No Russia In Trump's Tax Returns? Shut Your Mouth, Jim Jordan.
Let's be clear about something. We were never likely to find anything in Donald Trump's taxes where it reported one gabillion rubles in income from "Russia LLC," something we could point at and say "THERE IT IS!" We were not going to get a Venmo-style memo line that said "Vladimir Putin paid Donald Trump" for "concert tickets."
Early in the New York Times's gigantic examination of Trump's taxes, it says the returns they looked at didn't find "any previously unreported connections to Russia." And OH BOY, that gave Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio State Wrestler Sexual Abuse Scandal) all he needed, because he is an incredibly stupid man.
The media promised that President Trump’s tax returns would reveal deep ties to Russia. Didn’t happen! Know whos… https://t.co/nb6TZro2fY— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Rep. Jim Jordan)1601304558.0
Is that what these tax returns reveal? Do they say "NO RUSSIA, NO RUSSIA, HUNTER BIDEN IS THE RUSSIA"?
Let's review some of the basics. The Times looked at Trump's returns for more than 20 years, finding that in many of those years, he paid zero (0) dollars in federal taxes. In a couple of years, he paid $750, which is less than just about everybody in America pays in taxes, or one month of a car payment on a really nice BMW. He deducted a lot of questionable expenses, like hairstyles, and Ivanka's hairstyles, and Ivanka's "consulting," because of how she is so very good at "consultant." (So good, apparently that Trump wanted her to be his running mate in 2016 lolololol.)
He has taken shitloads of money during his presidency from India, the Philippines, and Turkey, which is super-interesting because all of those countries feature authoritarian leaders Trump sucks up to on the regular. (Especially Turkey.)
And so much more!
But for the purposes of this piece, let's talk about the more than $300 million in loans Trump's got coming due in the next few years, loans he has personally guaranteed. The Times specifically notes that the docs they looked at "chart a great churn of money, but while returns report debts, they often do not identify lenders." The Times further says explicitly that most of the docs they looked at "lack the specificity" to identify new Russian connections. (Which is why they couldn't report specifically that money came from Putin, by whatever path it might have taken to COUGH DEUTSCHE BANK ALLEGEDLY COUGH get there.)
Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, whose book is coming out today, and who has been spilling tea everywhere on how the Mueller investigation dropped the ball and failed to meet the moment, particularly in terms of following Trump's money, has something he'd like us to remember:
As you read the NYT Trump tax story, remember the Eric Trump statement in 2014: "We don't rely on American banks.… https://t.co/l5mtpdFsSO— Andrew Weissmann (@Andrew Weissmann)1601300000.0
That's right, Eric Trump did say that, according to sportswriter James Dodson, who says Eric shared that with the whole class while they were playing golf one day. In 2008, Eric's also-dumb older brother Don Jr. said, "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets."
Sooooooooooo ... who does Trump really owe all that money to?
The Times notes that in 2012, Trump "took out a $100 million mortgage on the commercial space in Trump Tower." He's paid zero (0) dollars on the principal, and that one's due in 2022. Also, "In 2013, he withdrew $95.8 million from his Vornado partnership account." We know something about that one, because Politico reported earlier this year that Trump owes tens of millions of bucks to the state-owned Bank of China, after his partner the Vornado Realty Trust took out a $950 million loan to refi the debt on 1290 Avenue of the Americas in New York, one of the jewels in the Trump Organization's portfolio.
That's right, 'GIIIIIIIIINA, Trump owes gabillions of dollars to 'GIIIIIIIIIINA.
He owes tons of money to Deutsche Bank, which God even knows who's really underwriting those loans, or why Deutsche Bank continued to lend to Trump even after all American banks and pawnbrokers and payday lenders stopped doing that. One of the times Trump tried to get Robert Mueller fired was when there were news reports that Mueller was looking into his relationship with Deutsche Bank. Sadly, that appears not to have been the case! (Deutsche Bank? Cooperating with the Manhattan DA now, even if Mueller couldn't be bothered.)
So there's that. And there is so much left to uncover.
The Times Trump tax report has another really interesting section about Russia Russia Russia, specifically the Moscow Miss Universe pageant in 2013. You see, that damn shitshow always lost money, but it sure didn't — for Trump — when Trump took the shitshow to Russia. His buddies the Agalarovs — daddy Aras, the oligarch known as "Putin's builder," and son Emin, a third-rate Russian pop star — underwrote the pageant. Their company the Crocus Group lost tons of money on the deal, but Trump (and NBC) made out, for once!
A few years later, the Agalarovs would jump Donald Trump Jr.'s bones to set up the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, where the Russians offered dirty dirts on Hillary Clinton "as part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."
So that's not hinky at all. Miss Universe was always a money pit, but not when Russia underwrote it!
Oh yeah, and we are just still really curious about that time "fertilizer oligarch" Dmitry Rybolovlev paid Trump almost $100 million in 2008 for a trash palace in south Florida, which sure seemed like a CRAZY inflated price, then never moved in and also tore it down. It was literally right after Trump's last spate of financial ruin. He needed the money. And what was that thing Junior said the very same year about how "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets"? Yeah.
According to Michael Cohen's book, Trump was just pretty sure Rybolovlev wasn't the real buyer anyway. That it was Vladimir Putin overpaying him for the house.
"Trump told me that the price hadn't really been an issue. He explained that the Russians weren't really spending their own money when they made their excessive purchases of European soccer teams and super yachts and Central Park South penthouses," Cohen wrote. "The oligarchs could enjoy the assets, but always and forever at the pleasure of Vladimir Putin, the new tsar, and displeasing him meant risking their fortunes but also their lives."
Cohen wrote: "'The oligarchs are just fronts for Putin,' Trump told me. 'He puts them into wealth to invest his money. That's all they are doing – investing Putin's money.'"
"Trump was convinced the real buyer of Maison de l'Amitie was Vladimir Putin," Cohen wrote.
Huh well, yeah, Jim Jordan, definitely no Russia in these Trump taxes! (Like the Kremlin was gonna submit a W-2 to the IRS or something. Fucking idiot.)
The New York Times says more Trump tax stories are coming, and it's not even October yet.
Trump would like his followers to believe he is a brilliant businessman, just doing what brilliant businessmen do, using the joys of accounting to keep his tax bills low. Meanwhile, his tax returns have a different message, which is "Dear Government: Everything I touch turns to shit! I cannot possibly pay, for I am a mere pauper."
The bill is coming due. We don't know who Trump's creditors really are yet.
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