Opinion Trump's Excuse for Not Releasing His Tax Returns Is Ludicrous

22:51  18 april  2017
22:51  18 april  2017 Source:   U.S. News & World Report

Trump’s tax returns will be immediately under audit

  Trump’s tax returns will be immediately under audit For the average taxpayer, the odds of being audited by the Internal Revenue Service are just 0.7%. Unless you're President Trump, in which case your chance of an audit rises to 100%. It's not just that his net worth and more than 500 partnerships make him a likely audit target under IRS policies designed to direct its enforcement efforts to the richest taxpayers. Under an obscure Internal Revenue Service rule, the tax returns of the president and vice president are automatically audited, every year, no exceptions.

Trump ' s Ludicrous Tax Returns Story. White House spokesman Sean Spicer, in ritually regurgitating the "audit" excuse Monday, was asked if we can't just admit that Trump ' s never, ever going to give up his returns , audit or no.

“Upon releasing his tax returns , we found out that Harry Reid was wrong, that Mitt Romney did everything right, he abided by the laws.” The bottom line is this, Donald Trump and his supporters are reaching to incredibly desperate lengths to make excuses for him not following a 40-year

In this Jan. 28, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. For decades, Australia and the U.S. have enjoyed the coziest of relationships, collaborating on everything from military and intelligence to diplomacy and trade. Yet an irritable tweet President Donald Trump fired off about Australia and a dramatic report of an angry phone call between the nations' leaders proves that the new commander in chief has changed the playing field for even America's staunchest allies.: President Donald Trump may discontinue a service that allows petitions to win a response from the White House. © (Alex Brandon/AP) President Donald Trump may discontinue a service that allows petitions to win a response from the White House.

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Tuesday being Tax Day, it's an apt time to remind everyone that not only is President Donald Trump breaking with decades of tradition in refusing to release his tax returns but that his reason for doing so is ludicrous and that the whole exercise is stupidly self-defeating.

While Trump has been, ahem, inconsistent about his willingness to release his taxes, he has been fairly steadfast in his reason for not doing so – he claims that his returns are under audit by the IRS.

Dem senator tries to compel Trump's taxes with retweets

  Dem senator tries to compel Trump's taxes with retweets Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden (D) is channelling the Twitter trend of the week as he seeks to pressure President Trump into releasing his tax returns. In a Wednesday-afternoon tweet, the Democratic lawmaker continued his criticism of Trump in the run-up to Tax Day on April 15."If this gets 18 million retweets, will you release your tax returns?" In a Wednesday-afternoon tweet, the Democratic lawmaker continued his criticism of Trump in the run-up to Tax Day on April 15.

Donald Trump has repeatedly said that he will break with 40 years of tradition and refuse to release his tax returns because he claims he is under an audit. Cooper reports that Trump has so far failed to produce even this audit letter, which would bolster his excuse .

Trump ' s excuse for not releasing his tax returns raises more questions than it answers. Jeff Horwitz During Thursday's debate, Trump predicted what anyone reviewing his tax returns would find: "nothing, nothing."

But this excuse is, not to put too fine a point on it, utter nonsense. Let's for a moment take him at his word (and given both his credibility and refusal to release even so much as an audit letter, there's not a reason in the world to do so) and assume that he is in fact under audit. That's not actually a reason to decline to release his returns. Per an IRS statement from more than a year ago, "nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information." In fact President Richard Nixon released his tax returns when he was under audit.

So Trump cannot even reach the subminimal standard of transparency set by Tricky Dick. Trump saying he won't release his returns while under audit is like my refusing to discuss my lunch because I'm still digesting; both arguments involve loosely related sets of facts, but lack any actual logic-based connection.

Poll: Most Republicans want Trump to release his tax returns

  Poll: Most Republicans want Trump to release his tax returns The poll was released ahead of Saturday's tax marches.The survey results were released ahead of organized tax marches planned for Saturday, rallies being held across the country to demand that Trump release his returns. Groups involved in the event include MoveOn.org, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Women's Law Center.

But Trump and his lackeys returned to one excuse time and again: He couldn’t release his But as Republicans regroup from their failure to roll back health insurance coverage, Trump ’ s tax returns , and the excuses he’s Trump never deserved the benefit of the doubt over his ludicrous audit excuse

Trump ' s Ludicrous Tax Returns Story. Donald Trump ' s excuse for not releasing his tax returns is ludicrous . Robert SchlesingerApril 18, 2017.

As my friend Jack Farrell, author of the New York Times bestseller "Richard Nixon: The Life," says: "It takes considerable evasiveness, arrogance, or paranoia – or maybe it's just plain scandalous behavior – to rival Richard Nixon on the secrecy front but, well, there you have it."

Is there any chance that's going to change any time soon? White House spokesman Sean Spicer, in ritually regurgitating the "audit" excuse Monday, was asked if we can't just admit that Trump's never, ever going to give up his returns, audit or no. "We'll have to get back to you on that," Spicer replied. That's the political equivalent of Don't call us, we'll call you. It's a non-answer in service to a farcical excuse all meant to distract from an old-fashioned stonewall.

The "audit" excuse is so risible that conservative Sen. Tom Cotton drew boos in ruby red Arkansas when he trotted it out at a town hall meeting Monday.

Nationwide marches set to protest Trump tax returns

  Nationwide marches set to protest Trump tax returns Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend rallies on Saturday that are aimed at pressuring President Trump to release his tax returns. The events, which will be held as the tax-filing deadline approaches, are one of a number of protests that have sprung up since Trump's election, including the women's march held the day after the inauguration.The marches come eight years after Tea Party rallies on President Obama's first Tax Day in office.Trump's tax returns are a long-running controversy from his presidential campaign.

Donald Trump ' s excuse for not releasing his tax returns is ludicrous . Not for nothing, Trump ' s abject lack of knowledge on the topic affirmatively hurt his efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

As a candidate, Trump ’ s initial excuse for not releasing his tax returns was that he was under audit. This story never made any sense, and in a post-election press conference, Trump offered a clearer explanation for why the public would never see them.

Indeed, this is where Trump's obstinacy goes from being stupidly self-serving to potentially damaging for his party's and his own prospects. Spicer tried to dismiss this Monday when he argued that "the American people understood when they elected him in November." They don't care, in other words, a variation on a talking point Trump himself has employed. But this is whistling past the graveyard – and not just because the American people voted for someone else.

Poll after poll (after poll after poll) has indicated that most Americans want Trump to release his returns. And it's an issue that's generating intensity, judging by the protests that sprang up around the country this past weekend.

As conservative opinionator Jennifer Rubin wrote in The Washington Post Monday:

"This will be one more item — along with conflicts of interest, filling his Cabinet with Goldman Sachs alumni, violating the emoluments clause — that Democrats will use in the 2018 midterms. The argument is simple: Trump is more secretive, more indifferent to corruption than his predecessors — and Republicans are too meek and unprincipled to object. Trump's conduct cries out for divided government; without it, his contempt for clean, transparent government grows with each passing year."

Trump finds himself on the defensive on a pair of government transparency issues

  Trump finds himself on the defensive on a pair of government transparency issues The White House is peppered with questions about tax returns and visitor logs.The Trump administration drew criticism from an array of watchdog groups when it announced Friday that it would end the Obama administration's policy of making most visitor logs available on a Web page about 90 to 120 days after visits occurred.

This former IRS commissioner says Trump has no excuse for not releasing his tax returns . Those who say Trump should release his tax returns claim we are entitled to view this portrait of the man who aspires to lead our country.

In any event, you can find every other serious candidate’ s tax returns quite easily: Here are Hillary Clinton’ s and Bernie Sanders’ and Marco Rubio’ s and Ted Cruz’ s . Maybe Trump will release his returns , maybe he won’t.

