• Same story, different day...........year ie more of the same fiat floods the world
  • There are no markets
  • "Spreading the ideas of freedom loving people on matters regarding high finance, politics, constructionist Constitution, and mental masturbation of all types"

Is Trump A Good Guy? Bad Guy? Political Genius? A Nut?

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Trump wants Sessions to investigate New York Times op-ed
CNN


Published on Sep 8, 2018
President Donald Trump says he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate and uncover the identity of the senior administration official who penned an anonymous op-ed in The New York Times.
 

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Trump colors the fall campaign landscape: ‘He’s been the only thing that matters’

Washington Post
Ashley Parker, Philip Rucker
3 hrs ago

The striking split screen as this week wound down — former president Barack Obama made his campaign-trail debut mourning the departure of decency and lawfulness from the White House just as President Trump called on the Justice Department to hunt down a nameless personal enemy — neatly framed the midterm dynamic.

For Democrats and Republicans, and especially for the 45th president himself, it is all about Trump.

Midterm campaign cycles traditionally have centered on the party in power. Opposition to former president George W. Bush’s Iraq War powered the 2006 Democratic wave, while a backlash to Obama’s health-care law fueled the 2010 Republican takeover.

But this year is shaping up differently. The Nov. 6 election that will determine control of Congress is likely to hinge on the president — the man and his rash actions, more so than his policies — to a remarkable degree.

The spike in Democratic enthusiasm that has Republicans fearful of losing their House majority is driven largely by opposition to Trump personally — his attacks on civic institutions, his impetuousness and the chaos that tornadoes around him — strategists on both sides say.

“Ever since he came down the escalator to announce his presidential campaign, he’s been the only thing that matters in politics,” said Josh Holmes, a GOP consultant and former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “His presidency is everywhere and your ability to nuance and message what doesn’t directly involve him is drowned out entirely by a complete avalanche of news and punditry and analysis of what the president is doing.”

Labor Day unofficially kicks off the fall campaign season, and this past week brought into sharp relief just how much Trump colors the autumn landscape, like so many changing leaves.

The funeral for John McCain was as much a commemoration of the Vietnam War hero and senator-statesman as it was a rumination by official Washington on the existential threat of Trump.

All week, doubt hovered over the president about his intellectual capacity and fitness for office. New reporting in Bob Woodward’s book “Fear,” coupled by an anonymous editorial in the New York Times penned by a senior official in the administration, revealed that some of Trump’s top advisers are so alarmed by his whims and wishes that they thwarted or ignored some of his directives.

The Trump stories were all consuming. Congressional candidates who may have preferred to peddle their own messages were forced to weigh in and gasped for oxygen in the Trumpian news cycle.

“Everything that’s going on is Donald Trump, first, last and always,” Democratic pollster Peter Hart said.

This is partly by the president’s own design.

“Trump has demonstrated his mastery of winning the news every day,” Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) said. “No matter what it is that’s going on in our country or the world, he wants to be the subject of the news, and he has taken at times dramatic, sometimes alarming, often unsettling steps to ensure that he is what we’re talking about, for better or worse, almost every day.”

The one-two punch of the Woodward book and anonymous Times column inspired Trump to take the extraordinary step of publicly defending his very mental capacity.

“I can’t get up and talk in front of a crowd, many times without notes, for an hour and 25 minutes and get the biggest crowds in the history of politics . . . you don’t get up and do that because you don’t know how to think or talk,” Trump told reporters Friday aboard Air Force One. “You can only do that if you’re at a very, very high level. I’m highly educated and always did well — always did well — no matter what I did.”

The night before, at a campaign rally in Billings, Mont., Trump boiled the Democratic campaign agenda down to a single word: Impeach. The president’s oversimplification placed himself at the heart of the campaign, with Trump offering up his political future as a central reason to vote Republican.

“They like to use the impeach word. ‘Impeach Trump,’ ” he said. “I say, ‘How do you impeach somebody that’s doing a great job that hasn’t done anything wrong?’ . . . If it does happen, it’s your fault, because you didn’t go out to vote.”

Obama came out of political hibernation Friday to deliver a major address outlining the Democratic case for the midterm elections. Although he is out of office, he is the Democrats’ most prominent national leader, and used the occasion as a rallying cry for the party’s restive base.

Even Obama, who until now had pulled his punches and studiously avoided mentioning Trump by name, found himself addressing his successor directly and forcefully. He called Trump a “symptom” of a dark turn in the nation’s politics toward bigotry, fearmongering, corruption, dishonesty and an erosion of institutions.

“This is not normal,” Obama said at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “These are extraordinary times. And they’re dangerous times. But here’s the good news. In two months we have the chance — not the certainty, but the chance — to restore some semblance of sanity to our politics.”

Obama again urged his audience to get involved in electoral politics during a rally Saturday in California for seven candidates running for House seats in Republican-held districts. “During these times of uncertainty it is always tempting for politicians for their own gain and people in power to see if they can divide people, scapegoat folks, turn them on each other,” he said. “The biggest threat to our democracy, as I said yesterday, is not one individual. It is not one super PAC billionaire. It’s apathy.”

Two months ahead of the election, Democrats hold a clear advantage over Republicans. A Washington Post-ABC News poll late last month found that registered voters favor the Democratic candidate over the Republican candidate in their congressional district by 52 percent to 38 percent. The survey also pointed to broad disapproval of Trump’s job performance and unrest with the political system generally.

Sixty-five percent of registered voters said they consider voting in the Nov. 6 election more important than voting in past midterm elections, and 59 percent said voting for a candidate who shares their opinions on Trump is important.

“As long as the Democrats continue to have the intensity and the fire to turn out, this election is going to turn solidly blue,” Hart said.

David Wasserman, who analyzes House races for the Cook Political Report, said the GOP is finding it difficult to motivate Trump’s supporters to vote in the midterms. “The reason is that Trump voters never loved congressional Republicans,” he said. “They don’t feel that strongly about candidates not named Trump.”

But Michael Steel, a Republican strategist, pointed out, “There are some congressional districts and states where enthusiastic support for the president and encouraging the president’s strong supporters to turn out and prevent Washington Democrats from impeaching him will be enough.”

Some Trump advisers are hoping that even if the president’s popularity numbers are low, his policies and the strong economy will be enough to help Republicans hold off Democrats.

“You may hate the president, and there are a lot of people who do, but they certainly like the way the country is going,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told a Republican National Committee conference in Manhattan, according to audio of his remarks obtained by The Washington Post. “If you figure out a way to subtract from that equation how they feel about the president, the numbers go up dramatically.”

The omnipresent president exerted outsized influence over Republican primaries earlier this year. In Florida, Trump’s endorsement of gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis over Adam Putnam, who for years was the state GOP’s heir apparent, transformed the contest. In the closing weeks, DeSantis ran a television advertisement casting himself as a Trump acolyte, complete with images of him and his toddler building a wall with colorful play bricks and his reading “Trump: The Art of the Deal” to his infant. DeSantis defeated Putnam, the early favorite, by 20 percentage points.

And in Arizona, Trump did not endorse a Senate candidate but nonetheless loomed large over the primary field of three. Rep. Martha McSally entered the race stressing her compelling personal story of military service, but by the home stretch was scrambling to prove her Trump bona fides. The tactic helped lift her to victory over conservative activist Kelly Ward and former sheriff Joe Arpaio, both of whom were seen as more authentic Trump allies.

An early test of whether a Republican candidate could run independently from Trump came last year in Virginia, where the president wound up being a magnetic force. Gillespie tried to run as a “big tent” Republican with broad appeal to moderate voters, but by the end he became Trumpified, complete with a hard line immigration pitch. He lost to Democrat Ralph Northam, 45 percent to 54 percent.

Trump is hemmed in by the political reality that he is not welcome everywhere. In many of the suburban House districts poised to swing the election, embattled Republican incumbents fear their association with Trump could hurt their chances and have made clear they do not welcome a presidential visit.

So Trump has been traveling mostly to states he carried in the 2016 election. He visited Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota last week, and will head to Mississippi and Missouri this week. But his raucous rallies are broadcast live on cable television, and his freewheeling remarks often drive the next day’s national news cycle, consumed by the very swing voters that his itinerary is crafted to avoid.

Although some policies are galvanizing voters — such as health care or the economy or immigration — strategists in both parties say the overwhelming motivator this fall will be Trump.

“The three Democratic pillars are raising wages, fixing health care and cleaning up corruption,” said Adrienne Elrod, a Democratic strategist. “But I just don’t think you can sugarcoat the fact that people are fearful of Trump, and if that makes them turn out to vote in record numbers for the midterms, then that is fantastic.”

Holmes said Trump “hasn’t handed the same policy cudgel to the opposition that President Obama did with Obamacare or President Bush did with the Iraq War. For example, family separation was a significant problem that was remedied within a week. The significant political liability doesn’t exist in this election cycle.”

Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher said the House candidates in some of the suburban districts that he is advising are focused on conventional policy issues. But he said college-educated women and other targeted voters in those districts are moving to the Democratic side largely because of “absolute frustration and disgust” with Trump and the unwillingness of congressional Republicans to hold him accountable.

“In the vast majority of swing districts, our advertising doesn’t talk about Donald Trump at all — because we don’t have to,” Belcher said. “Almost every week, Donald Trump does something that makes these suburban women clutch their pearls.”

ashley.parker@washpost.com

philip.rucker@washpost.com

Josh Dawsey, Michael Scherer and Gabriel Pogrund contributed to this report.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...nly-thing-that-matters’/ar-BBN3Jsu?ocid=ientp
 

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Ex-Trump campaign aide: I know who wrote NYT op-ed
CNN


Published on Sep 9, 2018
Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo weighs in on who he believes wrote the anonymously authored op-ed published in the New York Times that was highly critical of President Donald Trump.
 

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John Kerry: Trump clearly doesn't understand America
CNN


Published on Sep 9, 2018
Former Secretary of State John Kerry sits down with CNN's Fareed Zakaria to discuss foreign affairs and the US political climate ahead of the midterm elections.
 

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Trump's authority crisis deepens


Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
5 hrs ago


Donald Trump's presidency is slipping deeper into a crisis of authority at a critical moment.

Midterm elections are looming, he's facing new questions about his fitness for office, and he's hunting a hidden rebel within his own camp.

Typifying the sense that what would once seem absurd now counts for normality in this White House, Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday offered to take a lie detector test to prove he was not the author of an op-ed by an anonymous senior official in The New York Times that assailed Trump for "half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless" leadership.

Pence and the President's counselor, Kellyanne Conway, tried to put the spotlight on the motives of the anonymous official, warning that there could be "criminal" dimensions to the op-ed, boosting Trump's calls for a Justice Department investigation.

But the controversy is unlikely to ease in the week ahead. Bob Woodward's new book -- which, combined with the op-ed, sent the White House reeling -- is due to be published on Tuesday, and the veteran journalist is promoting his damning account of the President's leadership.

"People better wake up to what's going on," Woodward said on CBS's "Sunday Morning" while touting "Fear: Trump in the White House" as a detailed inside account that mirrors the op-ed's claims that a group of senior officials is working to save the nation and the world from Trump's rash decisions.

If the version of events revealed by Woodward and the anonymous official is true, America is facing a deeply dysfunctional presidency and crisis of governance with no parallel in modern history, apart, perhaps, from the paranoid final days of the Nixon administration.

According to these accounts, the President of the United States would appear to be deeply unsuited to his responsibilities, uninterested in the details of policy, lacking knowledge, and in the words of the anonymous senior official, "impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective."

Such a state of affairs would leave the country with a leadership void in the Oval Office and compromise the effectiveness of government. It would also tarnish America's image in the world and could offer openings to adversaries if the White House is constantly distracted.

But the idea that there is a core of "adults in the room," as described by the op-ed writer, subverting the President's authority and wielding for themselves the power granted to the commander-in-chief during an election season should also be a troubling one, since it raises questions about the integrity of America's democratic system itself.

The counter punches
Following days in which the White House was in a defensive crouch, Conway and Pence fought back on political talk shows Sunday after sources told CNN the administration had narrowed its suspicions over who wrote the article to a few individuals.

"To the President's point, there could be a national security risk at hand; he doesn't want this person in a meeting where he's discussing China, Russia, North Korea," Conway told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."

She said there could be a criminal aspect to the writing of the opinion piece -- though she was unable to say exactly how the author might have broken the law when it appears that the act of disloyalty amounted to exercising the right to free expression.

"I have really no idea, nor do you, what else this person has divulged," Conway told Tapper. "I think somebody so cowardly and so conceited would probably go a step further."

On "Fox News Sunday," Pence was asked whether senior officials should take lie detector tests to prove they did not write the explosive opinion piece in the Times.

"I would agree to take it in a heartbeat and submit to any review the administration wanted to do," Pence said.

The Vice President also argued that the author of the Times article was guilty of more than just disloyalty.

"The honorable thing to do here is for this individual to recognize that they are literally violating an oath. If they are that senior administration official, they are violating an oath not to the President, but to the Constitution."

Pence appeared to be arguing that by showing such disloyalty to the President and even whispering about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him, the "resistance" the op-ed writer mentions is subverting the democratic process.

But those who have praised the actions of the op-ed writer, and officials mentioned in Woodward's book who appear to be acting to contain an impulsive President, counter that senior officials may be acting to protect the Constitution itself from Trump's attacks.

Trump's calls for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the author of the Times article have renewed fears about the President's expansive view of executive power. After all, he is effectively calling for the government's instruments of criminal investigation to be brought to bear against someone who has committed no obvious crime.

"Does this President not understand that the Justice Department is not a tool of his own personal power?" Virginia Sen. Mark Warner asked Sunday on "State of the Union."

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, meanwhile, warned that the incessant chaos at the White House was distracting from crucial problems.

"I don't have any desire to beat this President up, but it's pretty clear that this White House is a reality-show, soap-opera presidency," Sasse, a frequent Trump critic said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"What you'd like is the President to not worry so much about the short term of staffing, but the long term of vision-casting for America, pull us together as a people, help us deliberate about where we should go and then build a team of great, big-cause, low-ego people around you," he said.

November is coming
The fresh uproar at the White House and questions about Trump's leadership style and personality could not come at a worse time for Republicans, with less than two months to go before midterm elections in which Democrats hope to cripple his presidency by winning the House of Representatives.

Some pundits are now beginning to wonder if Democrats have a narrow path to victory in the Senate as well.

Any sense of demoralization that sets in amid GOP voters could dampen their turnout in the election, one reason why Trump is stepping up his campaign swings through red states and imploring his loyal base to turn out in record numbers.

One top Trump aide, budget chief Mick Mulvaney, warned behind closed doors on Saturday that even GOP candidates such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz could be at risk of losing and were not "likable" enough, The New York Times reported.

Mulvaney made his comments, according to the Times, at a meeting with party donors alongside Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. The Times said a person at the private event provided the paper with an audio recording of Mulvaney's remarks.

Trump however is adamant that there will not be a "blue wave" of Democratic victories, but a Republican tide in November, based on the strong economy and what he claims is the record-breaking performance of his administration.

"Republicans are doing really well with the Senate Midterms. Races that we were not even thinking about winning are now very close, or even leading," the President said in a late Saturday evening tweet. "Election night will be very interesting indeed!"

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trumps-authority-crisis-deepens/ar-BBN6Sct?ocid=ientp
 

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Omarosa claims White House staff would message each other '#TFA'
Omarosa claims White House staff would message each other '#TFA' in reference to removing Trump with the 25th amendment when the President was 'doing something insane'

  • Manigault Newman said the hashtag was a reference to the 25th amendment
  • The 25th amendment allows the removal of a President if they are 'mentally ill'
  • The former White House aide said she used the acronym with several staffers
  • White House press secretary Sarah Sanders hit back at the claims on Sunday
  • Trump hit out at Manigault Newman last month over her new book on him
  • In the book Manigault Newman described the President as mentally 'in decline'
  • She also released a series of tapes recorded within the White House last month
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...just-hashtag-TFA-moving-Trump-did-insane.html
 

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Trump attacks Woodward's 'fiction' book and claims author used 'disproven' sources
'Bob Woodward is a liar!' Trump opens up on famed Watergate reporter with both barrels after he says president is waging 'war on truth' and 'detached from the reality' of his job

  • President Trump continued slamming Bob Woodward and his forthcoming book on Monday following a stinging 'TODAY' show interview
  • He says the journalist behind the attack-dog tome used 'disproven' anonymous sources to kneecap him and is 'a liar'
  • 'Fear' is at the top of the Amazon bestseller list but Trump insists it's 'just another assault'
  • Woodward is half of the Washington Post duo that exposed the Nixon-era Watergate scandal
  • He's known as a meticulous interviewer and researcher and said Monday that Trump is waging 'a war on truth'
  • Also claimed that when James Mattis and John Kelly deny what he wrote about them privately insulting Trump , they're trying to 'protect their jobs'
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...ook-claims-author-used-disproven-sources.html
 

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He's a political genius - maybe a bit narcissistic. Wonderful for the country though and maybe the world. Since he's been in office, the DOW has climbed more than 6000 points due to his economic policies. Some people don't like him (especially liberals and those with limited IQ's) because of this enormous success he's had in such a short period of time. He also doesn't pull punches which is refreshing nowadays. I'm afraid that having a man like Mr. Trump in the Whitehouse is a wonderful once in century event - sit back and really enjoy it. ;)
 

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White House says rebutting Bob Woodward's book would be 'waste of our time'
White House says rebutting Bob Woodward's book would be 'waste of our time' and believes Trump will win credibility battle with famed journalist even though six in 10 Americans think he's dishonest

  • White House press secretary says Trumpworld has no plan to release a list of all the 'lies' in Bob Woodward's book, due on Tuesday
  • 'I think that would be a complete and utter waste of our time,' Sarah Sanders told DailyMail.com during a Monday briefing, 'so, no'
  • Trump continued slamming Woodward on Monday following a stinging 'TODAY' show interview
  • He says the journalist behind the attack-dog tome used 'disproven' anonymous sources to kneecap him and is 'a liar'
  • Sanders insisted Trump is 'absolutely' a credible voice in the battle with Woodward for voters' hearts and minds
  • Woodward is a legendary reporter, half of the Washington Post duo that exposed the Nixon-era Watergate scandal
  • He's known as a meticulous interviewer and researcher and said Monday that Trump is waging 'a war on truth'
  • Also claimed that when James Mattis and John Kelly deny what he wrote about them privately insulting Trump, they're trying to 'protect their jobs'
  • Kelly, Mattis and former Trump lawyer John Dowd have contested a handful of quotes that figure in fewer than 10 of the book's 420 pages
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...-rebutting-Bob-Woodwards-book-waste-time.html
 

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Bob Woodward: People Closest To President Donald Trump Don't Trust Him | Morning Joe | MSNBC
MSNBC


Published on Sep 12, 2018
Veteran journalist Bob Woodward has faced scathing attacks from the president and WH officials over his new book 'Fear,' yet Woodward stands by his reporting, and he joins Morning Joe to discuss.
» Subscribe to MSNBC: http://on.msnbc.com/SubscribeTomsnbc
 

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Trump doubles down on claim of 'unappreciated great job' after Hurricane Maria killed nearly 3,000 and blames slow recovery on 'incompetent' San Juan mayor who asks: 'Can you imagine what he thinks failure looks like?'

