A stunning report from Mother Jones published Thursday zeroes in on an as-yet unexplained loan claimed by President Donald Trump — and concludes that the president may likely have committed tax fraud.
The investigation is pretty complex, but it can be summarized pretty simply. Trump has claimed that he has a debt of $50 million to one of his own companies; but that debt doesn’t appear to be accruing any interest or principal payments, Mother Jones reported, and Trump himself has said of the loan: “We don’t assess any value to it because we don’t care.”
But Mother Jones, in consultation with tax experts, concludes that the loan may have been fake. The report found that one plausible explanation for the loan is that Trump created it for the purpose of avoiding paying taxes on loans of his that were forgiven when he was in financial trouble. If Trump never actually planned to repay such a loan, it would be blatantly illegal, the report said.
Here’s how the report summarizes its findings:
Trump claims he bought a debt related to his Chicago venture, but neither of the two loans associated with this property appear to have been purchased. The Deutsche Bank loan was refinanced. The Fortress debt, according to sources with knowledge of the transaction, was canceled. And this raises a question: Did Trump create a bogus loan to evade a whopping tax bill on about $48 million of income?
Neither the White House nor the Trump Organization responded to inquiries from Mother Jones about the debt.