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Trump biographer demands president’s sister step down: ‘We should not have a tax cheat on the federal bench’

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David Cay Johnston

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, researcher, and writer David Cay Johnston followed President Donald Trump’s finances throughout his business reporting career. He’s far from surprised about some of the findings featured in a bombshell report from The New York Times.

During an interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, Johnston called the president a fraud, liar and questioned the self-described billionaire’s status.

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“What they show is that Donald Trump is a serial tax cheat,” Johnston said Tuesday. “Under the law, if you do something one time it’s not a crime. But they did it over and over and over and over again. They even cheated poor people. They quote testimony by Robert Trump about how they inflated the prices paid for refrigerators and stoves in rent-controlled apartments and marked it up so that they could cheat poor people by making them pay more in rent. You can dislike rent control laws, but there’s no moral person who steals from the poor.”

Johnston referenced some of The Times findings that detailed how the Trump family laundered funds into the president’s now-defunct casinos and through a shell company that claimed to sell building supplies at a dramatic markup.

“The Trumps see nothing wrong with this,” Johnston said. “And these deals are egregiously large in their size. In some cases, they told the tax authorities that properties were valued at 6 percent of their actual value. Six percent — a 94 percent discount!”

He echoed what others have said about the statute of limitations being up on criminal charges, but that civil charges are still possible under the state of New York or the IRS.

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“There is a six-year statute of limitations both federal and state. There are some exceptions, but I don’t think we’re going to see that,” Johnston continued. “There is no, however, the statute of limitations on civil fraud and there is no reason for the state of New York and the federal government to do anything except go after Donald Trump and his siblings for tax cheating.”

He also noted that Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Berry sits on the federal bench in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. She’s heavily implicated in these charges.

“I think she should immediately remove herself from the bench. We should not have a tax cheat in the White House or on the federal bench,” he said.

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Johnston has long argued that Trump was lying about his wealth and inflating it. Not only was Trump found to have lied about scoring only a $1 million loan he had to pay back to his father with interest. That number is a little closer to $400 million he never had to pay back.

“Donald the candidate told everyone he was worth 10 billion. He was actually worth 4 billion. I shout and others have that the financial statement he filed is grossly misleading,” Johnston said. “It overstates assets left and right. He is not required, as he himself said in 2015, to report all of his debts. There is not now and there never has been a scintilla of verifiable evidence that Donald Trump is or ever was a billionaire. He’s not a businessman. He’s a cash extractor.”

Watch the full commentary below:

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Iran accuses foreign forces of raising Gulf ‘insecurity’ — but doesn’t mention Trump by name

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President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday denounced the presence of foreign forces in the Gulf and said Iran will present a peace plan, after its arch-foe Washington ordered reinforcements to the tense region.

"Foreign forces can cause problems and insecurity for our people and for our region," Rouhani said before a military parade commemorating the Iran-Iraq war.

Rouhani also said Iran would present a peace plan to the United Nations within days.

"In this sensitive and important historical moment, we announce to our neighbours that we extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood to them," he said.

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2020 Election

Trump holds mass rally with Indian Prime Minister that was more like a campaign event than official one

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US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday declared themselves united in a relentless fight against "terrorism," vowing a close, personal alliance in front of tens of thousands of Indian-Americans.

The two leaders, like-minded nationalists fond of fiery rallies and skeptical of traditional media, heaped praise on each other in an unusual joint appearance inside a football stadium in Houston.

To the bhangra beats of four drummers in saffron turbans, Trump in his dark suit and Modi in a yellow kurta and vest made a grand entrance with arms clenched together to ecstatic cheers from a crowd estimated by organizers at 50,000.

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Here’s how the law governing whistleblowers applies to the Trump Ukraine complaint

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This week it was revealed that President Donald Trump did something so concerning that an intelligence staffer felt the need to report the incident and file for whistleblower protections.

Trump asked Ukraine to look into scandals about former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter. For nearly a year, Trump's former attorney Rudy Giuliani was admittedly working to persuade officials in Ukraine to find "dirt" on the Bidens that they could use in the election. While the accusations against the younger Biden have been disproven, it's suspected, but not confirmed, that this was the incident detailed in the complaint.

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