And beyond the broad question of general principle, this could develop into a very specific political issue as well. As The New Republic's Brian Beutler points out, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen's term runs out in November and his departure "will create a major new conflict of interest for Trump, and, one imagines, a huge political problem for congressional Republicans: If we take Trump at his word that he's been under continuous audit for a long time, he can't be entrusted with the obligation to nominate a new commissioner."

The politics matter here. The more potent this issue becomes the more it becomes self-fulfilling, right up to the possibility that it becomes a main Democratic talking point in a successful bid to flip either the House or the Senate. That happening in either chamber remains a long-shot – Democrats have many more vulnerable Senate seats to defend next year than do Republicans, and the House battlefield is also unfriendly – but it's not out of the question.

If Democrats retake either chamber, they will have the power to subpoena Trump's taxes. And even if they don't, there are other avenues available to them. At some point, Rubin writes, "the investigation into the Trump team's association with Russians, either the intelligence community or members of the House or Senate intelligence committees likely will want access to the tax returns and/or other financial records. After all, how can investigators determine the extent of ties between the Trump campaign and the Russians without examining financial records (up to and including tax returns) of the candidate?" Or New York could arrange to release Trump's state taxes (h/t Hot Air's Allahpundit). The more this issue builds, the more pressure there is to find some way to get the information.

Trump stays mum on tax returns despite mounting pressure for their release

  Trump stays mum on tax returns despite mounting pressure for their release Mr. Trump refuses to release his tax returns, citing an ongoing audit, but the IRS has said this doesn't bar any taxpayer from releasing returns . At a rally in Wisconsin Tuesday, Mr. Trump said his administration was on its way to fulfilling his campaign promise of overhauling the federal tax code.“We’re in very good shape on tax reform,” Mr. Trump said.Watch: Sen. Schumer: Tax reform harder if Trump won't release returns“I think you’ll see we’ll have an amazing code,” Mr. Trump said on the campaign trail. “It will be simple, it will be easy, it will be fair.”But Democrats say they won’t work with Mr.

Well, okay, before you do that, reacquaint yourself with the fact that Donald Trump is the only presidential candidate since Watergate to ever refuse to release his tax returns . Bring to mind once more that his excuse has long been that he’ s under audit and that even the IRS said that isn’t true.

At Thursday’ s GOP debate, Donald Trump stated that he cannot release his tax returns to the public because he’ s being audited.

Even if you put aside the electoral politics of it, there's evidence that it's hurting Trump's agenda. As The New York Times' Alan Rappeport wrote Tuesday, Democrats are increasingly promoting Trump's obstinacy as a reason to block any tax reform he pushes. And not unfairly: It seems reasonable for the public to know the extent to which a president's proposed tax overhaul would benefit himself and his family. And, Rappeport points out, "more than a dozen Republican lawmakers now say Mr. Trump should release" his returns.

All of this makes the big question that much more tantalizing: What is Trump hiding that he's willing to put his position so much at risk?

There's actually a danger here for Democrats, as Moira Donegan writes in The New Republic: "The problem with using the tax returns as a symbol for all of Trump's corruption is that the returns themselves may be less than earth-shattering." Suppose – as Occam's razor suggests – that Trump has merely been lying about the size of his bank account, that he's merely a super-wealthy millionaire and mediocre businessman instead of the super-duper-wealthy billionaire and business wiz he styles himself? Suppose the returns don't show him as being in hock to Russia or other foreign entities? Is it possible Trump's really playing a long game here to whip his opponents into a frenzy and then deflate them?

Such strategic thinking does not, ahem, seem to be a Trump strength.

But there's only one way to find out.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

House GOP rebuffs bill to release Trump tax returns and visitor logs .
House Republicans rebuffed an effort by Democrats on Thursday to force a vote on legislation that would require President Trump to release his tax returns and visitor logs. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) offered a resolution through a procedural motion that was defeated along party lines, 230-193. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), who has called on Trump to release his tax returns, was the sole Republican to vote with Democrats.

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