  • 'I think Puerto Rico was an incredible unsung success,' President Trump said Tuesday, shrugging off nearly 3,000 deaths from Hurricane Maria
  • 'The best job we did is Puerto Rico but nobody would understand it,' he added
  • On Wednesday he doubled down, blaming 'totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan' for the slow recovery
  • Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz fired back on Twitter: 'Success? Federal response according to Trump in Puerto Rico a success?'
  • 'If he thinks the death of 3,000 people is a success God help us all'
  • Hurricane Florence is barreling toward the southeastern U.S. seaboard and is being called the storm of the century
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...ponse-Puerto-Rico-storm-underappreciated.html
 

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Cooper to Woodward: This part of book was terrifying
CNN


Published on Sep 12, 2018
CNN's Anderson Cooper talks to veteran journalist Bob Woodward about his new book, "Fear."
 

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Trump brags he is getting 'tremendous accolades' for his response to Hurricane Florence - even though it hasn't hit land

  • Trump claims government officials and locals praised his preparations for storm
  • Hurricane Florence heading towards south-east with thousands leaving homes
  • Residents along coast boarding up their properties and stockpiling supplies
  • President was criticized for his response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...us-accolades-response-Hurricane-Florence.html
 

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Bob Woodward: People Closest To President Donald Trump Don't Trust Him | Morning Joe | MSNBC
MSNBC


Published on Sep 12, 2018
Veteran journalist Bob Woodward has faced scathing attacks from the president and WH officials over his new book 'Fear,' yet Woodward stands by his reporting, and he joins Morning Joe to discuss.
» Subscribe to MSNBC: http://on.msnbc.com/SubscribeTomsnbc
Bob Woodward on the fake news channel. By him being there it makes me suspect his book as just Trump bashing garbage. I've never seen an American President treated so horribly unfair by the American media. I really hope that Americans can learn something from this lack of civility.
 

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Trump falsely claims nearly 3,000 Americans in Puerto Rico 'did not die'
CNN


Published on Sep 13, 2018
Nearly 3,000 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. President Donald Trump denied this reality as a hurricane barrels toward the Carolinas.
 

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Why is this thread so negative? Why are the most recent posts about president Trump from Fake News sources? It's all MSNBC and CNN BULLSHIT.
 

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Why is this thread so negative? Why are the most recent posts about president Trump from Fake News sources? It's all MSNBC and CNN BULLSHIT.
When I start a thread on political subjects I post all sides. Wouldn't be right to only post positive or negative stuff. Two sides to every coin, etc.

Don't take it too seriously. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

I think now that Manaford is cooperating with Mueller things could get real interesting real soon.

Then again...……….who knows.
 

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Jumping ship...……………


Wealthiest Republican supporter in Ohio quits party

The Hill
Justin Wise
3 hrs ago



The wealthiest supporter of the GOP in Ohio said Thursday that he is no longer a member of the Republican Party.

"I just decided I'm no longer a Republican," L Brands CEO Leslie Wexner said during a panel discussion at a leadership summit, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Wexner, who said he's been a Republican since college, added that he is now an independent, before saying that he "won't support this nonsense in the Republican Party" anymore.

"I haven't run an ad in the newspaper that said, 'I quit,'" he said.

The Columbus Dispatch noted that Wexner said he's instead been writing notes to friends who are lawmakers and telling them that he's no longer a member of the GOP.

The development came just a day after former President Obama slammed GOP lawmakers during a rally in Ohio for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray.

"What you're seeing is Republicans in Congress who are bending over backwards to try to shield and deflect oversight of this behavior and accountability and consequences," Obama said.

"This is serious. You know it is. And frankly even some of the Republicans know it is. They will say it, they just don't do anything about it. ... [They say,] 'we'll put up with crazy' in exchange for tax reform and deregulation."

Wexner called Obama's visit to Ohio this week a "great moment for the community," according to the Dispatch.

"I was struck by the genuineness of the man; his candor, humility and empathy for others," Wexner said.

The newspaper noted that the comments stand in stark contrast to what the GOP supporter has said about President Trump.

The billionaire CEO reportedly said in a speech last year that he was "ashamed" by Trump's response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that erupted in violence and led to the death of a 32-year-old woman.

The Ohio businessman has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates and groups over the years, including giving $250,000 to a super PAC backing Sen. Rob Portman's (R) reelection campaign in 2016 and nearly $70,000 to GOP committees and candidates in Ohio and other states, the Dispatch noted.

Wexner isn't the only person to renounce their GOP affiliation this year. In August, Michael London, a former member of the Trumbull Town Council in Connecticut, announced he was leaving the party because it was "no longer the party that I believed in all these years."

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...ter-in-ohio-quits-party/ar-BBNlUBg?ocid=ientp
 

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Fired FBI boss Andrew McCabe signs book deal to castigate Trump as a threat to public safety and reveal their 'troubling and bizarre' conversations

  • McCabe was fired after repeated attacks from Trump and a finding by the DoJ inspector general that he misled investigators over leaks
  • Law enforcement veteran will fight back in book called The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, published in December
  • He follows in footsteps of James Comey whose book made him millions
  • In statement announcing deal, McCabe accuses Trump of 'undermining America's safety and security'
  • McCabe rose to acting FBI director after Comey's firing and previously oversaw its probe into Hillary Clinton
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6180657/Former-FBI-official-Andrew-McCabe-book-deal.html
 

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FEMA puts off test of emergency system that lets Trump text every U.S. cellphone as Americans threaten to turn off their phones in protest because they fear he'll use it to carp about the Mueller probe

  • FEMA was to test a nationwide cellphone emergency alert system on Thursday
  • Because of Hurricane Florence response efforts, that has been pushed back to October 3
  • But many Twitter users are warning their phone carriers that they plan to turn off their devices on that day because they're not allowed to opt out
  • 'Many of us are worried the President will text about the Mueller probe, Russia, or the primaries,' one Trump opponent complained
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6176967/U-S-pushes-national-wireless-alert-test-Oct-3.html
 

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Nomi Prins: Donald In Wonderland - Down The Financial Rabbit Hole With President Trump


by Tyler Durden
Thu, 09/20/2018 - 20:30


Authored by Nomi Prins via TomDispatch.com,

Once upon a time, there was a little-known energy company called Enron. In its 16-year life, it went from being dubbed America’s most innovative company by Fortune Magazine to being the poster child of American corporate deceit. Using a classic recipe for book-cooking, Enron ended up in bankruptcy with jail time for those involved. Its shareholders lost $74 billionin the four years leading up to its bankruptcy in 2001.

A decade ago, the flameout of my former employer, Lehman Brothers, the global financial firm, proved far more devastating, contributing as it did to a series of events that ignited a global financial meltdown. Americans lost an estimated $12.8 trillion in the havoc.

Despite the differing scales of those disasters, there was a common thread: both companies used financial tricks to make themselves appear so much healthier than they actually were. They both faked the numbers, thanks to off-the-books or offshore mechanisms and eluded investigations... until they collapsed.



Now, here’s a question for you as we head for the November midterm elections, sure to be seen as a referendum on the president: Could Donald Trump be a one-man version of either Enron or Lehman Brothers, someone who cooked “the books” until, well, he imploded?

Since we’ve never seen his tax returns, right now we really don’t know. What we do know is that he’s been dodging bullets ever since the Justice Department accused him of violating the Fair Housing Act in his operation of 39 buildings in New York City in 1973. Unlike famed 1920s mob boss Al Capone, he may never get done in by something as simple as tax evasion, but time will tell.

Rest assured of one thing though: he won’t go down easily, even if he is already the subject of multiple investigations and a plethora of legal slings and arrows. Of course, his methods should be familiar. As President Calvin Coolidge so famously put it, “the business of America is business.” And the business of business is to circumvent or avoid the heat... until, of course, it can’t.

The Safe
So far, Treasury Secretary and former Trump national campaign financechairman Steven Mnuchin has remained out of the legal fray that’s sweeping away some of his fellow campaign associates. Certainly, he and his wife have grandiose tastes. And, yes, his claim that his hedge fund, Dune Capital Management, used offshore tax havens only for his clients, not to help him evade taxes himself, represents a stretch of the imagination. Other than that, however, there seems little else to investigate -- for now. Still, as Treasury secretary he does oversee a federal agency that means the world to Donald Trump, the Internal Revenue Service, which just happens to be located across a courtyard from the Trump International Hotel on Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue.

As it happens, the IRS in the Trump era still doesn’t have a commissioner, only an acting head. What it may have, National Enquirer-style, is genuine presidential secrets in the form of Donald Trump’s elusive tax returns. Last fall, outgoing IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said that there were plans to relocate them to a shiny new safe where they would evidently remain.

In 2016, Trump became the first candidate since President Richard Nixon not to disclose his tax returns. During the campaign, he insisted that those returns were undergoing an IRS audit and that he would not release them until it was completed. (No one at the IRS has ever confirmed that being audited in any way prohibits the release of tax information.) The president’s pledge to do so remains unfulfilled and last year counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway noted that the White House was “not going to release his tax returns,” adding -- undoubtedly thinking about his base -- “people didn’t care.”

On April 17, 2018, the White House announced that the president would defer even filing his 2017 tax returns until this October. As every president since Nixon has undergone a mandatory audit while in office, count on American taxpayers hearing the same excuse for the rest of his term, even if Congress were to decide to invoke a 1924 IRS provision to view them.

Still, Conway may have a point when it comes to the public. After all, tax dodging is as American as fireworks on the Fourth of July. According to one study, every year the U.S. loses $400 billion in unpaid taxes, much of it hidden in offshore tax havens.

Yet the financial disclosures that The Donald did make during election campaign 2016 indicate that there are more than 500 companies in over two dozen countries, mostly with few to no employees or real offices, that feature him as their “president.” Let’s face it, someone like Trump would only create a business universe of such Wall Street-esque complexity if he wanted to hide something. He was likely trying to evade taxes, shield himself and his family from financial accountability, or hide the dubious health of parts of his business empire. As a colleague of mine at Bear Stearns once put it, when tax-haven companies pile up like dirty laundry, there’s a high likelihood that their uses aren’t completely clean.

Now, let’s consider what we know of Donald Trump’s financial adventures, taxes and all. It’s quite a story and, even though it already feels like forever, it’s only beginning to be told.

The Trump Organization
Atop the non-White House branch of the Trump dynasty is the Trump Organization. To comply with federal conflict-of-interest requirements, The Donald officially turned over that company’s reins to his sons, Eric and Donald Jr. For all the obvious reasons, he was supposed to distance himself from his global business while running the country.

Only that didn’t happen and not just because every diplomat and lobbyist in town started to frequent his money-making new hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. Now, according to the New York Times, the Manhattan district attorney’s office is considering pressing criminal charges against the Trump Organization and two of its senior officials because the president’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid off an adult film actress and a former Playboy model to keep their carnal knowledge to themselves before the election.

Though Cohen effectively gave Stormy Daniels $130,000 and Karen McDougal $150,000 to keep them quiet, the Trump Organization then paid Cohen even more, $420,000, funds it didn’t categorize as a reimbursement for expenses, but as a “retainer.” In its internal paperwork, it then termed that sum as “legal expenses.”

The D.A.’s office is evidently focusing its investigation on how the Trump Organization classified that payment of $420,000, in part for the funds Cohen raised from the equity in his home to calm the Stormy (so to speak). Most people take out home equity loans to build a garage or pay down some debt. Not Cohen. It’s a situation that could become far thornier for Trump. As Cohen already knew, Trump couldn’t possibly wield his pardon power to absolve his former lawyer, since it only appliesto those convicted of federal charges, not state ones.

And that’s bad news for the president. As Lanny Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, put it, “If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn’t they be a crime for Donald Trump?”

The bigger question is: What else is there? Those two payoffs may, after all, just represent the beginning of the woes facing both the Trump Organization and the Trump Foundation, which has been the umbrella outfit for businesses that have incurred charges of lobbying violations (not disclosing payment to a local newspaper to promote favorable casino legislation) and gaming law violations. His organization has also been accused of misleading investors, engaging in currency-transaction-reporting crimes, and improperly accounting for money used to buy betting chips, among a myriad of other transgressions. To speculate on overarching corporate fraud would not exactly be a stretch.

Unlike his casinos, the Trump Organization has not (yet) gone bankrupt, nor -- were it to do so -- is it in a class with Enron or Lehman Brothers. Yet it does have something in common with both of them: piles of money secreted in places designed to hide its origins, uses, and possibly end-users. The question some authority may pursue someday is: If Donald Trump was willing to be a part of a scheme to hide money paid to former lovers, wouldn't he do the same for his businesses?

The Trump Foundation
Questions about Trump’s charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, have abounded since campaign 2016. They prompted New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood to file a lawsuit on June 14th against the foundation, also naming its board of directors, including his sons and his daughter Ivanka. It cites “a pattern of persistent illegal conduct... occurring over more than a decade, that includes extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Mr. Trump’s personal and business interests, and violations of basic legal obligations for non-profit foundations.”

As the New York Times reported, “The lawsuit accused the charity and members of Mr. Trump’s family of sweeping violations of campaign finance laws, self-dealing, and illegal coordination with Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.” It also alleged that for four years -- 2007, 2012, 2013, and 2014 -- Trump himself placed his John Hancock below incorrect statements on the foundation’s tax returns.

The main issue in question: Did the Trump Foundation use any of its funds to benefit The Donald or any of his businesses directly? Underwood thinks so. As she pointed out, it “was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality.” Otherwise it seems to have employed no one and, according to the lawsuit, its board of directors has not met since 1999.

Because Trump ran all of his enterprises, he was also personally responsible for signing their tax returns. His charitable foundation was no exception. Were he found to have knowingly provided false information on its tax returns, he could someday face perjury charges.

On August 31st, the foundation’s lawyers fought back, filing papers of their own, calling the lawsuit, as the New York Times put it, “a political attack motivated by the former attorney general’s ‘record of antipathy’ against Mr. Trump.” They were referring to Eric Schneiderman, who had actually resigned the previous May -- consider this an irony under the circumstances -- after being accused of sexual assault by former girlfriends.

The New York state court system has, in fact, emerged as a vital force in the pushback against the president and his financial shenanigans. As Zephyr Teachout, recent Democratic candidate for New York attorney general, pointed out, it is “one of the most important legal offices in the entire country to both resist and present an alternative to what is happening at the federal level." And indeed it had begun fulfilling that responsibility with The Donald long before the Mueller investigation was even launched.

In 2013, Schneiderman filed a civil suit against Trump University, calling it a sham institution that engaged in repeated fraudulent behavior. In 2016, Trump finally settled that case in court, agreeing to a $25 million payment to its former students -- something that (though we don’t, of course, have the tax returns to confirm this) probably also proved to be a tax write-off for him.

These days, the New York attorney general’s office could essentially create a branch only for matters Trumpian. So far, it has brought more than 100 legal or administrative actions against the president and congressional Republicans since he took office.

Still, don’t sell the foundation short. It did, in the end, find a way to work for the greater good -- of Donald Trump. He and his wife, Melania, for instance, used the “charity” to purchase a now infamous six-foot portrait of himself for $20,000 -- and true to form, according to the Washington Post, even that purchase could turn out to be a tax violation. Such “self-dealing” is considered illegal. Of course, we’re talking about someone who “used $258,000 from the foundation to pay off legal settlements that involved his for-profit businesses.” That seems like the definition of self-dealing.

