On Thursday, President Donald Trump's biographer and Pulitzer prize-winning economic journalist David Cay Johnston and "Trump, Inc." co-host Ilya Marritz appeared on CNN with Chris Cuomo to discuss the new revelations that the Trump Organization made $434 million during the president's second year of office, revealed in a new financial disclosure filed this week — and Johnston explained why it increases the urgency to see the entirety of Trump's books.
"His income isn't $434 million. That's the revenue of his businesses," said Johnston. "His income is likely to be only 5 or 10 percent of that, and he shows over $300 million of loans, so he's paying a lot of interest out of his earnings. What matters on the loans is we don't know the terms of them or who the money is owed to. Do they have clauses that require him to make certain ratios? Is he subject to pressure for a balloon payment on any of those? We have no idea."
"The documents are interesting," agreed Marritz. "They're the most complete information we have about the president's finances, but what I'm aware of ... is all the unanswered questions. We don't know who is paying him. We don't know who is buying the condos. We don't know who is buying the memberships and we don't know who is staying at the hotel and getting noticed. There's 434 million opportunities to be noticed by the U.S. President in those revenue figures he's reporting."
"What is the line, David, about when it's not okay to stay at the president's hotel?" asked Cuomo.
"Only if you don't want a favor from him," said Johnston. "If you want a favor, you show that you're paying tribute. You go there. You run up a big bill. The Saudis took over a whole floor, if not more than one floor at one time. You buy a $60 steak and $36 cocktail and you put money in the president's pocket in a way he hears about it."