trump is re-elected but cannot repay his loan, his lenders will have to decide whether they want to start a legal battle against the sitting president to get their funds back.
Four years ago, Trump was the first presidential candidate in decades to withhold his tax returns, denying voters the opportunity to consider his Byzantine and conflicting business holdings before voting. His refusal to do so was one of many long-standing democratic norms Trump erased on his way to the presidency, and it prompted elected officials to demand that such disclosures be codified in future elections.
The public has had a partial view of Trump’s responsibilities since the day he took office due to the personal and financial disclosure reports he filed with the government’s Ethics Office. We know, for example, that he took office as the most indebted commander-in-chief of modern times and alone owed more than $ 300 million to Deutsche Bank. But as Steve Vladeck, a University of Texas Law School professor, says, other existing loans from the president are being obscured by generic-named limited liability companies, and it’s far from clear how Trump plans. to repay some of these loans given its propensity to overstate its assets. .
But Vladeck, an expert on national security law, says there’s a bigger problem here. “More fundamentally, there is the fear that a president who is personally responsible for large loans that fall due while he is president might take official action, or appear to be taking official action, which is aimed at easing financial pressure. personal life he is faced with, “says Vladeck Rolling stone. “Indeed, there is a reason the federal government generally does not grant security clearances to those with large debts – it is because they represent too much risk. The same is apparently true of the President of the United States. “
Based on publicly available documents, Trump’s overall debt is almost certainly higher than the $ 421 million in personal bonds reported by the Time. Mother Jones reported Trump’s debts this summer stood at around $ 500 million, with Deutsche Bank remaining by far the biggest creditor to ever give Trump huge sums of money for his luxury Washington hotel and golf resort Doral in Florida. At the end of 2018, the balances of these large loans had not been repaid, according to the Time and Trump’s own financial disclosures.
And like the new New York Times The survey clearly shows that Trump’s constellation of hotels, resorts and other properties has struggled in recent years, putting him in dire financial straits as his debts fall due. His major businesses reported losses of over $ 100 million in the early 2010s. He took out a $ 100 million mortgage on commercial space in Trump Tower, his flagship property, in 2012, and cashed in 316 million dollars in stocks, bonds and a real estate partnership account between 2012 and 2016, the Time reported. Yet in 2018, the Trump Organization’s cash flow of $ 34.7 million was 40% less than in 2013.
Putting a strain on Trump’s finances, the Time writes, is an unresolved IRS audit of a $ 72.9 million tax refund he claimed and received in 2010. If the IRS rules against him, it could cost him around $ 100 million.
Trump answered questions about the Time‘investigation by qualifying it as “totally fake news” and insistent he pays “a lot” in state and federal taxes. He could, of course, set the record straight on what he paid in federal income taxes over the past decade by releasing his tax return information to the public. He still has to do it.
Bloomberg News columnist Tim O’Brien and one of the few journalists to see Trump’s tax returns in defamation lawsuit Trump has brought against him, explains why Trump is in the hundreds of millions in debt and the timing of these debts, represents a unique threat:
If Trump was still just a reality TV quirk, it wouldn’t be overwhelming. But he’s president, and the compromises someone like him would make to save his face and his wallet mar every public policy decision he makes, including matters of national security. If Vladimir Putin, for example, can channel a loan or donation to the president, how harsh is Trump going to be on Russia? Not that we should be worried about Trump’s relationship with Putin. It’s just a hypothetical question.
One solution to this unprecedented situation – a president in debt to known and unknown creditors – would be stricter transparency laws for federal officials in business loans, says Kathleen Clark, a professor at the University of Washington at St. Louis Law School. . Clark notes that the government’s Ethics Office does not require federal officials to disclose their commercial loans, so Trump has not fully disclosed how much money he owes and to whom he owes it.
“The [New York Times] reporters deserve kudos for their investigation, ”said Clark. “But the American people shouldn’t have to rely on leaks from investigative journalists for basic information about a president’s finances.”
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