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.
“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.
“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.
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:
QAnon authors in a fight over doing an audiobook — because they think their followers can’t read
On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that the authors of a popular book for believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory are in a bitter fight over whether or not to release an audiobook version.
QAnon: An Invitation to The Great Awakening came out last year and peaked near the top of the Amazon bestseller list in March. One of the book's co-authors, Dustin Nemos, is publicly attacking another co-author, who goes by the name of "JoeM," for his "petty and hostile and paranoid" refusal to help produce an audiobook, and notes that it is necessary because a disproportionate number of QAnon believers are elderly, have bad eyesight, and may not be able to read the book as text. JoeM, for his part, has accused Nemos of being a "grifter" who is trying to make a buck off of true believers.
Population of Earth to reach 9.7 billion in 2050: UN
The world population is expected to climb to 9.7 billion in 2050 from 7.7 billion today, with the population of sub-Saharan Africa doubling, a United Nations report released Monday said.
The population could then grow to 11 billion by 2100, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs's "World Population Prospects" report.
The study paints a picture of a future in which a handful of countries see their populaces surge as life expectancy lengthens while the global growth rate slows amid declining fertility rates.
By 2050, more than half of the world's population growth will be concentrated in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States.
Trump’s only winning strategy is to tear down Democrats — because he has nothing to promote: MSNBC panel
President Donald Trump has little to promote for 2020, so political analysts on MSNBC think that he'll likely spend the campaign working to tear everyone else down.
Howard Fineman noted that if Trump intends to do a "tear down" campaign, the most important things Democrats will have are policy proposals to set themselves apart from a White House that is unwilling to pass anything through Congress.
"It's just a question of can he do what he did in 2016 and 2018, which was, frankly, mobilize voters in a fear-tactic kind of way," said Fineman during Monday's "Meet the Press."
Host Kasie Hunt said that it seems the new Trump poll numbers show that his base is losing enthusiasm as they go into the election.