The Trump Team
The president swears that he has an uncanny ability to size someone up in a few seconds, based on attitude, confidence, and a handshake -- that, in other words, just as there’s the art of the deal, so, too, there’s the art of choosing those who will represent him, stand by him, and take bullets for him, his White House, and his business enterprises. And for a while, he did indeed seem to be a champion when it came to surrounding himself with people who had a special knack for hiding money, tax documents, and secret payoffs from public view.

These days -- think of them as the era of attrition for Donald Trump -- that landscape looks a lot emptier and less inviting.

On August 21st, his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was convictedin Virginia of “five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to disclose a foreign bank account.” (On September 14th, he would make a deal with Robert Mueller and plead guilty to two counts of conspiracy.) On that same August day, Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, also pled guilty to eight different federal crimes in the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, including -- yep -- tax evasion.

Three days later, prosecutors in the Cohen investigation granted immunity to the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. A loyal employee of the Trump family for more than four decades, he had also served as treasurer for the Donald J. Trump Foundation. If anyone other than the president and his children knows the financial and tax secrets of the Trump empire, it’s him. And now, he may be ready to talk. Lurking in his future testimony could be yet another catalyst in a coming Trump tax debacle.

And don’t forget David Pecker, CEO of American Media, the company that publishes the National Enquirer. Pecker bought and buried stories for The Donald for what seems like forever. He, too, now has an immunity deal in the federal investigation of Cohen (and so Trump), evidently in return forproviding information on the president’s hush-money deals to bury various exploits that he came to find unpalatable.

The question is this: Did Trump know of Cohen’s hush-money payments? Cohen has certainly indicated that he did and Pecker seems to have told federal prosecutors a similar story. As Cohen said in court of Pecker, "I and the CEO of a media company, at the request of the candidate, worked together" to keep the public in the dark about such payments and Trump’s involvement in them.

The president’s former lawyer faces up to 65 years in prison. That’s enough time to make him consider what other tales he might be able to tell in return for a lighter sentence, including possibly exposing various tax avoidance techniques he and his former client cooked up.

And don’t think that Cohen, Pecker, and Weisselberg are going to be the last figures to come forward with such stories as the Trump team begins to come unglued.

In the cases of Enron and Lehman Brothers, both companies unraveled after multiple shell games imploded. Enron’s losses were being hidden in multiple offshore entities. In the case of Lehman Brothers, staggeringly over-valued assets were being pledged to borrow yet more money to buy similar assets. In both cases, rigged games were being played in the shadows, while vital information went undisclosed to the public -- until it was way too late.

Donald Trump’s equivalent shell games still largely remain to be revealed. They may simply involve hiding money trails to evade taxes or to secretly buy political power and business influence. There is, as yet, no way of knowing. One thing is clear, however: the only way to begin to get answers is to see the president’s tax returns, audited or not. Isn’t it time to open that safe?

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018...nd-down-financial-rabbit-hole-president-trump
 

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Publicist behind Trump Tower meeting says Russian pop star who initiated it bonded with The Donald years earlier about beauty queens and says they were a 'match made in frat boy heaven'

  • British publicist Rob Goldstone has written about his involvement in the infamous Trump Tower meeting in a new book
  • Goldstone was the publicist for Russian pop star Emin Agalarov who had requested the 2016 meeting with Trump's campaign
  • He said Trump and Agalarov first bonded back in 2013 over dinner in Las Vegas
  • They were trying to arrange Trump hosting his Miss Universe pageant in Moscow
  • Singer's billionaire father, Aras Agalarov, was to be the host and the younger Agalarov would be the main entertainment
  • Goldstone said Trump and Agalarov were a 'match made in frat boy heaven' when they started making bets about sleeping with beauty queens
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...mp-Tower-meeting-spills-details-new-book.html
 

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Checking 6 Claims From Trump’s News Conference

NYT
By LINDA QIU
41 mins ago

What Mr. Trump said
“They made false statements about me. I never met them. I never met these people. And what did they do, what did they do? They took money in order to say bad things.”

The facts
This is misleading.

Mr. Trump said he was accused of sexual misconduct by four or five women “who got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me," and whom he claimed he had never met. He then contradicted himself and said that he “knew them a long time ago. Fifteen years ago, 20 years ago.”

More than a dozen women have accused him of sexual misconduct. Of those women, he has met at least six, as The New York Times reported last year:

People magazine posted on Twitter on Tuesday a photograph of Natasha Stoynoff, one of its reporters, with Mr. Trump at his wedding to Melania Knauss in January 2005. Ms. Stoynoff has said that later that year, she interviewed the couple for an article about their first anniversary at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where she says Mr. Trump assaulted her.

Summer Zervos was a contestant on Season 5 of ‘The Apprentice,’ Mr. Trump’s long-running reality television show. She says Mr. Trump madeunwanted sexual advances toward her in 2007.

Two additional accusers have participated in beauty pageants that Mr. Trump ran. Temple Taggart McDowell, who represented Utah in Miss USA in 1997, told NBC News that Mr. Trump kissed her on the lips during a rehearsal dinner that year. Ninni Laaksonen, who competed for Finland in Miss Universe, said Mr. Trump groped her in 2006. There are photos of Mr. Trump with both women.

A fifth woman, Jessica Drake, an adult-film actress, said Mr. Trump groped her at a golf tournament in 2006. Last year, Ms. Drake presented an undated photo of her appearing with Mr. Trump at a news conference.

A sixth woman, makeup artist Jill Harth, said Mr. Trump groped her in 1992 and she filed a lawsuit against him in 1997. She later withdrew that complaint as part of a settlement of a different lawsuit with Mr. Trump.

The president’s contention that the women were paid to falsely accuse him of sexual misconduct distorts news reports about financial donations to some accusers.

The Times’ Kenneth Vogel reported in December that political partisans raised money to support accusers who came forward with charges of sexual misconduct about Mr. Trump and members of Congress.

Gloria Allred, a high-profile women’s rights attorney, raised money to support Ms. Zervos’ legal fees in her case against Mr. Trump — not to pay her to make false accusations. Lisa Bloom, Ms. Allred’s daughter and another prominent lawyer, also sought donations to fund security and relocation for women who were contemplating sharing their stories about Mr. Trump, though some of them ultimately decided not to come forward.

Ms. Bloom did provide financial aid for Ms. Harth, who maintained her allegations were not affected by the payments, according to The Hill.

What Mr. Trump said
“You know, I got 52 percent with women. Everybody said this couldn’t happen, 52 percent.”

This is exaggerated.
Exit polls collected by The New York Times indicated that 53 percent of white women voted for Mr. Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Overall, however, 42 percent of all women voted for him. That data are consistent with polls collected by CNN and The Washington Post.

What Mr. Trump said
“We’re starting trade talks with Japan. They were not willing, for years, to talk. And now they’re willing to talk trade.”

The facts
False.

The United States and Japan announced on Wednesday that they will begin talks on a bilateral trade deal. But Japan and the United States both signed a major multilateral trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with 10 other nations in 2016. Mr. Trump formally abandoned the TPP deal during his first days in office.

What Mr. Trump said
“We have trade imbalances with almost everybody. It’s a rare exception that we don’t.”

The facts
This is exaggerated.

The United States has an overall trade surplus with six out of 15 major trading partners, according to the Census Bureau. They are Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Taiwan.

When talking about trade imbalances, Mr. Trump frequently focuses solely on the deficit in goods. On that measure, he is even more wrong. Out of 234 trading partners, the United States had a trade surplus in goods with 129 countries or territories.

Mr. Trump has frequently criticized trade deficits as weaknesses in American trade policy, but most economists do not see them that way.

What Mr. Trump said
“I have 145 judges I will be picking by the end of a fairly short period of time, because President Obama wasn’t big on picking judges. When I got there I said, how is this possible? I have 145, including Court of Appeals judges. And they just didn’t do it, you know why? They got tired, they got complacent — something happened.”

The facts
This is misleading.

Mr. Trump has been very successful in appointing judges to lower courts. But his suggestion Mr. Obama was less so because he “got tired” is not accurate.

Mr. Obama successfully appointed 334 judges to federal courts. Gridlock in Congress, however, stalled most of his nominations in his last two years in office.

Of the 71 people whom Mr. Obama nominated to the courts of appeals and district courts in 2015 and 2016, only 20 were voted on and confirmed, according to data compiled by Russell Wheeler, an expert on the judicial selection process at the Brookings Institution.

“He would have nominated more, but they faced blue slip vetoes,” Mr. Wheeler said, referring to slips of papers that senators submit to — or withhold from — the Judiciary Committee in signaling approval or disapproval of nominees from their home states.

What Mr. Trump said
“I heard somebody on a certain network last night, I won't mention which one, say why has President Trump given so much to North Korea? I said wait a minute. I asked Sarah Huckabee, please call this person. I gave him nothing other than I met. What did I give him? I didn't do what Obama did; give him $1.8 billion in cash to get back four hostages.”

The facts
This is misleading.

Mr. Trump is likely referring to a $1.7 billion cash payment the Obama administration made to Iran, not North Korea. The payment helped secure the release of three American hostages in 2016, but it stemmed from a decades-long dispute. As The Times has previously reported:
Before the 1979 revolution, Iran’s shah had paid $400 million for American military goods but, after he was overthrown, they were never delivered. The clerics who seized control demanded the money back, but the United States refused. The additional $1.3 billion is interest accumulated over 35 years.

The United States does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea and while it has provided emergency food and other aid in the past during times of famine or natural disasters, it has not paid North Korea for the return of any hostages.

Linda Qiu is a fact-check reporter, based in Washington. She came to the Times in 2017 from the fact-checking service PolitiFact.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/factc...trump’s-news-conference/ar-BBNCjCj?ocid=ientp
 

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Congressional Democrats’ lawsuit alleging Trump’s private business is violating the Constitution can proceed, federal judge rules

Washington Post
Jonathan O'Connell, David Fahrenthold, Carol Leonnig
3 hrs ago


A federal judge on Friday gave the go-ahead to a lawsuit filed by 200 congressional Democrats against President Trump alleging that he has violated the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments while in office.

The lawsuit is based on the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bars presidents from taking payments from foreign states. Trump’s business, which he still owns, has hosted foreign embassy events and visiting foreign officials at its downtown D.C. hotel.

The decision opens up yet another legal front for the president, who is now facing an array of inquiries into his business, his campaign and his charity.

Trump is already facing a separate emoluments suit filed by the attorneys general of Washington, D.C. and Maryland that is moving forward. In addition, he is contending with the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian interference, a lawsuit from the New York Attorney General that alleged “persistently illegal conduct” at his charitable foundation, and a defamation lawsuit brought by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos.

In his ruling, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan wrote that the members of Congress “appropriate seek relief in federal court” because they have no way to address their concern about Trump’s alleged violation of the emoluments clause with legislation.

“The Clause requires the President to ask Congress before accepting a prohibited foreign emolument,” Sullivan wrote. If the allegations made by Democrats are true, he said, then “the President is accepting prohibited foreign emoluments without asking and without receiving a favorable reply from Congress.”

By not asking Congress, Sullivan said, Trump could have effectively “nullified their votes” — which, he said, meant that legislators could seek the unusual remedy of filing a lawsuit against the president.

Although Trump has given up day-to-day management of his businesses, which include residential, office, hotel and golf properties in the United States, Europe and South America, he still owns them and can withdraw money from them at any time.

The foreign emoluments clause prohibits payments from foreign governments, which it says cannot be accepted “without the consent of Congress.”

Some of Trump’s properties benefit from investments or business from foreign governments, particularly his D.C. hotel, which has hosted leaders from Kuwait, Malaysia and other countries.

The president has not asked Congress to approve any transactions with foreign states.

Trump’s attorneys have argued that this is not necessary, because the payments he receives through the hotel and other businesses are not emoluments — at least, not by the definition the Founding Fathers would have used.

At the end of the last year, the Trump Organization said it donated $151,470 in February in what it said were profits from foreign government business, but declined to explain how it determined that amount.

The congressional plaintiffs, led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), asked the court to force Trump to stop accepting payments they consider improper — or to force him to seek Congress’s consent first

Justice Department attorneys, who are representing Trump, asked the court to dismiss the case. They said Congress doesn’t need to wait for Trump to ask permission — it could act first and pass a bill to ban the president from accepting such compensation.

This is the latest case in which the president and his company may now be exposed to a lengthy legal process and possible discovery by plaintiffs who oppose him politically, a process that could include depositions of witnesses and the disclosure of Trump Organization financial documents.

In the other emoluments suit, the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia contend that President Trump’s financial interests — particularly his D.C. hotel — allow him to unfairly profit. Justice Department lawyers in that case say the president is not breaking the law when foreign officials book rooms at his hotel in the capital because he is not trading favors in exchange for a benefit.

Last month, Justice Department attorneys in that caseasked a federal judge to halt proceedings, arguing that allowing the case to go forward would “be a distraction to the President’s performance of his constitutional duties.” This sort of appeal is rarely granted, because lower court judges usually prefer to complete a full case before any appeal is made.

A third emoluments case, brought by the advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, was dismissed for lack of standing but is under appeal.

Before Trump took office, the emoluments clauses of the Constitution had not been tested in court in more than 200 years. One clause bars federal officers from taking gifts, or emoluments, from foreign governments. The other prohibits presidents from taking side payments from individual states.

Both aim to ensure independence and guard against undue influence by other governments.

Jonathan.OConnell@washpost.com

David.Fahrenthold@washpost.com

carol.leonnig@washpost.com

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world...eed-federal-judge-rules/ar-BBNGvIz?ocid=ientp
 

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Checking 6 Claims From Trump’s News Conference

NYT
By LINDA QIU
41 mins ago

What Mr. Trump said
“They made false statements about me. I never met them. I never met these people. And what did they do, what did they do? They took money in order to say bad things.”

The facts
This is misleading.

Mr. Trump said he was accused of sexual misconduct by four or five women “who got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me," and whom he claimed he had never met. He then contradicted himself and said that he “knew them a long time ago. Fifteen years ago, 20 years ago.”

More than a dozen women have accused him of sexual misconduct. Of those women, he has met at least six, as The New York Times reported last year:

People magazine posted on Twitter on Tuesday a photograph of Natasha Stoynoff, one of its reporters, with Mr. Trump at his wedding to Melania Knauss in January 2005. Ms. Stoynoff has said that later that year, she interviewed the couple for an article about their first anniversary at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where she says Mr. Trump assaulted her.

Summer Zervos was a contestant on Season 5 of ‘The Apprentice,’ Mr. Trump’s long-running reality television show. She says Mr. Trump madeunwanted sexual advances toward her in 2007.

Two additional accusers have participated in beauty pageants that Mr. Trump ran. Temple Taggart McDowell, who represented Utah in Miss USA in 1997, told NBC News that Mr. Trump kissed her on the lips during a rehearsal dinner that year. Ninni Laaksonen, who competed for Finland in Miss Universe, said Mr. Trump groped her in 2006. There are photos of Mr. Trump with both women.

A fifth woman, Jessica Drake, an adult-film actress, said Mr. Trump groped her at a golf tournament in 2006. Last year, Ms. Drake presented an undated photo of her appearing with Mr. Trump at a news conference.

A sixth woman, makeup artist Jill Harth, said Mr. Trump groped her in 1992 and she filed a lawsuit against him in 1997. She later withdrew that complaint as part of a settlement of a different lawsuit with Mr. Trump.

The president’s contention that the women were paid to falsely accuse him of sexual misconduct distorts news reports about financial donations to some accusers.

The Times’ Kenneth Vogel reported in December that political partisans raised money to support accusers who came forward with charges of sexual misconduct about Mr. Trump and members of Congress.

Gloria Allred, a high-profile women’s rights attorney, raised money to support Ms. Zervos’ legal fees in her case against Mr. Trump — not to pay her to make false accusations. Lisa Bloom, Ms. Allred’s daughter and another prominent lawyer, also sought donations to fund security and relocation for women who were contemplating sharing their stories about Mr. Trump, though some of them ultimately decided not to come forward.

Ms. Bloom did provide financial aid for Ms. Harth, who maintained her allegations were not affected by the payments, according to The Hill.

What Mr. Trump said
“You know, I got 52 percent with women. Everybody said this couldn’t happen, 52 percent.”

This is exaggerated.
Exit polls collected by The New York Times indicated that 53 percent of white women voted for Mr. Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Overall, however, 42 percent of all women voted for him. That data are consistent with polls collected by CNN and The Washington Post.

What Mr. Trump said
“We’re starting trade talks with Japan. They were not willing, for years, to talk. And now they’re willing to talk trade.”

The facts
False.

The United States and Japan announced on Wednesday that they will begin talks on a bilateral trade deal. But Japan and the United States both signed a major multilateral trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with 10 other nations in 2016. Mr. Trump formally abandoned the TPP deal during his first days in office.

What Mr. Trump said
“We have trade imbalances with almost everybody. It’s a rare exception that we don’t.”

The facts
This is exaggerated.

The United States has an overall trade surplus with six out of 15 major trading partners, according to the Census Bureau. They are Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Taiwan.

When talking about trade imbalances, Mr. Trump frequently focuses solely on the deficit in goods. On that measure, he is even more wrong. Out of 234 trading partners, the United States had a trade surplus in goods with 129 countries or territories.

