There are two possibilities to explain the random release of a random piece of tax information about Donald Trump. Three if you count coincidence.

One is that Trump had these released as a red herring to redirect attention away from additional revelations about his Russian ties that may be coming out this week.
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Or, in a less Machiavellian sense it may just be an effort to garner attention that has been drifting away from him and toward the stillborn House GOP health care bill.

The other is that Donald Trump is a very vain, dumb, and predictable person, and that somebody – perhaps a fired U.S. Attorney who was leading the investigation into DeutscheBank's ties to Russian organized crime and money laundering – wanted to establish that Donald Trump earned a huge amount of income in 2005. Perhaps they knew that if a document showing Trump in a favorable light were leaked, he would rush to confirm its authenticity.
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Having released it himself to deny the hated media a chance to scoop him, there's no plausible way to refute it now.

The crystal ball is murky, but one thing is absolutely certain: There are but a few reasons one person pays another vastly more than the actual value to buy a piece of property. None of those reasons involve things that are legal. Aaron Schock is about to go to prison for it. Duke Cunningham did go to prison for it. And Donald Trump received $100 million from a Russian organized crime figure for a property not worth 1/3 of that, which the buyer never even occupied and eventually had demolished. This came at a time when Trump was deeply in debt to a German bank that is under investigation for helping Russian criminals launder money using third parties.

Most people saw a big non-story on Tuesday evening. Maybe it's actually a prosecutor building a case.


  • "There are but a few reasons one person pays another vastly more than the actual value to buy a piece of property. None of those reasons involve things that are legal."

    There's always gross incompetence. But, if that were the case, it would be Trump paying too much money, not receiving too much.

  • GetMeOutOfCollege says:

    What's the source on the Russian overpaying for the piece of property? I'm just interested in giving my Conspiracy loving acquaintances something productive to do with their time.

  • I'm sure that the business deal was completely above board or maybe it involved a waterboard, sad.

    I have to admit that I thought PutinitinTrump's butt wanted to be the new Tsar. It appears "Godfather Vladimir" is more where he's headed, A Don on the Don?

    Спасибо, дебил, очень*

    * Thank you, moron, very much

  • I seriously doubt that Preet Barara is leaking docs in revenge. He liked his job too much to risk never being able to do it again.

  • There's a fourth possibility: The Trump empire is so overflowing with corruption barely contained by bluster and the tax returns, which we'd once thought were the key to understanding him but which have since become a kind of sideshow, are now pushing their way back up to the front. We worry about Russians and Chinese influence-buying because its been in the news recently. But I believe Trump and the Trump family are capable of so much more.

    Trump's whole thing is that he endlessly kites his credibility, cashing one check with the promise of another. Why do the tax returns have to be just about the corruption we know? Why not a third, or a fourth or fifth questionable deal? Can't he be a tax cheat in addition to beholden to Russian mobsters and Chinese bureaucrats?

  • Dave:

    Trumpligula is almost certainly guilty of multiple frauds on both the tax situation and vis-a-vis his dealings with clients and partners.

    I wonder what his "taster" gets paid.

  • Meanwhile, our Trumpster neighbors are inflating themselves, ready to emit gas about Crooked Hillary.

    Maybe we should yell back, "LOCK HIM UP!"

    Schoolyard tactics being the order of the day now?

  • Yeah, I'm amazed that Rachel bit on that 12-year-old tax form with such excitement and fanfare of a "breaking news" event. Didn't we cover these topics during the debates with Clinton (possibly the same era tax report)? Its the 2011-2016 reports that may link Trumps financial ties to Russian kleptocrats. I'm confident she'll shake it off and keep nibbling away at the story. It will be interesting to see what if anything emerges (leaks) out of Bharara's investigations.

  • Yeah, imo, t-RUMPLE-Thin-Skin sent it himself.

    1. As a red-herring – to take away the stink of all of the shit swirling around his over-flowing toiletbowl of a presidency:
    From the 'Russia With Love" connection(s); to t-RUMP-DON'T-CARE; to what he's doing under Bannon's requests/orders, to dismantle much of our government (for the sheer joy for Bannon, of destroying for destruction's sake – like bringing in racists and incompetents and having them head critical departments), and… Oh, just look at his first 50+ days, and see the mess he's created, and every one of those needs some powerful distractions…
    2. To prove to his lemming-like t-RUMP-a-LOON-pa followers that he's a really, really, rich guy – and DOES SO TOO PAY HIS TAXES!
    3. It was one of his few (or only) "clean" tax return – because he and Melania were filing a joint return that year for the first time, and it had to be beyond reproach, or any discrepency would have made the IRS disallow the return.
    4. If/when new and more informative tax information comes out in the future, and might look bad, he and his moronic minions can point to this 2005 return, and say, "Look, he already PROVED he pays his taxes, so there's no use in looking for more information. Just drop it, ok? The PRESIDENT says, DROP IT, OK?!?!?!?"

    And there are dozens of other reasons for him to send this out, but I'm too tired to try to remember, or scour around the internet for reasons.
    Basically, take anything he's touched – because he's FUBAR and and every thing he's involved himself in – and that's a reason for this red-herring of a tax return.

    t-RUMPLE-Thin-Skin makes me long for the days of Dumbaya.
    And how sad and pathetic… no, downright TRAGIC, is that?!?!?

    We are now becoming the world's best-armed 3rd World banana republic – thanks, to banana's Republicans over the last 50+ years.

  • If Donald Trump does real estate the way people do real estate, his personal income tax return won't tell you anything interesting at all.
    (I've been trying to explain this to my non-accountant friends for months and their eyes just glaze over.)
    Most people who have real estate empires, each building is a separate entity, an LLC or whatnot, a passthru entity. That's why Trumps 2005 1040 has like 67 million on the line that comes from the schedule E, which is not included. Even if it was, it wouldn't matter. The interesting stuff- like, how much debt do Trump-pwned companies have to foreign banks, ans which ones, would be on the financial statements of the individual entities. Not his tax returns. (probably not their tax returns, either, I don't remember the details anymore, but I don't recall us ever listing individual mosrtgage-holders on a LLC return. Then again, I've blocked a lot out. ;-)

  • amwing:

    No doubt you're right. My older brother and one of my nephew's wife are both CPA's. Otoh, I know that what most people want to see if his "charitable donations" line–and documents to back that up and whether or not the asshole paid any taxes.

  • Trump's undisclosed returns have been "under audit" for over a year. How long could this take? If it were found that candidate Trump, or president-elect Trump had deliberately defrauded the government (a felony) he would have been disqualified long ago. I'd like to believe that the IRS is independent enough to do their work without political interference … maybe not.

    Schedule E: sources of income – yeah, probably laundered through a bank or an private equity company, but it would be the beginning of the bread crumb trail.

  • Late to the party. The dude got hitched in '05 to someone who became a citizen in '06. Citizenship requires 3 years of joint returns.

    No shit he released his '05 returns. They've already been audited and had to be aboveboard.

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