Who would have thought that we’d see the day when pointing out obvious criminal action by the United States president wouldn’t register as “big news,” and yet here we are.
ProPublica has documented through public information requests that Trump kept two divergent sets of books for his flagship property, Trump Tower in mid-town Manhattan. He would present the healthier financial outlook to banks in loan applications, and present the more dismal picture to tax authorities. He would thus unfairly secure a loan by defrauding a bank, or pay less in taxes to the state, or both.
It is criminal behavior 101, as reported by Business Insider:
In 2012, Trump’s business told lenders that the occupancy rate in his flagship property in New York was nearly 99%, but in tax filings that same year the occupancy rate was given as 83%, according to ProPublica.
Susan Mancuso, an attorney who specializes in New York property tax, told the outlet that the discrepancy was a “very significant difference.” ProPublica said that more than a dozen tax and property experts who reviewed the documents said they could find no good reason for the discrepancy.
Not that anyone who listened to Michael Cohen’s testimony to congress is surprised, since Cohen testified to this very behavior to Congress. This is criminal. It is on paper. It is emerging in the press today. It is not big news.
There was a quaint point in American history where obvious proof that the president committed a crime to enrich himself would have been scandalous. It would “stop the presses,” and upheave the internet. That point was just three years ago.
Now people expect this from this president.
Republicans will ignore it entirely, or if forced to address it, will dredge up some kind of detail that makes Democrats look bad. The Republicans will again insist that Democrats are simply trying to overturn 2016 and that the election ought to settle all this, despite the fact that Trump’s criminality gives us no reason to trust him to oversee an election. See the Ukraine matter.
It is literally to the point where there are too many lawsuits, and too many criminal accusations for any one person to keep track, and thus Trump gets away with it, every single time. It is infuriating.
I am increasingly pessimistic about 2020, absent an economic downturn. And no, I am not yearning for a recession. Trump continues to get away with blatant criminality, including fraud, and I don’t know why anyone would bank on a free and fair election in 2020 any more than one would bank upon a free and fair contract with Trump. No law or norm can survive if Trump sees an advantage to breaking it, and he’ll deal with consequences later.
Keep fighting, though. Because things are getting scarier and scarier. But know this, we’re starting to obtain that paper evidence of criminality. Trump’s financial documents must be a treasure trove of evidence.
The alternative is to give up.
I don’t see that as an alternative.
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