Mr. Trump has frequently criticized trade deficits as weaknesses in American trade policy, but most economists do not see them that way.

What Mr. Trump said
“I have 145 judges I will be picking by the end of a fairly short period of time, because President Obama wasn’t big on picking judges. When I got there I said, how is this possible? I have 145, including Court of Appeals judges. And they just didn’t do it, you know why? They got tired, they got complacent — something happened.”

The facts
This is misleading.

Mr. Trump has been very successful in appointing judges to lower courts. But his suggestion Mr. Obama was less so because he “got tired” is not accurate.

Mr. Obama successfully appointed 334 judges to federal courts. Gridlock in Congress, however, stalled most of his nominations in his last two years in office.

Of the 71 people whom Mr. Obama nominated to the courts of appeals and district courts in 2015 and 2016, only 20 were voted on and confirmed, according to data compiled by Russell Wheeler, an expert on the judicial selection process at the Brookings Institution.

“He would have nominated more, but they faced blue slip vetoes,” Mr. Wheeler said, referring to slips of papers that senators submit to — or withhold from — the Judiciary Committee in signaling approval or disapproval of nominees from their home states.

What Mr. Trump said
“I heard somebody on a certain network last night, I won't mention which one, say why has President Trump given so much to North Korea? I said wait a minute. I asked Sarah Huckabee, please call this person. I gave him nothing other than I met. What did I give him? I didn't do what Obama did; give him $1.8 billion in cash to get back four hostages.”

The facts
This is misleading.

Mr. Trump is likely referring to a $1.7 billion cash payment the Obama administration made to Iran, not North Korea. The payment helped secure the release of three American hostages in 2016, but it stemmed from a decades-long dispute. As The Times has previously reported:
Before the 1979 revolution, Iran’s shah had paid $400 million for American military goods but, after he was overthrown, they were never delivered. The clerics who seized control demanded the money back, but the United States refused. The additional $1.3 billion is interest accumulated over 35 years.

The United States does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea and while it has provided emergency food and other aid in the past during times of famine or natural disasters, it has not paid North Korea for the return of any hostages.

Linda Qiu is a fact-check reporter, based in Washington. She came to the Times in 2017 from the fact-checking service PolitiFact.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/factcheck/checking-6-claims-from-trump’s-news-conference/ar-BBNCjCj?ocid=ientp
Here's a fact for Linda Qiu to check. It's President Trump, not Mr. Trump.
 

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Congressional Democrats’ lawsuit alleging Trump’s private business is violating the Constitution can proceed, federal judge rules

Washington Post
Jonathan O'Connell, David Fahrenthold, Carol Leonnig
3 hrs ago


A federal judge on Friday gave the go-ahead to a lawsuit filed by 200 congressional Democrats against President Trump alleging that he has violated the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments while in office.

The lawsuit is based on the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bars presidents from taking payments from foreign states. Trump’s business, which he still owns, has hosted foreign embassy events and visiting foreign officials at its downtown D.C. hotel.

The decision opens up yet another legal front for the president, who is now facing an array of inquiries into his business, his campaign and his charity.

Trump is already facing a separate emoluments suit filed by the attorneys general of Washington, D.C. and Maryland that is moving forward. In addition, he is contending with the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian interference, a lawsuit from the New York Attorney General that alleged “persistently illegal conduct” at his charitable foundation, and a defamation lawsuit brought by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos.

In his ruling, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan wrote that the members of Congress “appropriate seek relief in federal court” because they have no way to address their concern about Trump’s alleged violation of the emoluments clause with legislation.

“The Clause requires the President to ask Congress before accepting a prohibited foreign emolument,” Sullivan wrote. If the allegations made by Democrats are true, he said, then “the President is accepting prohibited foreign emoluments without asking and without receiving a favorable reply from Congress.”

By not asking Congress, Sullivan said, Trump could have effectively “nullified their votes” — which, he said, meant that legislators could seek the unusual remedy of filing a lawsuit against the president.

Although Trump has given up day-to-day management of his businesses, which include residential, office, hotel and golf properties in the United States, Europe and South America, he still owns them and can withdraw money from them at any time.

The foreign emoluments clause prohibits payments from foreign governments, which it says cannot be accepted “without the consent of Congress.”

Some of Trump’s properties benefit from investments or business from foreign governments, particularly his D.C. hotel, which has hosted leaders from Kuwait, Malaysia and other countries.

The president has not asked Congress to approve any transactions with foreign states.

Trump’s attorneys have argued that this is not necessary, because the payments he receives through the hotel and other businesses are not emoluments — at least, not by the definition the Founding Fathers would have used.

At the end of the last year, the Trump Organization said it donated $151,470 in February in what it said were profits from foreign government business, but declined to explain how it determined that amount.

The congressional plaintiffs, led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), asked the court to force Trump to stop accepting payments they consider improper — or to force him to seek Congress’s consent first

Justice Department attorneys, who are representing Trump, asked the court to dismiss the case. They said Congress doesn’t need to wait for Trump to ask permission — it could act first and pass a bill to ban the president from accepting such compensation.

This is the latest case in which the president and his company may now be exposed to a lengthy legal process and possible discovery by plaintiffs who oppose him politically, a process that could include depositions of witnesses and the disclosure of Trump Organization financial documents.

In the other emoluments suit, the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia contend that President Trump’s financial interests — particularly his D.C. hotel — allow him to unfairly profit. Justice Department lawyers in that case say the president is not breaking the law when foreign officials book rooms at his hotel in the capital because he is not trading favors in exchange for a benefit.

Last month, Justice Department attorneys in that caseasked a federal judge to halt proceedings, arguing that allowing the case to go forward would “be a distraction to the President’s performance of his constitutional duties.” This sort of appeal is rarely granted, because lower court judges usually prefer to complete a full case before any appeal is made.

A third emoluments case, brought by the advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, was dismissed for lack of standing but is under appeal.

Before Trump took office, the emoluments clauses of the Constitution had not been tested in court in more than 200 years. One clause bars federal officers from taking gifts, or emoluments, from foreign governments. The other prohibits presidents from taking side payments from individual states.

Both aim to ensure independence and guard against undue influence by other governments.

Jonathan.OConnell@washpost.com

David.Fahrenthold@washpost.com

carol.leonnig@washpost.com

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/congressional-democrats’-lawsuit-alleging-trump’s-private-business-is-violating-the-constitution-can-proceed-federal-judge-rules/ar-BBNGvIz?ocid=ientp
These democrats don’t play fair they’re supposed to seal all their indictments up, make sure their charges are lawfull and can be properly prosecuted, then in a measured and methodical way seat an exploratory committee to reference possible wrong doing by the defendant, just like comic book hero jeff sessions is doing look at all the people he got jailed and fined.
 

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Trump told son Eric and disgraced lawyer Michael Cohen to enforce Stormy Daniels hush-money agreement in court

  • President Trump directed his personal attorney and his eldest son to take Stormy Daniels to court to keep the porn actress violating a confidentiality agreement
  • Agreement barred her from speaking about her alleged affair with him
  • The president personally ordered the effort, revealing a larger role in the scheme to silence Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford
  • His son Eric's role in the matter was not previously known, either
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...hen-enforce-Daniels-hush-money-agreement.html
 

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WSJ: President Trump involved in Stormy Daniels hush deal
CNN


Published on Oct 2, 2018
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that President Donald Trump directed an effort to stop adult film actress Stormy Daniels from publicly describing an alleged sexual encounter with Trump.
 

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Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father

New York Times
By DAVID BARSTOW, SUSANNE CRAIG and RUSS BUETTNER
6 mins ago




President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

Mr. Trump won the presidency proclaiming himself a self-made billionaire, and he has long insisted that his father, the legendary New York City builder Fred C. Trump, provided almost no financial help.

But The Times’s investigation, based on a vast trove of confidential tax returns and financial records, reveals that Mr. Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, starting when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.

Much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes. He and his siblings set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show. Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings.

These maneuvers met with little resistance from the Internal Revenue Service, The Times found. The president’s parents, Fred and Mary Trump, transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million under the 55 percent tax rate then imposed on gifts and inheritances.

11 Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Trump’s Wealth

The Trumps paid a total of $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, tax records show.

The president declined repeated requests over several weeks to comment for this article. But a lawyer for Mr. Trump, Charles J. Harder, provided a written statement on Monday, one day after The Times sent a detailed description of its findings. “The New York Times’s allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory,” Mr. Harder said. “There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which The Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate.”

Mr. Harder sought to distance Mr. Trump from the tax strategies used by his family, saying the president had delegated those tasks to relatives and tax professionals. “President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters,” he said. “The affairs were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves and therefore relied entirely upon the aforementioned licensed professionals to ensure full compliance with the law.”

[Read the full statement]

The president’s brother, Robert Trump, issued a statement on behalf of the Trump family:

“Our dear father, Fred C. Trump, passed away in June 1999. Our beloved mother, Mary Anne Trump, passed away in August 2000. All appropriate gift and estate tax returns were filed, and the required taxes were paid. Our father’s estate was closed in 2001 by both the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State tax authorities, and our mother’s estate was closed in 2004. Our family has no other comment on these matters that happened some 20 years ago, and would appreciate your respecting the privacy of our deceased parents, may God rest their souls.”

The Times’s findings raise new questions about Mr. Trump’s refusal to release his income tax returns, breaking with decades of practice by past presidents. According to tax experts, it is unlikely that Mr. Trump would be vulnerable to criminal prosecution for helping his parents evade taxes, because the acts happened too long ago and are past the statute of limitations. There is no time limit, however, on civil fines for tax fraud.

The findings are based on interviews with Fred Trump’s former employees and advisers and more than 100,000 pages of documents describing the inner workings and immense profitability of his empire. They include documents culled from public sources — mortgages and deeds, probate records, financial disclosure reports, regulatory records and civil court files.

The investigation also draws on tens of thousands of pages of confidential records — bank statements, financial audits, accounting ledgers, cash disbursement reports, invoices and canceled checks. Most notably, the documents include more than 200 tax returns from Fred Trump, his companies and various Trump partnerships and trusts. While the records do not include the president’s personal tax returns and reveal little about his recent business dealings at home and abroad, dozens of corporate, partnership and trust tax returns offer the first public accounting of the income he received for decades from various family enterprises.

What emerges from this body of evidence is a financial biography of the 45th president fundamentally at odds with the story Mr. Trump has sold in his books, his TV shows and his political life. In Mr. Trump’s version of how he got rich, he was the master dealmaker who broke free of his father’s “tiny” outer-borough operation and parlayed a single $1 million loan from his father (“I had to pay him back with interest!”) into a $10 billion empire that would slap the Trump name on hotels, high-rises, casinos, airlines and golf courses the world over. In Mr. Trump’s version, it was always his guts and gumption that overcame setbacks. Fred Trump was simply a cheerleader.

“I built what I built myself,” Mr. Trump has said, a narrative that was long amplified by often-credulous coverage from news organizations, including The Times.

Certainly a handful of journalists and biographers, notably Wayne Barrett, Gwenda Blair, David Cay Johnston and Timothy L. O’Brien, have challenged this story, especially the claim of being worth $10 billion. They described how Mr. Trump piggybacked off his father’s banking connections to gain a foothold in Manhattan real estate. They poked holes in his go-to talking point about the $1 million loan, citing evidence that he actually got $14 million. They told how Fred Trump once helped his son make a bond payment on an Atlantic City casino by buying $3.5 million in casino chips.

But The Times’s investigation of the Trump family’s finances is unprecedented in scope and precision, offering the first comprehensive look at the inherited fortune and tax dodges that guaranteed Donald J. Trump a gilded life. The reporting makes clear that in every era of Mr. Trump’s life, his finances were deeply intertwined with, and dependent on, his father’s wealth.

By age 3, Mr. Trump was earning $200,000 a year in today’s dollars from his father’s empire. He was a millionaire by age 8. By the time he was 17, his father had given him part ownership of a 52-unit apartment building. Soon after Mr. Trump graduated from college, he was receiving the equivalent of $1 million a year from his father. The money increased with the years, to more than $5 million annually in his 40s and 50s.

Fred Trump’s real estate empire was not just scores of apartment buildings. It was also a mountain of cash, tens of millions of dollars in profits building up inside his businesses, banking records show. In one six-year span, from 1988 through 1993, Fred Trump reported $109.7 million in total income, now equivalent to $210.7 million. It was not unusual for tens of millions in Treasury bills and certificates of deposit to flow through his personal bank accounts each month.

Fred Trump was relentless and creative in finding ways to channel this wealth to his children. He made Donald not just his salaried employee but also his property manager, landlord, banker and consultant. He gave him loan after loan, many never repaid. He provided money for his car, money for his employees, money to buy stocks, money for his first Manhattan offices and money to renovate those offices. He gave him three trust funds. He gave him shares in multiple partnerships. He gave him $10,000 Christmas checks. He gave him laundry revenue from his buildings.

Much of his giving was structured to sidestep gift and inheritance taxes using methods tax experts described to The Times as improper or possibly illegal. Although Fred Trump became wealthy with help from federal housing subsidies, he insisted that it was manifestly unfair for the government to tax his fortune as it passed to his children. When he was in his 80s and beginning to slide into dementia, evading gift and estate taxes became a family affair, with Donald Trump playing a crucial role, interviews and newly obtained documents show.

The line between legal tax avoidance and illegal tax evasion is often murky, and it is constantly being stretched by inventive tax lawyers. There is no shortage of clever tax avoidance tricks that have been blessed by either the courts or the I.R.S. itself. The richest Americans almost never pay anything close to full freight. But tax experts briefed on The Times’s findings said the Trumps appeared to have done more than exploit legal loopholes. They said the conduct described here represented a pattern of deception and obfuscation, particularly about the value of Fred Trump’s real estate, that repeatedly prevented the I.R.S. from taxing large transfers of wealth to his children.

“The theme I see here through all of this is valuations: They play around with valuations in extreme ways,” said Lee-Ford Tritt, a University of Florida law professor and a leading expert in gift and estate tax law. “There are dramatic fluctuations depending on their purpose.”

The manipulation of values to evade taxes was central to one of the most important financial events in Donald Trump’s life. In an episode never before revealed, Mr. Trump and his siblings gained ownership of most of their father’s empire on Nov. 22, 1997, a year and a half before Fred Trump’s death. Critical to the complex transaction was the value put on the real estate. The lower its value, the lower the gift taxes. The Trumps dodged hundreds of millions in gift taxes by submitting tax returns that grossly undervalued the properties, claiming they were worth just $41.4 million.

The same set of buildings would be sold off over the next decade for more than 16 times that amount.

The most overt fraud was All County Building Supply & Maintenance, a company formed by the Trump family in 1992. All County’s ostensible purpose was to be the purchasing agent for Fred Trump’s buildings, buying everything from boilers to cleaning supplies. It did no such thing, records and interviews show. Instead All County siphoned millions of dollars from Fred Trump’s empire by simply marking up purchases already made by his employees. Those millions, effectively untaxed gifts, then flowed to All County’s owners — Donald Trump, his siblings and a cousin. Fred Trump then used the padded All County receipts to justify bigger rent increases for thousands of tenants.

All told, The Times documented 295 streams of revenue that Fred Trump created over five decades to enrich his son. In most cases his four other children benefited equally. But over time, as Donald Trump careened from one financial disaster to the next, his father found ways to give him substantially more money, records show. Even so, in 1990, according to previously secret depositions, Mr. Trump tried to have his father’s will rewritten in a way that Fred Trump, alarmed and angered, feared could result in his empire’s being used to bail out his son’s failing businesses.

Of course, the story of how Donald Trump got rich cannot be reduced to handouts from his father. Before he became president, his singular achievement was building the brand of Donald J. Trump, Self-Made Billionaire, a brand so potent it generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue through TV shows, books and licensing deals.

Constructing that image required more than Fred Trump’s money. Just as important were his son’s preternatural marketing skills and always-be-closing competitive hustle. While Fred Trump helped finance the accouterments of wealth, Donald Trump, master self-promoter, spun them into a seductive narrative. Fred Trump’s money, for example, helped build Trump Tower, the talisman of privilege that established his son as a major player in New York. But Donald Trump recognized and exploited the iconic power of Trump Tower as a primary stage for both “The Apprentice” and his presidential campaign.

The biggest payday he ever got from his father came long after Fred Trump’s death. It happened quietly, without the usual Trumpian news conference, on May 4, 2004, when Mr. Trump and his siblings sold off the empire their father had spent 70 years assembling with the dream that it would never leave his family.

Donald Trump’s cut: $177.3 million, or $236.2 million in today’s dollars.

‘ONE-MAN BUILDING SHOW’
Early experience, cultivated connections and a wave of federal housing subsidies helped Fred Trump lay the foundation of his son’s wealth.

Before he turned 20, Fred Trump had already built and sold his first home. At age 35, he was building hundreds of houses a year in Brooklyn and Queens. By 45, he was building some of the biggest apartment complexes in the country.

Aside from an astonishing work ethic — “Sleeping is a waste of time,” he liked to say — the growth reflected his shrewd application of mass-production techniques. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle called him “the Henry Ford of the home-building industry.” He would erect scaffolding a city block long so his masons, sometimes working a second shift under floodlights, could throw up a dozen rowhouses in a week. They sold for about $115,000 in today’s dollars.

