A panel on CNN’s “New Day” speculated on how a two-page “client copy” offering a one-year snapshot of President Donald Trump’s tax returns got released, and by whom.
“Chris [Cuomo] made important points there when you look at his income over a number of years and big losses,” host Poppy Harlow began. “Do you see this as an intentional distraction regardless of who it came from?”
David Gregory said that the release “may have the effect of being a distraction and self-serving. It’s an incomplete picture and the picture that is presented is revealing of things that are consistent with what President Trump has said about his financial standing, his wealth and his taxes he paid. We don’t know the extent of his financial entanglement and involvement around the globe.”
“The timing is curious,” Cuomo noted. “It is in the middle of all of the other things that the president wants to get away from the wiretapping claims, the Comey hearing and finally giving word about the nature of the investigation of Trump by that agency if there is one. The timing is pretty curious, no?”
A.B. Stoddard agreed that the timing was “shrewd,” saying Trump is suffering from huge divisions in the Republican Party and battling Trumpcare and the Russia problem. She explained that the average person not paying attention to the ins and outs of the story might think this is a release of Trump’s taxes and that it doesn’t show what people have speculated it might show.
Harlow remarked that the information reveals that the White House is willing to put out the president’s tax returns, despite his claim that he’s under an audit. Cuomo said that the audit claim is nothing more than an excuse and that we don’t know that Trump is even under an audit.
“I just question the news value of this, right?” Daily Beast columnist Matt Lewis said. “Possibly the speculation this morning is maybe even it came from Donald Trump. This story was hyped so much by the media on social media last night. It comes out and it’s two pages. It makes Donald Trump look really good, and I just wonder does it feed the appetite, for more or does it pacify people? People say we have seen the taxes…let’s just assume for a second that he is playing us. well it wouldn’t be the first time. he has played us like a violin.”
Cuomo said that it’s not clear if Trump released the taxes or not. Reporter David Cay Johnson, who received the taxes in the mail, on the other hand, said that this release proposes more questions than it answers.
“Here’s what we don’t know,” he began. “We don’t know how much money Donald Trump is getting. He has more than 30-years of connections, and notice Trump always says Russia and never says Russians. Secondly, who is he paying fees to? It’s a huge money laundering bank and also borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars from a communist Chinese bank. That’s astonishing. We need to see Donald Trump’s complete tax returns going back to 1977 which until now is 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. Particularly the land sale he did in Florida everybody said that’s a payoff.”
Cuomo explained that this is only the beginning.
Watch the full video below: