On Thursday, a federal judge once again ruled — in keeping with the Supreme Court decision earlier this year — that President Donald Trump must hand over his tax returns to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., according to the New York Times:
“A federal judge on Thursday rejected President Trump’s latest effort to block the Manhattan district attorney from obtaining his tax returns, roundly dismissing Mr. Trump’s arguments that the prosecutor’s grand jury subpoena was “wildly overbroad” and issued in bad faith.
“The ruling by Judge Victor Marrero of Federal District Court in Manhattan marked another setback for the president in his yearlong fight to block the subpoena.”
Trump’s refusal to allow Congress or a district attorney look at his taxes has raised speculation about what exactly the president might be trying to hide. Some suggest it’s because he’s not nearly as wealthy as he claims, while others believe he may have avoided paying taxes through elaborate accounting tricks that may well be illegal.
One man who has seen those tax returns is Tim O’Brien, a journalist who wrote the 2005 book TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald.
According to an op-ed he wrote for Bloomberg, O’Brien says there are all sorts of secrets in Trump’s tax documents:
“Trump sued me for libel in 2006 for a biography I wrote, “TrumpNation,” claiming the book unfairly and intentionally misrepresented his track record as a businessman and lowballed the size of his fortune. The suit was dismissed in 2011.
“During the course of the litigation, Trump resisted releasing his tax returns and other financial records. My lawyers got the returns, and while I can’t disclose specifics, I imagine that Trump is hesitant to release them now because they would reveal how robust his businesses actually are and shine a light on some of his foreign sources of income.”
What, you may ask, would that entail? Again, while O’Brien didn’t go into specifics, he did make sure and note that if a journalist being sued can gain access to Trump’s taxes, then Congress and the Manhattan DA certainly have every right to the returns, as does the public:
“If all of this information from Trump’s taxes, bankers and accountants was good enough for me over a decade ago, it’s certainly good enough for Congress and the Manhattan district attorney today. It’s also good enough for the American people. If we’ve learned one thing from the Trump presidency it’s that it’s no longer enough to rely on tradition when it comes to the Oval Office and financial transparency. Financial transparency should be a requirement for all presidents going forward — and the Supreme Court would do well to help pave the way.”
Donald Trump’s taxes are the key to understanding who he owes and who actually owns him and his company. They’re also necessary for voters to make a fully informed decision when ballots are cast later this year. If he’s allowed keep them hidden, it’s yet another step toward making the American president a monarch who answers to no one.