By 1940, American Builder magazine was taking notice, devoting a spread to Fred Trump under the headline “Biggest One-Man Building Show.” The article described a swaggering lone-wolf character who paid for everything — wages, supplies, land — from a thick wad of cash he carried at all times, and whose only help was a secretary answering the phone in an office barely bigger than a parking space. “He is his own purchasing agent, cashier, paymaster, building superintendent, construction engineer and sales director,” the article said.

It wasn’t that simple. Fred Trump had also spent years ingratiating himself with Brooklyn’s Democratic machine, giving money, doing favors and making the sort of friends (like Abraham D. Beame, a future mayor) who could make life easier for a developer. He had also assembled a phalanx of plugged-in real estate lawyers, property appraisers and tax accountants who protected his interests.

All these traits — deep experience, nimbleness, connections, a relentless focus on the efficient construction of homes for the middle class — positioned him perfectly to ride a growing wave of federal spending on housing. The wave took shape with the New Deal, grew during the World War II rush to build military housing and crested with the postwar imperative to provide homes for returning G.I.s. Fred Trump would become a millionaire many times over by making himself one of the nation’s largest recipients of cheap government-backed building loans, according to Gwenda Blair’s book “The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a President.”

Those same loans became the wellspring of Donald Trump’s wealth. In the late 1940s, Fred Trump obtained roughly $26 million in federal loans to build two of his largest developments, Beach Haven Apartments, near Coney Island, Brooklyn, and Shore Haven Apartments, a few miles away. Then he set about making his children his landlords.

As ground lease payments fattened his children’s trusts, Fred Trump embarked on a far bigger transfer of wealth. Records obtained by The Times reveal how he began to build or buy apartment buildings in Brooklyn and Queens and then gradually, without public trace, transfer ownership to his children through a web of partnerships and corporations. In all, Fred Trump put up nearly $13 million in cash and mortgage debt to create a mini-empire within his empire — eight buildings with 1,032 apartments — that he would transfer to his children.

The handover began just before Donald Trump’s 16th birthday. On June 1, 1962, Fred Trump transferred a plot of land in Queens to a newly created corporation. While he would be its president, his children would be its owners, records show. Then he constructed a 52-unit building called Clyde Hall.

It was easy money for the Trump children. Their father took care of everything. He bought the land, built the apartments and obtained the mortgages. His employees managed the building. The profits, meanwhile, went to his children. By the early 1970s, Fred Trump would execute similar transfers of the other seven buildings.

For Donald Trump, this meant a rapidly growing new source of income. When he was in high school, his cut of the profits was about $17,000 a year in today’s dollars. His share exceeded $300,000 a year soon after he graduated from college.

How Fred Trump transferred 1,032 apartments to his children without incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars in gift taxes is unclear. A review of property records for the eight buildings turned up no evidence that his children bought them outright. Financial records obtained by The Times reveal only that all of the shares in the partnerships and corporations set up to create the mini-empire shifted at some point from Fred Trump to his children. Yet his tax returns show he paid no gift taxes on seven of the buildings, and only a few thousand dollars on the eighth.

That building, Sunnyside Towers, a 158-unit property in Queens, illustrates Fred Trump’s catch-me-if-you-can approach with the I.R.S., which had repeatedly cited him for underpaying taxes in the 1950s and 1960s.

Sunnyside was bought for $2.5 million in 1968 by Midland Associates, a partnership Fred Trump formed with his children for the transaction. In his 1969 tax return, he reported giving each child 15 percent of Midland Associates. Based on the amount of cash put up to buy Sunnyside, the value of this gift should have been $93,750. Instead, he declared a gift of only $6,516.

Donald Trump went to work for his father after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. His father made him vice president of dozens of companies. This was also the moment Fred Trump telegraphed what had become painfully obvious to his family and employees: He did not consider his eldest son, Fred Trump Jr., a viable heir apparent.

Fred Jr., seven and a half years older than Donald, had also worked for his father after college. It did not go well, relatives and former employees said in interviews. Fred Trump openly ridiculed him for being too nice, too soft, too lazy, too fond of drink. He frowned on his interests in flying and music, could not fathom why he cared so little for the family business. Donald, witness to his father’s deepening disappointment, fashioned himself Fred Jr.’s opposite — the brash tough guy with a killer instinct. His reward was to inherit his father’s dynastic dreams.

Fred Trump began taking steps that enriched Donald alone, introducing him to the charms of building with cheap government loans. In 1972, father and son formed a partnership to build a high-rise for the elderly in East Orange, N.J. Thanks to government subsidies, the partnership got a nearly interest-free $7.8 million loan that covered 90 percent of construction costs. Fred Trump paid the rest.

But his son received most of the financial benefits, records show. On top of profit distributions and consulting fees, Donald Trump was paid to manage the building, though Fred Trump’s employees handled day-to-day management. He also pocketed what tenants paid to rent air-conditioners. By 1975, Donald Trump’s take from the building was today’s equivalent of nearly $305,000 a year.

Fred Trump also gave his son an extra boost through his investment, in the early 1970s, in the sprawling Starrett City development in Brooklyn, the largest federally subsidized housing project in the nation. The investment, which promised to generate huge tax write-offs, was tailor-made for Fred Trump; he would use Starrett City’s losses to avoid taxes on profits from his empire.

Fred Trump invested $5 million. A separate partnership established for his children invested $1 million more, showering tax breaks on the Trump children for decades to come. They helped Donald Trump avoid paying any federal income taxes at all in 1978 and 1979. But Fred Trump also deputized him to sell a sliver of his Starrett City shares, a sweetheart deal that generated today’s equivalent of more than $1 million in “consulting fees.”

The money from consulting and management fees, ground leases, the mini-empire and his salary all combined to make Donald Trump indisputably wealthy years before he sold his first Manhattan apartment. By 1975, when he was 29, he had collected nearly $9 million in today’s dollars from his father, The Times found.

Wealthy, yes. But a far cry from the image father and son craved for Donald Trump.

THE SILENT PARTNER
Fred Trump would play a crucial role in building and carefully maintaining the myth of Donald J. Trump, Self-Made Billionaire.

“He is tall, lean and blond, with dazzling white teeth, and he looks ever so much like Robert Redford. He rides around town in a chauffeured silver Cadillac with his initials, DJT, on the plates. He dates slinky fashion models, belongs to the most elegant clubs and, at only 30 years of age, estimates that he is worth ‘more than $200 million.’”

So began a Nov. 1, 1976, article in The Times, one of the first major profiles of Donald Trump and a cornerstone of decades of mythmaking about his wealth. How could he claim to be worth more than $200 million when, as he divulged years later to casino regulators, his 1976 taxable income was $24,594? Donald Trump simply appropriated his father’s entire empire as his own.

In the chauffeured Cadillac, Donald Trump took The Times’s reporter on a tour of what he called his “jobs.” He told her about the Manhattan hotel he planned to convert into a Grand Hyatt (his father guaranteed the construction loan), and the Hudson River railroad yards he planned to develop (the rights were purchased by his father’s company). He showed her “our philanthropic endeavor,” the high-rise for the elderly in East Orange (bankrolled by his father), and an apartment complex on Staten Island (owned by his father), and their “flagship,” Trump Village, in Brooklyn (owned by his father), and finally Beach Haven Apartments (owned by his father). Even the Cadillac was leased by his father.

“So far,” he boasted, “I’ve never made a bad deal.”

It was a spectacular con, right down to the priceless moment when Mr. Trump confessed that he was “publicity shy.” By claiming his father’s wealth as his own, Donald Trump transformed his place in the world. A brash 30-year-old playboy worth more than $200 million proved irresistible to New York City’s bankers, politicians and journalists.

Yet for all the spin about cutting his own path in Manhattan, Donald Trump was increasingly dependent on his father. Weeks after The Times’s profile ran, Fred Trump set up still more trusts for his children, seeding each with today’s equivalent of $4.3 million. Even into the early 1980s, when he was already proclaiming himself one of America’s richest men, Donald Trump remained on his father’s payroll, drawing an annual salary of $260,000 in today’s dollars.

Meanwhile, Fred Trump and his companies also began extending large loans and lines of credit to Donald Trump. Those loans dwarfed what the other Trumps got, the flow so constant at times that it was as if Donald Trump had his own Money Store. Consider 1979, when he borrowed $1.5 million in January, $65,000 in February, $122,000 in March, $150,000 in April, $192,000 in May, $226,000 in June, $2.4 million in July and $40,000 in August, according to records filed with New Jersey casino regulators.

In theory, the money had to be repaid. In practice, records show, many of the loans were more like gifts. Some were interest-free and had no repayment schedule. Even when loans charged interest, Donald Trump frequently skipped payments.

This previously unreported flood of loans highlights a clear pattern to Fred Trump’s largess. When Donald Trump began expensive new projects, his father increased his help. In the late 1970s, when Donald Trump was converting the old Commodore Hotel into a Grand Hyatt, his father stepped up with a spigot of loans. Fred Trump did the same with Trump Tower in the early 1980s.

In the mid-1980s, as Donald Trump made his first forays into Atlantic City, Fred Trump devised a plan that sharply increased the flow of money to his son.

The plan involved the mini-empire — the eight buildings Fred Trump had transferred to his children. He converted seven of them into cooperatives, and helped his children convert the eighth. That meant inviting tenants to buy their apartments, generating a three-way windfall for Donald Trump and his siblings: from selling units, from renting unsold units and from collecting mortgage payments.

In 1982, Donald Trump made today’s equivalent of about $380,000 from the eight buildings. As the conversions continued and Fred Trump’s employees sold off more units, his son’s share of profits jumped, records show. By 1987, with the conversions completed, his son was making today’s equivalent of $4.5 million a year off the eight buildings.

Fred Trump made one other structural change to his empire that produced a big new source of revenue for Donald Trump and his siblings. He made them his bankers.

The Times could find no evidence that the Trump children had to come up with money of their own to buy their father’s mortgages. Most were purchased from Fred Trump’s banks by trusts and partnerships that he set up and seeded with money.

Co-op sales, mortgage payments, ground leases — Fred Trump was a master at finding ways to enrich his children in general and Donald Trump in particular. Some ways were like slow-moving creeks. Others were rushing streams. A few were geysers. But as the decades passed they all joined into one mighty river of money. By 1990, The Times found, Fred Trump, the ultimate silent partner, had quietly transferred today’s equivalent of at least $46.2 million to his son.

Donald Trump took on a mien of invincibility. The stock market crashed in 1987 and the economy cratered. But he doubled down thanks in part to Fred Trump’s banks, which eagerly extended credit to the young Trump princeling. He bought the Plaza Hotel in 1988 for $407.5 million. He bought Eastern Airlines in 1989 for $365 million and called it Trump Shuttle. His newest casino, the Trump Taj Mahal, would need at least $1 million a day just to cover its debt.

The skeptics who questioned the wisdom of this debt-fueled spending spree were drowned out by one magazine cover after another marveling at someone so young taking such breathtaking risks. But whatever Donald Trump was gambling, not for one second was he at risk of losing out on a lifetime of frictionless, effortless wealth. Fred Trump had that bet covered.

THE SAFETY NET DEPLOYS
Bailouts, collateral, cash on hand — Fred Trump was prepared, and was not about to let bad bets sink his son.

As the 1980s ended, Donald Trump’s big bets began to go bust. Trump Shuttle was failing to make loan payments within 15 months. The Plaza, drowning in debt, was bankrupt in four years. His Atlantic City casinos, also drowning in debt, tumbled one by one into bankruptcy.

What didn’t fail was the Trump safety net. Just as Donald Trump’s finances were crumbling, family partnerships and companies dramatically increased distributions to him and his siblings. Between 1989 and 1992, tax records show, four entities created by Fred Trump to support his children paid Donald Trump today’s equivalent of $8.3 million.

Fred Trump’s generosity also provided a crucial backstop when his son pleaded with bankers in 1990 for an emergency line of credit. With so many of his projects losing money, Donald Trump had few viable assets of his own making to pledge as collateral. What has never been publicly known is that he used his stakes in the mini-empire and the high-rise for the elderly in East Orange as collateral to help secure a $65 million loan.

Tax records also reveal that at the peak of Mr. Trump’s financial distress, his father extracted extraordinary sums from his empire. In 1990, Fred Trump’s income exploded to $49,638,928 — several times what he paid himself in other years in that era.

Fred Trump, former employees say, detested taking unnecessary distributions from his companies because he would have to pay income taxes on them. So why would a penny-pinching, tax-hating 85-year-old in the twilight of his career abruptly pull so much money out of his cherished properties, incurring a tax bill of $12.2 million?

The Times found no evidence that Fred Trump made any significant debt payments or charitable donations. The frugality he brought to business carried over to the rest of his life. According to ledgers of his personal spending, he spent a grand total of $8,562 in 1991 and 1992 on travel and entertainment. His extravagances, such as they were, consisted of buying his wife the odd gift from Antonovich Furs or hosting family celebrations at the Peter Luger Steak House in Brooklyn. His home on Midland Parkway in Jamaica Estates, Queens, built with unfussy brick like so many of his apartment buildings, had little to distinguish it from neighboring houses beyond the white columns and crest framing the front door.

There are, however, indications that he wanted plenty of cash on hand to bail out his son if need be.

Such was the case with the rescue mission at his son’s Trump’s Castle casino. Donald Trump had wildly overspent on renovations, leaving the property dangerously low on operating cash. Sure enough, neither Trump’s Castle nor its owner had the necessary funds to make an $18.4 million bond payment due in December 1990.

On Dec. 17, 1990, Fred Trump dispatched Howard Snyder, a trusted bookkeeper, to Atlantic City with a $3.35 million check. Mr. Snyder bought $3.35 million worth of casino chips and left without placing a bet. Apparently, even this infusion wasn’t sufficient, because that same day Fred Trump wrote a second check to Trump’s Castle, for $150,000, bank records show.

With this ruse — it was an illegal $3.5 million loan under New Jersey gaming laws, resulting in a $65,000 civil penalty — Donald Trump narrowly avoided defaulting on his bonds.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Both the son and the father were masters of manipulating the value of their assets, making them appear worth a lot or a little depending on their needs.

As the chip episode demonstrated, father and son were of one mind about rules and regulations, viewing them as annoyances to be finessed or, when necessary, ignored. As described by family members and associates in interviews and sworn testimony, theirs was an intimate, endless confederacy sealed by blood, shared secrets and a Hobbesian view of what it took to dominate and win. They talked almost daily and saw each other most weekends. Donald Trump sat at his father’s right hand at family meals and participated in his father’s monthly strategy sessions with his closest advisers. Fred Trump was a silent, watchful presence at many of Donald Trump’s news conferences.

“I probably knew my father as well or better than anybody,” Donald Trump said in a 2000 deposition.

They were both fluent in the language of half-truths and lies, interviews and records show. They both delighted in transgressing without getting caught. They were both wizards at manipulating the value of their assets, making them appear worth a lot or a little depending on their needs.
Those talents came in handy when Fred Trump Jr. died, on Sept. 26, 1981, at age 42 from complications of alcoholism, leaving a son and a daughter. The executors of his estate were his father and his brother Donald.

Fred Trump Jr.’s largest asset was his stake in seven of the eight buildings his father had transferred to his children. The Trumps would claim that those properties were worth $90.4 million when they finished converting them to cooperatives within a few years of his death. At that value, his stake could have generated an estate tax bill of nearly $10 million.

But the tax return signed by Donald Trump and his father claimed that Fred Trump Jr.’s estate owed just $737,861. This result was achieved by lowballing all seven buildings. Instead of valuing them at $90.4 million, Fred and Donald Trump submitted appraisals putting them at $13.2 million.

Emblematic of their audacity was Park Briar, a 150-unit building in Queens. As it happened, 18 days before Fred Trump Jr.’s death, the Trump siblings had submitted Park Briar’s co-op conversion plan, stating under oath that the building was worth $17.1 million. Yet as Fred Trump Jr.’s executors, Donald Trump and his father claimed on the tax return that Park Briar was worth $2.9 million when Fred Trump Jr. died.

This fantastical claim — that Park Briar should be taxed as if its value had fallen 83 percent in 18 days — slid past the I.R.S. with barely a protest. An auditor insisted the value should be increased by $100,000, to $3 million.

During the 1980s, Donald Trump became notorious for leaking word that he was taking positions in stocks, hinting of a possible takeover, and then either selling on the run-up or trying to extract lucrative concessions from the target company to make him go away. It was a form of stock manipulation with an unsavory label: “greenmailing.” The Times unearthed evidence that Mr. Trump enlisted his father as his greenmailing wingman.

On Jan. 26, 1989, Fred Trump bought 8,600 shares of Time Inc. for $934,854, his tax returns show. Seven days later, Dan Dorfman, a financial columnist known to be chatty with Donald Trump, broke the news that the younger Trump had “taken a sizable stake” in Time. Sure enough, Time’s shares jumped, allowing Fred Trump to make a $41,614 profit in two weeks.

Later that year, Fred Trump bought $5 million worth of American Airlines stock. Based on the share price — $81.74 — it appears he made the purchase shortly before Mr. Dorfman reported that Donald Trump was taking a stake in the company. Within weeks, the stock was over $100 a share. Had Fred Trump sold then, he would have made a quick $1.3 million. But he didn’t, and the stock sank amid skepticism about his son’s history of hyped takeover attempts that fizzled. Fred Trump sold his shares for a $1.7 million loss in January 1990. A week later, Mr. Dorfman reported that Donald Trump had sold, too.

