Trump’s Garden-Variety Financial Crimes

The Trump empire, going back to Fred Trump, was built on the crime of tax evasion — what you do when you cross the line from legitimate tax avoidance. Donald learned at his father’s side, and Ivanka/Donald Jr./Eric continue the family tradition of lying, exaggerating, cheating. This family lies absolutely shamelessly, as you saw with both Trump and Ivanka denying that Trump intervened in any way in getting security clearances for her and her husband.

Chris Christie, a Trump ally, said it best. Trump lies reflexively, even when he doesn’t have to, and even when his lies can be quickly disproven. The pattern doesn’t serve him well. I think he’s done it for so long, it’s now second nature. Why tell the truth when you can make up your own truth, and your low information voters and Republican supporters in Congress and White House staff rush to bolster the lie?

Michael Cohen’s testimony pointed to the likelihood that Trump has, for years, inflated the value of his properties for insurance purposes, and deflated the value when it came time to pay taxes. That’s the kind of garden variety financial crime the Southern District of New York prosecutes all the time.

Remember that Al Capone didn’t go down for murder, of which he was most certainly guilty. He went to prison for tax evasion.

Some of the other matters in which Trump is entangled — conspiracy with a hostile foreign power to throw the 2016 election or obstruction of justice — are hard to prove. Financial crimes tend to leave a trail of documents, bread crumbs leading back to the source.

Trump has cheated all his life, and come out personally the better for it. That, to me, cries out for him to pay the piper at some point, even if this late in his tawdry career.

I hope that reckoning is now — for the entire sleazy Trump clan.

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