Cheating on your taxes may not seem sexy, but financial fraud remains a big potential problem for the president.
President Donald Trump wasted no time celebrating the Supreme Court confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Indeed, Trump took a very public victory lap on Monday with his primetime, ceremonial swearing in of Kavanaugh in front of a sea of very pleased conservative dignitaries. But with Kavanaugh on the bench, some of the stories that were momentarily buried during the confirmation chaos are bubbling back to the surface.
The New York Times’ bombshell report exposing what appears to be massive fraud perpetrated by the Trump family is one of these stories. According to the Times, Trump’s father Fred spearheaded a complicated con using “dubious tax schemes” and “instances of outright fraud” to evade hundreds-of-millions of dollars in tax payments to the IRS.
Cheating on your taxes may not seem sexy, but this scandal may very well represent Trump’s greatest vulnerability should Democrats retake control of Congress in November. Even if Democrats just take back control of the House, which seems more and more likely, that would first and foremost give them control of the gavel of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Oversight committee chairs have the power to issue subpoenas for Trump’s tax returns and the financial records of the Trump business empire. Remember, this is an empire that continues to do business with the federal government, further enriching the Trump family despite grave concerns about conflicts on interest in the executive branch. Not surprisingly, so far, these conflicts have gone mostly unchecked by Republicans in Congress.
As a candidate, Donald Trump told Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” that he would “absolutely” release his tax returns. He never did. The New York Times’ reporting sheds light on the real reason why. Trump’s entire identity is rooted in the myth he has repeated so frequently he may very well believe it, “I built what I build myself.”
The unraveling of that lie could even lead to the beginning of the end for Trump and his presidency.