With other family members, Fred Trump could be cantankerous and cruel, according to sworn testimony by his relatives. “This is the stupidest thing I ever heard of,” he’d snap when someone disappointed him. He was different with his son Donald. He might chide him — “Finish this job before you start that job,” he’d counsel — but more often, he looked for ways to forgive and accommodate.

By 1987, for example, Donald Trump’s loan debt to his father had grown to at least $11 million. Yet canceling the debt would have required Donald Trump to pay millions in taxes on the amount forgiven. Father and son found another solution, one never before disclosed, that appears to constitute both an unreported multimillion-dollar gift and a potentially illegal tax write-off.

In December 1987, records show, Fred Trump bought a 7.5 percent stake in Trump Palace, a 55-story condominium building his son was erecting on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Most, if not all, of his investment, which totaled $15.5 million, was made by exchanging his son’s unpaid debts for Trump Palace shares, records show.

Four years later, in December 1991, Fred Trump sold his entire stake in Trump Palace for just $10,000, his tax returns and financial statements reveal. Those documents do not identify who bought his stake. But other records indicate that he sold it back to his son.

Under state law, developers must file “offering plans” that identify to any potential condo buyer the project’s sponsors — in other words, its owners. The Trump Palace offering plan, submitted in November 1989, identified two owners: Donald Trump and his father. But under the same law, if Fred Trump had sold his stake to a third party, Donald Trump would have been required to identify the new owner in an amended offering plan filed with the state attorney general’s office. He did not do that, records show.

He did, however, sign a sworn affidavit a month after his father sold his stake. In the affidavit, submitted in a lawsuit over a Trump Palace contractor’s unpaid bill, Donald Trump identified himself as “the” owner of Trump Palace.

Under I.R.S. rules, selling shares worth $15.5 million to your son for $10,000 is tantamount to giving him a $15.49 million taxable gift. Fred Trump reported no such gift.

According to tax experts, the only circumstance that would not have required Fred Trump to report a gift was if Trump Palace had been effectively bankrupt when he unloaded his shares.

Yet Trump Palace was far from bankrupt.

Property records show that condo sales there were brisk in 1991. Trump Palace sold 57 condos for $52.5 million — 94 percent of the total asking price for those units.

Donald Trump himself proclaimed Trump Palace “the most financially secure condominium on the market today” in advertisements he placed in 1991 to rebut criticism from buyers who complained that his business travails could drag down Trump Palace, too. In December, 17 days before his father sold his shares, he placed an ad vouching for the wisdom of investing in Trump Palace: “Smart money says there has never been a better time.”

By failing to tell the I.R.S. about his $15.49 million gift to his son, Fred Trump evaded the 55 percent tax on gifts, saving about $8 million. At the same time, he declared to the I.R.S. that Trump Palace was almost a complete loss — that he had walked away from a $15.5 million investment with just $10,000 to show for it.

Federal tax law prohibits deducting any loss from the sale of property between members of the same family, because of the potential for abuse. Yet Fred Trump appears to have done exactly that, dodging roughly $5 million more in income taxes.

The partnership between Fred and Donald Trump was not simply about the pursuit of riches. At its heart lay a more ambitious project, executed to perfection over decades — to create that origin story, the myth of Donald J. Trump, Self-Made Billionaire.

Donald Trump built the foundation for the myth in the 1970s by appropriating his father’s empire as his own. By the late 1980s, instead of appropriating the empire, he was diminishing it. “It wasn’t a great business, it was a good business,” he said, as if Fred Trump ran a chain of laundromats. Yes, he told interviewers, his father was a wonderful mentor, but given the limits of his business, the most he could manage was a $1 million loan, and even that had to be repaid with interest.

Through it all, Fred Trump played along. Never once did he publicly question his son’s claim about the $1 million loan. “Everything he touches seems to turn to gold,” he told The Times for that first profile in 1976. “He’s gone way beyond me, absolutely,” he said when The Times profiled his son again in 1983. But for all Fred Trump had done to build the myth of Donald Trump, Self-Made Billionaire, there was, it turned out, one line he would not allow his son to cross.

A FAMILY RECKONING
Donald Trump tried to change his ailing father’s will, prompting a backlash — but also a recognition that plans had to be set in motion before Fred Trump died.

Fred Trump had given careful thought to what would become of his empire after he died, and had hired one of the nation’s top estate lawyers to draft his will. But in December 1990, Donald Trump sent his father a document, drafted by one of his own lawyers, that sought to make significant changes to that will.

Fred Trump, then 85, had never before set eyes on the document, 12 pages of dense legalese. Nor had he authorized its preparation. Nor had he met the lawyer who drafted it.

Yet his son sent instructions that he needed to sign it immediately.

What happened next was described years later in sworn depositions by members of the Trump family during a dispute, later settled, over the inheritance Fred Trump left to Fred Jr.’s children. These depositions, obtained by The Times, reveal something startling: Fred Trump believed that the document potentially put his life’s work at risk.

The document, known as a codicil, did many things. It protected Donald Trump’s portion of the inheritance from his creditors and from his impending divorce settlement with his first wife, Ivana Trump. It strengthened provisions in the existing will making him the sole executor of his father’s estate. But more than any of the particulars, it was the entirety of the codicil and its presentation as a fait accompli that alarmed Fred Trump, the depositions show. He confided to family members that he viewed the codicil as an attempt to go behind his back and give his son total control over his affairs. He said he feared that it could let Donald Trump denude his empire, even using it as collateral to rescue his failing businesses. (It was, in fact, the very month of the $3.5 million casino rescue.)

As close as they were — or perhaps because they were so close — Fred Trump did not immediately confront his son. Instead he turned to his daughter Maryanne Trump Barry, then a federal judge whom he often consulted on legal matters. “This doesn’t pass the smell test,” he told her, she recalled during her deposition. When Judge Barry read the codicil, she reached the same conclusion. “Donald was in precarious financial straits by his own admission,” she said, “and Dad was very concerned as a man who worked hard for his money and never wanted any of it to leave the family.” (In a brief telephone interview, Judge Barry declined to comment.)

Fred Trump took prompt action to thwart his son. He dispatched his daughter to find new estate lawyers. One of them took notes on the instructions she passed on from her father: “Protect assets from DJT, Donald’s creditors.” The lawyers quickly drafted a new codicil stripping Donald Trump of sole control over his father’s estate. Fred Trump signed it immediately.

Clumsy as it was, Donald Trump’s failed attempt to change his father’s will brought a family reckoning about two related issues: Fred Trump’s declining health and his reluctance to relinquish ownership of his empire. Surgeons had removed a neck tumor a few years earlier, and he would soon endure hip replacement surgery and be found to have mild senile dementia. Yet for all the financial support he had lavished on his children, for all his abhorrence of taxes, Fred Trump had stubbornly resisted his advisers’ recommendations to transfer ownership of his empire to the children to minimize estate taxes.

With every passing year, the actuarial odds increased that Fred Trump would die owning apartment buildings worth many hundreds of millions of dollars, all of it exposed to the 55 percent estate tax. Just as exposed was the mountain of cash he was sitting on. His buildings, well maintained and carrying little debt, consistently produced millions of dollars a year in profits. Even after he paid himself $109.7 million from 1988 through 1993, his companies were holding $50 million in cash and investments, financial records show. Tens of millions of dollars more passed each month through a maze of personal accounts at Chase Manhattan Bank, Chemical Bank, Manufacturers Hanover Trust, UBS, Bowery Savings and United Mizrahi, an Israeli bank.

Simply put, without immediate action, Fred Trump’s heirs faced the prospect of losing hundreds of millions of dollars to estate taxes.

Whatever their differences, the Trumps formulated a plan to avoid this fate. How they did it is a story never before told.

It is also a story in which Donald Trump played a central role. He took the lead in strategy sessions where the plan was devised with the consent and participation of his father and his father’s closest advisers, people who attended the meetings told The Times. Robert Trump, the youngest sibling and the beta to Donald’s alpha, was given the task of overseeing day-to-day details. After years of working for his brother, Robert Trump went to work for his father in late 1991.

The Trumps’ plan, executed over the next decade, blended traditional techniques — such as rewriting Fred Trump’s will to maximize tax avoidance — with unorthodox strategies that tax experts told The Times were legally dubious and, in some cases, appeared to be fraudulent. As a result, the Trump children would gain ownership of virtually all of their father’s buildings without having to pay a penny of their own. They would turn the mountain of cash into a molehill of cash. And hundreds of millions of dollars that otherwise would have gone to the United States Treasury would instead go to Fred Trump’s children.

‘A DISGUISED GIFT’
A family company let Fred Trump funnel money to his children by effectively overcharging himself for repairs and improvements on his properties.

One of the first steps came on Aug. 13, 1992, when the Trumps incorporated a company named All County Building Supply & Maintenance.

All County had no corporate offices. Its address was the Manhasset, N.Y., home of John Walter, a favorite nephew of Fred Trump’s. Mr. Walter, who died in January, spent decades working for Fred Trump, primarily helping computerize his payroll and billing systems. He also was the unofficial keeper of Fred Trump’s personal and business papers, his basement crowded with boxes of old Trump financial records. John Walter and the four Trump children each owned 20 percent of All County, records show.

All County’s main purpose, The Times found, was to enable Fred Trump to make large cash gifts to his children and disguise them as legitimate business transactions, thus evading the 55 percent tax.

The way it worked was remarkably simple.

Each year Fred Trump spent millions of dollars maintaining and improving his properties. Some of the vendors who supplied his building superintendents and maintenance crews had been cashing Fred Trump’s checks for decades. Starting in August 1992, though, a different name began to appear on their checks — All County Building Supply & Maintenance.

Mr. Walter’s computer systems, meanwhile, churned out All County invoices that billed Fred Trump’s empire for those same services and supplies, with one difference: All County’s invoices were padded, marked up by 20 percent, or 50 percent, or even more, records show.

The Trump siblings split the markup, along with Mr. Walter.

The self-dealing at the heart of this arrangement was best illustrated by Robert Trump, whose father paid him a $500,000 annual salary. He approved many of the payments Fred Trump’s empire made to All County; he was also All County’s chief executive, as well as a co-owner. As for the work of All County — generating invoices — that fell to Mr. Walter, also on Fred Trump’s payroll, along with a personal assistant Mr. Walter paid to work on his side businesses.

Years later, in his deposition during the dispute over Fred Trump’s estate, Robert Trump would say that All County actually saved Fred Trump money by negotiating better deals. Given Fred Trump’s long experience expertly squeezing better prices out of contractors, it was a surprising claim. It was also not true.

The Times’s examination of thousands of pages of financial documents from Fred Trump’s buildings shows that his costs shot up once All County entered the picture.

Beach Haven Apartments illustrates how this happened: In 1991 and 1992, Fred Trump bought 78 refrigerator-stove combinations for Beach Haven from Long Island Appliance Wholesalers. The average price was $642.69. But in 1993, when he began paying All County for refrigerator-stove combinations, the price jumped by 46 percent. Likewise, the price he paid for trash-compacting services at Beach Haven increased 64 percent. Janitorial supplies went up more than 100 percent. Plumbing repairs and supplies rose 122 percent. And on it went in building after building. The more Fred Trump paid, the more All County made, which was precisely the plan.

While All County systematically overcharged Fred Trump for thousands of items, the job of negotiating with vendors fell, as it always had, to Fred Trump and his staff.

Leon Eastmond can attest to this.

Mr. Eastmond is the owner of A. L. Eastmond & Sons, a Bronx company that makes industrial boilers. In 1993, he and Fred Trump met at Gargiulo’s, an old-school Italian restaurant in Coney Island that was one of Fred Trump’s favorites, to hash out the price of 60 boilers. Fred Trump, accompanied by his secretary and Robert Trump, drove a hard bargain. After negotiating a 10 percent discount, he made one last demand: “I had to pay the tab,” Mr. Eastmond recalled with a chuckle.

There was no mention of All County. Mr. Eastmond first heard of the company when its checks started rolling in. “I remember opening my mail one day and out came a check for $100,000,” he recalled. “I didn’t recognize the company. I didn’t know who the hell they were.”

But as All County paid Mr. Eastmond the price negotiated by Fred Trump, its invoices to Fred Trump were padded by 20 to 25 percent, records obtained by The Times show. This added hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of the 60 boilers, money that then flowed through All County to Fred Trump’s children without incurring any gift tax.

All County’s owners devised another ruse to profit off Mr. Eastmond’s boilers. To win Fred Trump’s business, Mr. Eastmond had also agreed to provide mobile boilers for Fred Trump’s buildings free of charge while new boilers were being installed. Yet All County charged Fred Trump rent on the same mobile boilers Mr. Eastmond was providing free, along with hookup fees, disconnection fees, transportation fees and operating and maintenance fees, records show. These charges siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars more from Fred Trump’s empire.

Mr. Walter, asked during a deposition why Fred Trump chose not to make himself one of All County’s owners, replied, “He said because he would have to pay a death tax on it.”

After being briefed on All County by The Times, Mr. Tritt, the University of Florida law professor, said the Trumps’ use of the company was “highly suspicious” and could constitute criminal tax fraud. “It certainly looks like a disguised gift,” he said.

While All County was all upside for Donald Trump and his siblings, it had an insidious downside for Fred Trump’s tenants.

As an owner of rent-stabilized buildings in New York, Fred Trump needed state approval to raise rents beyond the annual increases set by a government board. One way to justify a rent increase was to make a major capital improvement. It did not take much to get approval; an invoice or canceled check would do if the expense seemed reasonable.

The Trumps used the padded All County invoices to justify higher rent increases in Fred Trump’s rent-regulated buildings. Fred Trump, according to Mr. Walter, saw All County as a way to have his cake and eat it, too. If he used his “expert negotiating ability” to buy a $350 refrigerator for $200, he could raise the rent based only on that $200, not on the $350 sticker price “a normal person” would pay, Mr. Walter explained. All County was the way around this problem. “You have to understand the thinking that went behind this,” he said.

As Robert Trump acknowledged in his deposition, “The higher the markup would be, the higher the rent that might be charged.”

State records show that after All County’s creation, the Trumps got approval to raise rents on thousands of apartments by claiming more than $30 million in major capital improvements. Tenants repeatedly protested the increases, almost always to no avail, the records show.

One of the improvements most often cited by the Trumps: new boilers.

“All of this smells like a crime,” said Adam S. Kaufmann, a former chief of investigations for the Manhattan district attorney’s office who is now a partner at the law firm Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss. While the statute of limitations has long since lapsed, Mr. Kaufmann said the Trumps’ use of All County would have warranted investigation for defrauding tenants, tax fraud and filing false documents.

Mr. Harder, the president’s lawyer, disputed The Times’s reporting: “Should The Times state or imply that President Trump participated in fraud, tax evasion or any other crime, it will be exposing itself to substantial liability and damages for defamation.”

All County was not the only company the Trumps set up to drain cash from Fred Trump’s empire. A lucrative income source for Fred Trump was the management fees he charged his buildings. His primary management company, Trump Management, earned $6.8 million in 1993 alone. The Trumps found a way to redirect those fees to the children, too.

On Jan. 21, 1994, they created a company called Apartment Management Associates Inc., with a mailing address at Mr. Walter’s Manhasset home. Two months later, records show, Apartment Management started collecting fees that had previously gone to Trump Management.

The only difference was that Donald Trump and his siblings owned Apartment Management.

Between All County and Apartment Management, Fred Trump’s mountain of cash was rapidly dwindling. By 1998, records show, All County and Apartment Management were generating today’s equivalent of $2.2 million a year for each of the Trump children. Whatever income tax they owed on this money, it was considerably less than the 55 percent tax Fred Trump would have owed had he simply given each of them $2.2 million a year.

But these savings were trivial compared with those that would come when Fred Trump transferred his empire — the actual bricks and mortar — to his children.

THE ALCHEMY OF VALUE
The transfer of most of Fred Trump’s empire to his children began with a ‘friendly’ appraisal and an incredible shrinking act.

In his 90th year, Fred Trump still showed up at work a few days a week, ever dapper in suit and tie. But he had trouble remembering names — his dementia was getting worse — and he could get confused. In May 1995, with an unsteady hand, he signed documents granting Robert Trump power of attorney to act “in my name, place and stead.”

Six months later, on Nov. 22, the Trumps began transferring ownership of most of Fred Trump’s empire. (A few properties were excluded.) The instrument they used to do this was a special type of trust with a clunky acronym only a tax lawyer could love: GRAT, short for grantor-retained annuity trust.

GRATs are one of the tax code’s great gifts to the ultrawealthy. They let dynastic families like the Trumps pass wealth from one generation to the next — be it stocks, real estate, even art collections — without paying a dime of estate taxes.

The details are numbingly complex, but the mechanics are straightforward. For the Trumps, it meant putting half the properties to be transferred into a GRAT in Fred Trump’s name and the other half into a GRAT in his wife’s name. Then Fred and Mary Trump gave their children roughly two-thirds of the assets in their GRATs. The children bought the remaining third by making annuity payments to their parents over the next two years. By Nov. 22, 1997, it was done; the Trump children owned nearly all of Fred Trump’s empire free and clear of estate taxes.

