The groupies inside the Beltway are obsessed with President Trump’s finances. An unusually large number of Democrat-controlled House committees are launching investigations into every aspect – and every asset – of Trump’s multifaceted and complex financial empire.
There investigations are based on rumors, gossip and unsubstantiated accusations of wrongdoing. Congressional Democrats are panning for political gold. So far, they have only found Fool’s Gold – which they are passing off to the public as the real thing.
They want Trump’s tax returns because … because … hmmmm. Oh yeah, because they hope to find some major skullduggery among all those accounting numbers. If their wildest dream comes true, they will find a billion dollar personal check to Trump from Vladimir Putin. Fat chance.
They also hope to prove that Trump is not as rich as he claims. The New York Times recently published a front-page story based on information garnered from Trump’s confidential tax information from the mid-1990s showing that the Trump Organization had run into financial difficulties when the real estate market took one of its occasional dips. What they did not find was any wrongdoing. No tax evasion. Just a business going through some difficult times.
They are also looking into the closed down Trump Foundation for some alleged … repeat, alleged … irregularities associated with the purchase of a large painting of Trump. This little transaction was overwhelmed by millions upon millions of Trump’s dollars that helped fuel the charitable work. They also accused him of using other people’s money – more accurately described as charitable donations to the Foundation. Of course, that is what most foundations do – solicit donations.
Based on mendacious accusations from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, Trump was still exploring a legitimate business deal in Russia even as he campaigned for President. Reality check! There is nothing illegal or wrong about doing business as a candidate. Very few give up their careers and sources of income BEFORE they are elected – even if the odds of being elected are far greater than were Trump’s. After all, we were told innumerable times that he had “no path to the presidency.”
They say Trump lied when he said he had no business deals in Russia. Technically, that was true. There were talks, but no deal was consummated then or since. Even if you think Trump was a little less than forthright, so what? For whatever reasons, the Trump Organization never went ahead with the project.
House Democrats want to investigate Trump University. Why? Former New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman settled that case for $25 million in 2016, on the eve of Trump’s inauguration – shortly before Schneiderman, himself, fell from grace (and office) in a sex scandal. There was no admission of wrongdoing by the Trump organization, and $25 million was a relatively small amount to get the case off the books rather than have it drag on for several years at costs that would exceed the settlement price tag. While Schneiderman claimed fraud, that charge was never adjudicated. The only objective of a congressional inquiry is to regurgitate some bad publicity for Trump.
For Democrats, the holy grail of their dubious investigations is obtaining Trump’s tax returns. That is nothing more than a fishing expedition. They already tried fishing for two years with the accusation of criminal collusion with Russia. In that fishing expedition they came up with an empty hook – no fish and even lost their bait.
They brought Cohen before Congress again – shortly before he donned prison orange. While it produced a lot of accusations from a very bitter prevaricator, there was no meat on those bones. In fact, the prosecutors in New York cut Cohen off as a source of credible information and Special Counsel Robert Mueller reflected none of Cohen’s sensationalistic statements in his final Report. There apparently was no there, there.
Democrats seem to be operating on the theory if they launch enough investigations, the entire effort will appear more credible – defying the arithmetic reality that zero times any number is still … zero.
More importantly, the public is finding all these Democrat fishing expeditions to be uninteresting – much less credible. There was fear among some Democrats that putting the focus on investigation instead of legislation would backfire – and apparently it is. Polling suggests that the issue of Trump’s tax returns and his business finances are very … very … low on the list of issues that concern the American public. Despite the hopes of the Democrats, it does not appear that all the financial stuff is going to drive voting decisions. And isn’t that what all those investigations are supposed to be about?
So, there ‘tis