Tags: David Cay Johnson | Trump | Tax Papers | Finances

David Cay Johnston: Trump's 2005 Tax Papers Show 'Small Window' Into Finances

Image: David Cay Johnston: Trump's 2005 Tax Papers Show 'Small Window' Into Finances
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By    |   Wednesday, 15 Mar 2017 07:58 AM

The pages released from President Donald Trump's 2005 tax returns show only a small window into his actual financial situation, David Cay Johnston, investigative journalist who says he received the pages through the mail, commented Wednesday morning.

"Here's what we don't know," Johnston told CNN's "New Day" program. "We don't know how much money Donald Trump is getting from the Russian oligarchs. He has a more than 30-year connection to the Russian oligarchs, and notice Trump always says Russia and never says Russians."

Johnston, who released the return pages and his analysis of them through DCreport.org, also alleged that Trump has "repeatedly done business" with the oligarchs, who he described as a "state-sponsored network of international criminals."

In addition, Johnston, the author of "The Making of Donald Trump," said that the documents also leave questions concerning the entities to whom Trump is indebted, and where he is paying fees.

"One of Donald's biggest lenders, it's a huge money-laundering bank, Deutsche Bank," said Johnston. "He also borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from a Communist Chinese bank. That's just astonishing to have a president of the United States, who is beholden to a government-owned bank in Beijing."

The bank, the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., is also Trump Tower's biggest commercial tenant, noted Johnston.

The two pages from Trump's tax returns are just a drop of what should be revealed, said Johnston.

"We need to see Donald Trump's complete tax returns going back to 1977, which until now was the last year we knew he paid income taxes, so we know who he is doing business with, who his partners are, who he is getting money from, who he is obligated to," Johnson said. 

The returns were posted on MSNBC's website after MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said she got them from Johnston. He told her program Tuesday night, and commented on CNN Wednesday, that he received the documents, stamped "Client Copy" through the mail.

The returns showed Trump paid a tax rate of 25 percent. The White House, responding to a MSNBC report saying it got the returns, said Trump paid $38 million in taxes on more than $150 million in income in 2005.

The White House also said that Trump, as head of the Trump Organization, had a responsibility "to pay no more tax than legally required."

Johnston tweeted Tuesday night that he was getting threatening calls to his home and family after the reports came out:

Wednesday morning, Johnston told CNN that the pages came to his home, and that he doesn't know for sure who sent it, and that he didn't ask for the pages to be sent.

But the fact that they were marked as a client copy shows they didn't come from the Internal Revenue Service, which likely got the returns electronically.

"It probably came from someone given that copy, either because they worked in the accounting firm or it was produced in litigation, or it was produced for some regulatory proceeding and somebody had access to it," said Johnston.

"I think the reason they probably sent it to me is because I have written so much about negative incomes and how they're used by wealthy people."

And he does think it's possible the pages came from Trump himself, as he "has a long history of leaking things" both directly and indirectly." However, as the White House responded with anger, it "suggested to me it was not likely. It's when something gets leaked that he's happy with they don't complain."

However, he does believe the people in the White House press office behaved "pretty unethically" by sending out the statement early.

"I sent them the document and they proceeded to give it out to competing news organizations," said Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for his reporting about loopholes in the U.S. tax system.

"Professional PR people don't do stuff like that. I've never had a White House do something like that."

Johnston said the actual documents showed that Donald and Melania Trump had $153 million in income in 2005, the year they were married, or about $3 million a week.

"They also took $103 million of negative income,and I believe that's from a tax shelter that the president bought," Johnston said, describing negative income as "reverse numbers. You're in the hole."

"In Trump's case, he shouldn't have negative income," said Johnston. "He didn't pay back banks about $918 million. The banks took that loss but the president bought a tax shelter that allowed him to take it as well. Double taking the loss."

That was legal, said Johnston, but later, congressional Republicans shut off the tax shelter rule, but "let the people that already bought the tax shelter keep their ill-got tax gains."

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The pages released from President Donald Trump's 2005 tax returns show only a small window into his actual financial situation, David Cay Johnston, investigative journalist who says he received the pages through the mail, commented Wednesday morning.
David Cay Johnson, Trump, Tax Papers, Finances
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2017-58-15
Wednesday, 15 Mar 2017 07:58 AM
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