As for gift taxes, the Trumps found a way around those, too.

The entire transaction turned on one number: the market value of Fred Trump’s empire. This determined the amount of gift taxes Fred and Mary Trump owed for the portion of the empire they gave to their children. It also determined the amount of annuity payments their children owed for the rest.

The I.R.S. recognizes that GRATs create powerful incentives to greatly undervalue assets, especially when those assets are not publicly traded stocks with transparent prices. Indeed, every $10 million reduction in the valuation of Fred Trump’s empire would save the Trumps either $10 million in annuity payments or $5.5 million in gift taxes. This is why the I.R.S. requires families taking advantage of GRATs to submit independent appraisals and threatens penalties for those who lowball valuations.

In practice, though, gift tax returns get little scrutiny from the I.R.S. It is an open secret among tax practitioners that evasion of gift taxes is rampant and rarely prosecuted. Punishment, such as it is, usually consists of an auditor’s requiring a tax payment closer to what should have been paid in the first place. “GRATs are typically structured so that no tax is due, which means the I.R.S. has reduced incentive to audit them,” said Mitchell Gans, a professor of tax law at Hofstra University. “So if a gift is in fact undervalued, it may very well go unnoticed.”

This appears to be precisely what the Trumps were counting on. The Times found evidence that the Trumps dodged hundreds of millions of dollars in gift taxes by submitting tax returns that grossly undervalued the real estate assets they placed in Fred and Mary Trump’s GRATs.

According to Fred Trump’s 1995 gift tax return, obtained by The Times, the Trumps claimed that properties including 25 apartment complexes with 6,988 apartments — and twice the floor space of the Empire State Building — were worth just $41.4 million. The implausibility of this claim would be made plain in 2004, when banks put a valuation of nearly $900 million on that same real estate.

The methods the Trumps used to pull off this incredible shrinking act were hatched in the strategy sessions Donald Trump participated in during the early 1990s, documents and interviews show. Their basic strategy had two components: Get what is widely known as a “friendly” appraisal of the empire’s worth, then drive that number even lower by changing the ownership structure to make the empire look less valuable to the I.R.S.

A crucial step was finding a property appraiser attuned to their needs. As anyone who has ever bought or sold a home knows, appraisers can arrive at sharply different valuations depending on their methods and assumptions. And like stock analysts, property appraisers have been known to massage those methods and assumptions in ways that coincide with their clients’ interests.

The Trumps used Robert Von Ancken, a favorite of New York City’s big real estate families. Over a 45-year career, Mr. Von Ancken has appraised many of the city’s landmarks, including Rockefeller Center, the World Trade Center, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. Donald Trump recruited him after Fred Trump Jr. died and the family needed friendly appraisals to help shield the estate from taxes.

Mr. Von Ancken appraised the 25 apartment complexes and other properties in the Trumps’ GRATs and concluded that their total value was $93.9 million, tax records show.

To assess the accuracy of those valuations, The Times examined the prices paid for comparable apartment buildings that sold within a year of Mr. Von Ancken’s appraisals. A pattern quickly emerged. Again and again, buildings in the same neighborhood as Trump buildings sold for two to four times as much per square foot as Mr. Von Ancken’s appraisals, even when the buildings were decades older, had fewer amenities and smaller apartments, and were deemed less valuable by city property tax appraisers.

Mr. Von Ancken valued Argyle Hall, a six-story brick Trump building in Brooklyn, at $9.04 per square foot. Six blocks away, another six-story brick building, two decades older, had sold a few months earlier for nearly $30 per square foot. He valued Belcrest Hall, a Trump building in Queens, at $8.57 per square foot. A few blocks away, another six-story brick building, four decades older with apartments a third smaller, sold for $25.18 per square foot.

The pattern persisted with Fred Trump’s higher-end buildings. Mr. Von Ancken appraised Lawrence Towers, a Trump building in Brooklyn with spacious balcony apartments, at $24.54 per square foot. A few months earlier, an apartment building abutting car repair shops a mile away, with units 20 percent smaller, had sold for $48.23 per square foot.

The Times found even starker discrepancies when comparing the GRAT appraisals against appraisals commissioned by the Trumps when they had an incentive to show the highest possible valuations.

Such was the case with Patio Gardens, a complex of nearly 500 apartments in Brooklyn.

Of all Fred Trump’s properties, Patio Gardens was one of the least profitable, which may be why he decided to use it as a tax deduction. In 1992, he donated Patio Gardens to the National Kidney Foundation of New York/New Jersey, one of the largest charitable donations he ever made. The greater the value of Patio Gardens, the bigger his deduction. The appraisal cited in Fred Trump’s 1992 tax return valued Patio Gardens at $34 million, or $61.90 a square foot.

By contrast, Mr. Von Ancken’s GRAT appraisals found that the crown jewels of Fred Trump’s empire, Beach Haven and Shore Haven, with five times as many apartments as Patio Gardens, were together worth just $23 million, or $11.01 per square foot.

In an interview, Mr. Von Ancken said that because neither he nor The Times had the working papers that described how he arrived at his valuations, there was simply no way to evaluate the methodologies behind his numbers. “There would be explanations within the appraisals to justify all the values,” he said, adding, “Basically, when we prepare these things, we feel that these are going to be presented to the Internal Revenue Service for their review, and they better be right.”

Of all the GRAT appraisals Mr. Von Ancken did for the Trumps, the most startling was for 886 rental apartments in two buildings at Trump Village, a complex in Coney Island. Mr. Von Ancken claimed that they were worth less than nothing — negative $5.9 million, to be exact. These were the same 886 units that city tax assessors valued that same year at $38.1 million, and that a bank would value at $106.6 million in 2004.

It appears Mr. Von Ancken arrived at his negative valuation by departing from the methodology that he has repeatedly testified is most appropriate for properties like Trump Village, where past years’ profits are a poor gauge of future value.

In 1992, the Trumps had removed the two Trump Village buildings from an affordable housing program so they could raise rents and increase their profits. But doing so cost them a property tax exemption, which temporarily put the buildings in the red. The methodology described by Mr. Von Ancken would have disregarded this blip into the red and valued the buildings based on the higher rents the Trumps would be charging. Mr. Von Ancken, however, appears to have based his valuation on the blip, producing an appraisal that, taken at face value, meant Fred Trump would have had to pay someone millions of dollars to take the property off his hands.

Mr. Von Ancken told The Times that he did not recall which appraisal method he used on the two Trump Village buildings. “I can only say that we value the properties based on market information, and based on the expected income and expenses of the building and what they would sell for,” he said. As for the enormous gaps between his valuation and the 1995 city property tax appraisal and the 2004 bank valuation, he argued that such comparisons were pointless. “I can’t say what happened afterwards,” he said. “Maybe they increased the income tremendously.”

THE MINORITY OWNER
To further whittle the empire’s valuation, the family created the appearance that Fred Trump held only 49.8 percent.

Armed with Mr. Von Ancken’s $93.9 million appraisal, the Trumps focused on slashing even this valuation by changing the ownership structure of Fred Trump’s empire.

The I.R.S. has long accepted the idea that ownership with control is more valuable than ownership without control. Someone with a controlling interest in a building can decide if and when the building is sold, how it is marketed and what price to accept. However, since someone who owns, say, 10 percent of a $100 million building lacks control over any of those decisions, the I.R.S. will let him claim that his stake should be taxed as if it were worth only $7 million or $8 million.

But Fred Trump had exercised total control over his empire for more than seven decades. With rare exceptions, he owned 100 percent of his buildings. So the Trumps set out to create the fiction that Fred Trump was a minority owner. All it took was splitting the ownership structure of his empire. Fred and Mary Trump each ended up with 49.8 percent of the corporate entities that owned his buildings. The other 0.4 percent was split among their four children.

Splitting ownership into minority interests is a widely used method of tax avoidance. There is one circumstance, however, where it has at times been found to be illegal. It involves what is known in tax law as the step transaction doctrine — where it can be shown that the corporate restructuring was part of a rapid sequence of seemingly separate maneuvers actually conceived and executed to dodge taxes. A key issue, according to tax experts, is timing — in the Trumps’ case, whether they split up Fred Trump’s empire just before they set up the GRATs.

In all, the Trumps broke up 12 corporate entities to create the appearance of minority ownership. The Times could not determine when five of the 12 companies were divided. But records reveal that the other seven were split up just before the GRATs were established.

The pattern was clear. For decades, the companies had been owned solely by Fred Trump, each operating a different apartment complex or shopping center. In September 1995, the Trumps formed seven new limited liability companies. Between Oct. 31 and Nov. 8, they transferred the deeds to the seven properties into their respective L.L.C.’s. On Nov. 21, they recorded six of the deed transfers in public property records. (The seventh was recorded on Nov. 24.) And on Nov. 22, 49.8 percent of the shares in these seven L.L.C.’s was transferred into Fred Trump’s GRAT and 49.8 percent into Mary Trump’s GRAT.

That enabled the Trumps to slash Mr. Von Ancken’s valuation in a way that was legally dubious. They claimed that Fred and Mary Trump’s status as minority owners, plus the fact that a building couldn’t be sold as easily as a share of stock, entitled them to lop 45 percent off Mr. Von Ancken’s $93.9 million valuation. This claim, combined with $18.3 million more in standard deductions, completed the alchemy of turning real estate that would soon be valued at nearly $900 million into $41.4 million.

According to tax experts, claiming a 45 percent discount was questionable even back then, and far higher than the 20 to 30 percent discount the I.R.S. would allow today.

As it happened, the Trumps’ GRATs did not completely elude I.R.S. scrutiny. Documents obtained by The Times reveal that the I.R.S. audited Fred Trump’s 1995 gift tax return and concluded that Fred Trump and his wife had significantly undervalued the assets being transferred through their GRATs.

The I.R.S. determined that the Trumps’ assets were worth $57.1 million, 38 percent more than the couple had claimed. From the perspective of an I.R.S. auditor, pulling in nearly $5 million in additional revenue could be considered a good day’s work. For the Trumps, getting the I.R.S. to agree that Fred Trump’s properties were worth only $57.1 million was a triumph.

“All estate matters were handled by licensed attorneys, licensed C.P.A.s and licensed real estate appraisers who followed all laws and rules strictly,” Mr. Harder, the president’s lawyer, said in his statement.

In the end, the transfer of the Trump empire cost Fred and Mary Trump $20.5 million in gift taxes and their children $21 million in annuity payments. That is hundreds of millions of dollars less than they would have paid based on the empire’s market value, The Times found.

Better still for the Trump children, they did not have to pay out a penny of their own. They simply used their father’s empire as collateral to secure a line of credit from M&T Bank. They used the line of credit to make the $21 million in annuity payments, then used the revenue from their father’s empire to repay the money they had borrowed.

On the day the Trump children finally took ownership of Fred Trump’s empire, Donald Trump’s net worth instantly increased by many tens of millions of dollars. And from then on, the profits from his father’s empire would flow directly to him and his siblings. The next year, 1998, Donald Trump’s share amounted to today’s equivalent of $9.6 million, The Times found.

This sudden influx of wealth came only weeks after he had published “The Art of the Comeback.”

“I learned a lot about myself during these hard times,” he wrote. “I learned about handling pressure. I was able to home in, buckle down, get back to the basics, and make things work. I worked much harder, I focused, and I got myself out of a box.”

Over 244 pages he did not mention that he was being handed nearly 25 percent of his father’s empire.

REMNANTS OF EMPIRE
After Fred Trump’s death, his children used familiar methods to devalue what little of his life’s work was stillin his name.

During Fred Trump’s final years, dementia stole most of his memories. When family visited, there was one name he could reliably put to a face.

Donald.

On June 7, 1999, Fred Trump was admitted to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, not far from the house in Jamaica Estates, for treatment of pneumonia. He died there on June 25, at the age of 93.

Fifteen months later, Fred Trump’s executors — Donald, Maryanne and Robert — filed his estate tax return. The return, obtained by The Times, vividly illustrates the effectiveness of the tax strategies devised by the Trumps in the early 1990s.

Fred Trump, one of the most prolific New York developers of his time, owned just five apartment complexes, two small strip malls and a scattering of co-ops in the city upon his death. The man who paid himself $50 million in 1990 died with just $1.9 million in the bank. He owned not a single stock, bond or Treasury bill. According to his estate tax return, his most valuable asset was a $10.3 million I.O.U. from Donald Trump, money his son appears to have borrowed the year before Fred Trump died.

The bulk of Fred Trump’s empire was nowhere to be found on his estate tax return. And yet Donald Trump and his siblings were not done. Recycling the legally dubious techniques they had mastered with the GRATs, they dodged tens of millions of dollars in estate taxes on the remnants of empire that Fred Trump still owned when he died, The Times found.

As with the GRATs, they obtained appraisals from Mr. Von Ancken that grossly understated the actual market value of those remnants. And as with the GRATs, they aggressively discounted Mr. Von Ancken’s appraisals. The result: They claimed that the five apartment complexes and two strip malls were worth $15 million. In 2004, records show, bankers would put a value of $176.2 million on the exact same properties.

The most improbable of these valuations was for Tysens Park Apartments, a complex of eight buildings with 1,019 units on Staten Island. On the portion of the estate tax return where they were required to list Tysens Park’s value, the Trumps simply left a blank space and claimed they owed no estate taxes on it at all.

As with the Trump Village appraisal, the Trumps appear to have hidden key facts from the I.R.S. Tysens Park, like Trump Village, had operated for years under an affordable housing program that by law capped Fred Trump’s profits. This cap drastically reduced the property’s market value.

Except for one thing: The Trumps had removed Tysens Park from the affordable housing program the year before Fred Trump died, The Times found. When Donald Trump and his siblings filed Fred Trump’s estate tax return, there were no limits on their profits. In fact, they had already begun raising rents.

As their father’s executors, Donald, Maryanne and Robert were legally responsible for the accuracy of his estate tax return. They were obligated not only to give the I.R.S. a complete accounting of the value of his estate’s assets, but also to disclose all the taxable gifts he made during his lifetime, including, for example, the $15.5 million Trump Palace gift to Donald Trump and the millions of dollars he gave his children via All County’s padded invoices.

“If they knew anything was wrong they could be in violation of tax law,” Mr. Tritt, the University of Florida law professor, said. “They can’t just stick their heads in the sand.”

In addition to drastically understating the value of apartment complexes and shopping centers, Fred Trump’s estate tax return made no mention of either Trump Palace or All County.

It wasn’t until after Fred Trump’s wife, Mary, died at 88 on Aug. 7, 2000, that the I.R.S. completed its audit of their combined estates. The audit concluded that their estates were worth $51.8 million, 23 percent more than Donald Trump and his siblings had claimed.

That meant an additional $5.2 million in estate taxes. Even so, the Trumps’ tax bill was a fraction of what they would have owed had they reported the market value of what Fred and Mary Trump owned at the time of their deaths.

Mr. Harder, the president’s lawyer, defended the tax returns filed by the Trumps. “The returns and tax positions that The Times now attacks were examined in real time by the relevant taxing authorities,” he said. “The taxing authorities requested a few minor adjustments, which were made, and then fully approved all of the tax filings. These matters have now been closed for more than a decade.”

A GOOD TIME TO SELL
Donald Trump, in financial trouble again, pitched the idea of selling the still-profitable empire that his father had wanted to keep in the family.

In 2003, the Trump siblings gathered at Trump Tower for one of their periodic updates on their inherited empire.

As always, Robert Trump drove into Manhattan with several of his lieutenants. Donald Trump appeared with Allen H. Weisselberg, who had worked for Fred Trump for two decades before becoming his son’s chief financial officer. The sisters, Maryanne Trump Barry and Elizabeth Trump Grau, were there as well.

The meeting followed the usual routine: a financial report, a rundown of operational issues and then the real business — distributing profits to each Trump. The task of handing out the checks fell to Steve Gurien, the empire’s finance chief.

A moment later, Donald Trump abruptly changed the course of his family’s history: He said it was a good time to sell.

Fred Trump’s empire, in fact, was continuing to produce healthy profits, and selling contradicted his stated wish to keep his legacy in the family. But Donald Trump insisted that the real estate market had peaked and that the time was right, according to a person familiar with the meeting.

He was also, once again, in financial trouble. His Atlantic City casinos were veering toward another bankruptcy. His creditors would soon threaten to oust him unless he committed to invest $55 million of his own money.

Yet if Donald Trump’s sudden push to sell stunned the room, it met with no apparent resistance from his siblings. He directed his brother to solicit private bids, saying he wanted the sale handled quickly and quietly. Donald Trump’s signature skill — drumming up publicity for the Trump brand — would sit this one out.

Three potential bidders were given access to the finances of Fred Trump’s empire — 37 apartment complexes and several shopping centers. Ruby Schron, a major New York City landlord, quickly emerged as the favorite. In December 2003, Mr. Schron called Donald Trump and they came to an agreement; Mr. Schron paid $705.6 million for most of the empire, which included paying off the Trumps’ mortgages. A few remaining properties were sold to other buyers, bringing the total sales price to $737.9 million.

On May 4, 2004, the Trump children spent most of the day signing away ownership of what their father had doggedly built over 70 years. The sale received little news coverage, and an article in The Staten Island Advance included the rarest of phrases: “Trump did not return a phone call seeking comment.”

