NY Times Explains how Donald Trump Became Donald Trump

The New York Times has published what amounts to a smoking-gun expose that explains exactly how Donald Trump created his myth and sold it to the American people, but those people who believe that this expose will make any difference to the body politic are about to be deeply disappointed.

We all knew that Donald Trump was a liar, a thief, a con man and a tax cheat, and so did the people who voted for him. In fact, that’s why many of them voted for him…because he is a successful tax cheat and because there are a lot of people who admire that in a man.

The 13,000 word article by David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner may be the longest article ever published by The Times, and it will probably garner a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize but, in the overall scheme of things, it is isn’t going to diminish Donald Trump’s popularity with his base. First of all, they aren’t going to read it and, if they do read it, they aren’t going to believe it, and if they do believe it, they aren’t going to care. It will just be more fake news to them.

Among Trump’s detractors, The Times article will give them some “I told you so” talking points. The article confirms what they have always known about The Donald, so it really isn’t news to them either.

A quick summary of the high points from the article, which will be quoted and requoted in the coming months:

  1. Trump’s “self-made billionaire story – based on the often told starting myth that his father fronted him $1 million appears a little short of reality. The Times documents at least $413 million in transfers from father Fred Trump to son Donald, which put him almost halfway toward his first billion.
  2. Much of that money was generated by the use – and abuse – of multi-million dollar real estate tax dodges that are not available to rank and file tax payers
  3. The $1 million loan from his father that got Donald started on his real estate empire was actually around $14 million or more like $50 million in 2018 dollars. When Donald’s Atlantic City gambling empire was starting to crumble, Fred Trump floated his son’s sinking ship by purchasing $3.5 million in casino chips that were never cashed in, a common tax dodge in the gaming industry.

It has been pointed out on a number of occasions that, if Trump had merely invested his father’s gifts in blue chip securities, Trump would be better off today than he is now, since most of his investment ventures outside of the real estate business have crashed and burned.  However, there are several big problems with the story of Donald Trump’s tax manipulations.

  1. The statute of limitations has expired on most, if not all, of the charges alleged by The New York Times, making it impossible to prosecute any of the Trump’s for their tax frauds.
  2. While Donald Trump may have been responsible for instigating the later frauds, all of the frauds involved track back to his parents, not to Trump and his siblings.
  3. Even if the statute of limitations had not expired on these crimes, as a sitting president, Trump is probably immune to prosecution.
  4. Even if he is not immune to prosecution, tax evasion is a federal offense, which means that he can pardon himself. (The State of New York might have had a cause of action against Trump for state tax evasion if the statute of limitations had not run out but no one is going to bring that case to court today.)
  5. He is also probably immune to impeachment because the crimes in question occurred before his term as president began and the Constitution is silent on whether crimes committed before a president takes office are impeachable offenses.
  6. While the Democrats might just have enough votes in the House of Representatives to impeach Trump, they do not have enough votes in the Senate to uphold the impeachment, nor will they have those votes in the Senate before Trump completes his second term in office if we are stupid enough to re-elect him.

More than anything else, the NYT article makes it clear how corrupted the tax code has become, making it imperative for us to demand that the loopholes be closed forthwith…but that isn’t going to happen during a Republican administration, is it?

Read the article. It’s a masterpiece of good reporting. Be more informed. Don’t get your hopes up.

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