Even more extraordinary was this unreported fact: The banks financing Mr. Schron’s purchase valued Fred Trump’s empire at nearly $1 billion. In other words, Donald Trump, master dealmaker, sold his father’s empire for hundreds of millions less than it was worth.

Within a year of the sale, Mr. Trump spent $149 million in cash on a rapid series of transactions that bolstered his billionaire bona fides. In June 2004 he agreed to pay $73 million to buy out his partner in the planned Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. (“I’m just buying it with my own cash,” he told reporters.) He paid $55 million in cash to make peace with his casino creditors. Then he put up $21 million more in cash to help finance his purchase of Maison de l’Amitié, a waterfront mansion in Palm Beach, Fla., that he later sold to a Russian oligarch.

*****

The first season of “The Apprentice” was broadcast in 2004, just as Donald Trump was wrapping up the sale of his father’s empire. The show’s opening montage — quick cuts of a glittering Trump casino, then Trump Tower, then a Trump helicopter mid-flight, then a limousine depositing the man himself at the steps of his jet, all set to the song “For the Love of Money” — is a reminder that the story of Donald Trump is fundamentally a story of money.

Money is at the core of the brand Mr. Trump has so successfully sold to the world. Yet essential to that mythmaking has been keeping the truth of his money — how much of it he actually has, where and whom it came from — hidden or obscured. Across the decades, aided and abetted by less-than-aggressive journalism, Mr. Trump has made sure his financial history would be sensationalized far more than seen.

Just this year, in a confessional essay for The Washington Post, Jonathan Greenberg, a former reporter for Forbes, described how Mr. Trump, identifying himself as John Barron, a spokesman for Donald Trump, repeatedly and flagrantly lied to get himself on the magazine’s first-ever list of wealthiest Americans in 1982. Because of Mr. Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, the public has been left to interpret contradictory glimpses of his income offered up by anonymous leaks. A few pages from one tax return, mailed to The Times in September 2016, showed that he declared a staggering loss of $916 million in 1995. A couple of pages from another return, disclosed on Rachel Maddow’s program, showed that he earned an impressive $150 million in 2005.

In a statement to The Times, the president’s spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, reiterated what Mr. Trump has always claimed about the evolution of his fortune: “The president’s father gave him an initial $1 million loan, which he paid back. President Trump used this money to build an incredibly successful company as well as net worth of over $10 billion, including owning some of the world’s greatest real estate.”

Today, the chasm between that claim of being worth more than $10 billion and a Bloomberg estimate of $2.8 billion reflects the depth of uncertainty that remains about one of the most chronicled public figures in American history. Questions about newer money sources are rapidly accumulating because of the Russia investigation and lawsuits alleging that Mr. Trump is violating the Constitution by continuing to do business with foreign governments.

But the more than 100,000 pages of records obtained during this investigation make it possible to sweep away decades of misinformation and arrive at a clear understanding about the original source of Mr. Trump’s wealth — his father.

Here is what can be said with certainty: Had Mr. Trump done nothing but invest the money his father gave him in an index fund that tracks the Standard & Poor’s 500, he would be worth $1.96 billion today. As for that $1 million loan, Fred Trump actually lent him at least $60.7 million, or $140 million in today’s dollars, The Times found.

And there is one more Fred Trump windfall coming Donald Trump’s way. Starrett City, the Brooklyn housing complex that the Trumps invested in back in the 1970s, sold this year for $905 million. Donald Trump’s share of the proceeds is expected to exceed $16 million, records show.

It was an investment made with Fred Trump’s money and connections. But in Donald Trump’s version of his life, Starrett City is always and forever “one of the best investments I ever made.”

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...-riches-from-his-father/ar-BBNQIfU?ocid=ientp
 

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NYT: Trump helped his parents evade taxes
CNN


Published on Oct 2, 2018
President Donald Trump received today's equivalent of at least $413 million from his father's business and much of the fortune came from helping his parents evade taxes, according to a New York Times investigation.
 

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Trump was 'earning' $200,000 a year aged THREE and got $413 MILLION from his father, not the $1 million loan he claimed, reveals massive trove of family's secret tax and bank documents - which New York State says they will investigate

  • Trump was a millionaire by Age 8, according to a wealth of tax, loan, and corporation documents unearthed by the New York Times
  • Earned $200,000 per year as a three-year-old
  • Laundary revenue from apartment buildings
  • Earned $1 million each year from father after graduating college
  • Got a total of $413 million from father's empire partly through tax 'dodges'
  • 'Grossly undervalued' property values, avoiding hundreds of millions in taxes during transfers before Fred Trump's death
  • 295 revenue streams to Donald Trump
  • Got $177 million when Fred Trump's empire was sold off in 2004
  • Transfer of eight buildings with 1,032 apartments to his children
  • Trump has refused to release his personal tax returns
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...resident-earning-200-000-year-aged-THREE.html
 

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The favorite son? Donald Trump's father gave him a whopping $413million - way more than his siblings - as he bailed him out of bad business deals (and the president owed $10.3 million to his dad when he died in 1999)

  • Donald Trump received more money from his father than siblings, report claims
  • Fred Trump Sr transferred in total more than $1 billion in wealth to his children
  • Trump received at least $413 million in today's dollars from his father's empire
  • By the age of three, he was 'earning' $200,000 a year in 2018 dollars from dad
  • He was a millionaire by the age of eight, the report claims citing tax documents
  • In his 40s and 50s, Trump received the today equivalent of $1 million a year
  • Trump was also a salaried employee, property manager, landlord, consultant and banker for his dad
  • Fred Sr reportedly didn't think Fred Trump Jr was viable to be the heir of the family business and Donald Trump set out to be the heir
  • Report claims Fred Sr loaned Trump $140 million in today's dollars, much higher than the $1 million Trump has repeatedly said he received
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...r-gave-Donald-Trump-way-fortune-siblings.html
 

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Trump 'tried to change his sick father's will so he could use dad's empire for collateral as his big projects went bust' but his sister helped block the move after the patriarch said it 'did not pass the smell test'

  • Donald Trump secretly tried to change his father's will, previously secret depositions reveal
  • Donald Trump had lawyers draft a 12-page codicil amending his father's already written will
  • The changes would have made Trump the sole executor of his father's will
  • It would have also protected his share of the inheritance from his creditors and impending divorce from Ivana Trump
  • Donald Trump tried to get his father to sign it immediately but he refused
  • Fred Trump Sr told his daughter Maryanne the codicil 'didn't pass the smell test' and had her hire new lawyers to write another codicil
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...-sick-fathers-use-dads-empire-collateral.html
 

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‘Outright Fraud:’ Bombshell NYT Investigation Obliterates Trump’s Self-Made Myth | Deadline | MSNBC
MSNBC


Published on Oct 2, 2018
NYT’s David Barstow, Daily Beast’s Sam Stein, former DOJ spokesman Matt Miller, NBC’s Heidi Przybyla, WaPo’s Ashley Parker and Jennifer Rubin on the in-depth investigation detailing the alleged Trump family tax schemes
» Subscribe to MSNBC: http://on.msnbc.com/SubscribeTomsnbc
 

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Donald Trump: the creation myth of the billionaire businessman just imploded


Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
1 hr ago


At the heart of President Donald Trump's success story is this idea: He took a small amount of money -- in the form of a loan from his father, Fred -- and turned it into billions of dollars.

"My whole life really has been a 'no' and I fought through it," Trump told a crowd in New Hampshire way back in October 2015. "It has not been easy for me, it has not been easy for me. And you know I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars."

While the idea of Trump portraying himself as some sort of rags-to-riches story was always laughable -- his father was a man of considerable means and a $1 million loan is not exactly chump change -- it convinced lots and lots of people that Trump was like them. Or, more accurately, what they aspired to be. He was -- and is -- for many, the living embodiment of the American dream.

Which is why this story published by The New York Times on Tuesday night, which details a series of tax evasions that Trump and his father used over the years is so devastating. The piece is long and hugely detailed, but its most devastating lines -- to the idea of the President as, essentially, a self-made man -- are these:

"By age 3, Mr. Trump was earning $200,000 a year in today's dollars from his father's empire. He was a millionaire by age 8. By the time he was 17, his father had given him part ownership of a 52-unit apartment building. Soon after Mr. Trump graduated from college, he was receiving the equivalent of $1 million a year from his father. The money increased with the years, to more than $5 million annually in his 40s and 50s."

And remember that $1 million loan Trump talked so much about on the campaign trail? The Times reports that the total loan by Fred Trump to his son, Donald, was actually $60.7 million or -- and brace yourself here -- $140 million in today's money. (The total amount of money Trump received from his father's holdings is estimated at more than $400 million by the Times).

The truth, as laid bare by the Times reporting, which included reviewing more than 100,000 pages of financial documents, is that Donald Trump was born into a very wealthy family and through a series of complicated tax maneuvers -- many of which, at best, skirted the law -- was propelled upward by his father's heavy behind-the-scenes financial support.

"While Fred Trump helped finance the accouterments of wealth, Donald Trump, master self-promoter, spun them into a seductive narrative," reads the Times story. "Fred Trump's money, for example, helped build Trump Tower, the talisman of privilege that established his son as a major player in New York. But Donald Trump recognized and exploited the iconic power of Trump Tower as a primary stage for both 'The Apprentice' and his presidential campaign."

While the White House offered no official comment to the Times for the story, they did release a statement after it published. "Many decades ago the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions," said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. "The New York Times' and other media outlets' credibility with the American people is at an all time low because they are consumed with attacking the president and his family 24/7 instead of reporting the news."

Which, of course, isn't a denial of the story.

Trump's lawyer Charles Harder responded to the Times story in a statement,"The New York Times' allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory," Harder said, according to the paper.

Trump's brother Robert also defended his parents on behalf of the President and his siblings, saying, "All appropriate gift and estate tax returns were filed, and the required taxes were paid. Our father's estate was closed in 2001 by both the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State tax authorities, and our mother's estate was closed in 2004."

Throughout the 2016 campaign -- and into his 19 months as president -- the single biggest mystery surrounding Trump was his refusal to release any of his income tax returns. In doing so, he became the first major party presidential candidate and the first president not to release any of his returns in the modern era.

Trump insisted the reason he refused to release his returns was that he currently under a tax audit by the Internal Revenue Service. (Trump was not prohibited from releasing his returns because of the audit; Richard Nixon, as president, released his tax returns in 1973 even while he was being audited).

After Trump won the election, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway seemed to abandon the "he's under audit" defense entirely. "We litigated this all through the election," Conway said. "People didn't care. They voted for him, and let me make this very clear: Most Americans are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like."

It was unclear then -- and is unclear now -- how Conway drew the conclusions that "people didn't care" that Trump had never released even the most basic outline of his tax returns. There was no question on the 2016 exit poll that asked how much influence -- if any -- Trump's refusal to release his returns had on the vote.

The most recent news we've had on Trump's taxes came on Tax Day -- April 17. "The President filed an extension for his 2017 tax return, as do many Americans with complex returns," Sanders said in a statement at the time. "He will file his tax return by the extension deadline of October 15, 2018."

Which is in 12 days!

But don't hold your breath that come October 15, Trump will suddenly reconsider his past position of non-disclosure of his taxes. (The White House's last public statement on all of this is that Trump remains under audit!)

We've long suspected that the real reason why Trump is willing to take the negative publicity that comes with his closed-book policy on his tax returns is because that story is far less damaging than what would be unleashed if Trump actually did release his taxes.

The most commonly held belief was that releasing his returns would expose the fact that Trump is far less wealthy than he has long claimed. Some suggested that his tax returns might reveal ties to Russian oligarchs or banks that would fuel the idea that Trump was somehow influenced or owned by a foreign power.

What the Times story makes plain is that at least one of the main reasons Trump may never release his returns -- or, at least, a major reason -- is that to do so would implode the myth that he pulled himself up from his bootstraps and through sheer force of will made himself into a billionaire.

We now know -- thanks to the remarkable reporting by the Times -- that Trump's success was fueled and financed by his father's money. Which is a less inspiring -- if no less American -- story.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...sinessman-just-imploded/ar-BBNRp40?ocid=ientp
 

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N.Y. tax agency weighs probe after report that Trump family built wealth through tax-avoidance schemes and fraud

Washington Post
David Fahrenthold
21 mins ago


New York state’s tax agency said it is considering an investigation into allegations detailed in a New York Times story that President Trump participated in “dubious tax schemes” that allowed his father to pass him more than $413 million while minimizing tax payments.

In some instances, these schemes amounted to “outright fraud,” the Times story said.

The Times said it had unraveled a complex effort by Trump’s father, Fred, to build and then pass along his wealth by examining more than 100,000 pages of documents from the businesses of Fred Trump. It said that, starting in the 1990s, Donald Trump had helped his father lower his tax bills via a sham corporation that processed padded invoices, by using improper tax deductions and by systematically undervaluing his father’s real estate properties.

“The Tax Department is reviewing the allegations in the [Times] article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation,” said James Gazzale, a spokesman for the New York Department of Taxation and Finance.

On Capitol Hill, some Democrats renewed calls for Trump to release his tax returns — which he has repeatedly declined to do, unlike his predecessors.

“I knew there had to be a compelling reason why this president departed from previous presidents in not disclosing his income tax returns,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat. Asked whether it merited a new push to reveal Trump’s personal financial records, Durbin said: “Yes.”

The president’s company, the Trump Organization, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The White House issued a statement late Tuesday that called the Times story misleading. “Many decades ago the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions,” the statement said, before touting Trump’s economic policies and his success at making trade deals. The White House earlier referred questions to Charles Harder, a private attorney for Trump. Harder’s office did not respond to questions from The Washington Post.

In a statement to the Times, Harder wrote that its findings were “100 percent false, and highly defamatory.”

“There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone,” Harder told the newspaper. “The facts upon which The Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate.”

Trump spent decades guarding the secrecy of his real estate, golf and hotel company — making it difficult to check the stories he told about his own success.

As president, he now faces a growing number of investigations into his private business and personal finances.

The New York attorney general sued him in June, saying Trump allowed “persistently illegal conduct” at his charitable foundation. Democratic attorneys general and congressional lawmakersare prying for details about the Trump Organization’s transactions with foreign governments as part of two separate civil suits. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has delved into the Trump Organization’s business dealings with Russia. And the U.S. attorney in Manhattan is investigating Trump’s involvement in hush-money payments made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels.

The Times story could spark a new line of investigations from state authorities in New York and possibly from Congress, if Democrats take control of either chamber in November’s elections.

“We must see Trump’s tax returns to know just how far and how deep the crimes go,” Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement. “This Trump exposé paints a portrait of a man whose entire professional life was built on his father’s money, skirting accountability, and ‘outright fraud.’ ”

The IRS did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Officials with the New York Attorney General’s Office and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office declined to comment.

The Times investigation contradicts the image Trump has projected of himself for decades, as a self-made billionaire who inherited a small sum and amassed his own fortune through smarts and grit.

On Tuesday, one former White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly said Trump will “freak out” about the piece because he has been so protective over the years about what the ex-official termed “his own financial legend.”

“There probably is nothing more painful and upsetting to Donald Trump in the world than the suggestion that he is not as rich as he says he is and as responsible for being rich as he says he is,” said Tony Schwartz, who co-authored Trump’s mythmaking book, “The Art of the Deal,” in 1987.

“On the scale of things that would enrage him, this [Times investigation] would rate very, very highly,” he added.

Trump keeps just two family portraits in the Oval Office: black-and-white photographs of Fred Trump and Trump’s mother, Mary. From the front, it appears they are peering over their son’s shoulders as he sits at the Resolute Desk.

Fred Trump was a Queens-based developer who made a fortune building drab but serviceable low-rise apartment blocks for a fast-growing city. When Donald Trump tells the story of his own origins in business, he often emphasizes that he was a self-made man — who didn’t need, or get, much help from his father.

“My father gave me a very small loan in 1975, and I built it into a company that’s worth many, many billions of dollars,” Trump said during a 2016 presidential debate.

The Times story says that account is false — that, in reality, Fred Trump spent decades quietly ceding his fortune and his business empire to his son, in ways that seemed design to avoid taxes on gifts and inheritance.

The Times story identifies several avenues through which Fred Trump’s wealth was passed to his children. Among them:

●The family created a business, All County Building Supply & Maintenance, which was supposed to be a middleman between Fred Trump’s company and its vendors. Then, the story said, Fred Trump’s company overpaid All County for those services, based on phony, inflated invoices, and All County kept the difference.

●In December 1991, Fred Trump sold his 7.5 percent stake in the Trump Palace condominium building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to his son. The stake was worth about $15.5 million, the Times said, but Donald Trump bought it for just $10,000 — allowing his father to dodge millions in tax liability.

●In the years before his father’s death, the Times said, Donald Trump participated in an effort to systematically lower the appraised values of Fred Trump’s buildings. That included dividing their ownership among a series of new companies to give the impression that Fred Trump did not control them.

The Times described these machinations as the “alchemy of turning real estate that would soon be valued at nearly $900 million into $41.4 million.”

david.fahrenthold@washpost.com

Philip Bump, Mike DeBonis, Gabriel Pogrund and Philip Rucker contributed to this report.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...dance-schemes-and-fraud/ar-BBNRb7c?ocid=ientp