David Cay Johnston: Trump has one chance to keep the public from seeing his taxes — and it involves breaking the law

David Cay Johnston: Trump has one chance to keep the public from seeing his taxes — and it involves breaking the law
Donald J. Trump/Shutterstock
Donald J. Trump/Shutterstock

On Monday President Donald Trump made it clear that he will do everything in his power to keep his tax returns from the public, writes Trump biographer David Cay Johnston, and he may be down to his last defense that may not pass legal muster.


According to Johnston, writing at the Daily Beast, attorneys for the president made a specious legal claim in refusing to turn over his tax returns in Congress and the president better hope it holds up.

“Donald Trump switched to full panic mode on Monday, afraid that the whole truth about his finances and conduct will come out,” Johnston wrote. “He is openly declaring he is above the law, in a way that should make us laugh if not for fear that the judges he’s peppered the federal bench with could find a way to hold their noses and swallow his noxious argument.”

According to the journalist and author, Trump’s lawsuit to block the release is an attempt to keep the public from seeing not only his true worth but also evidence of corruption.

“Trump’s complaint goes on to assert that Congress has no power to investigate him for anything he declares to be his conduct as a private citizen. This sounds like what you might hear from a random drunk in a bar,” the author writes. “Accepting Trump’s theory would mean that he can block any inquiry into ‘possible violations of federal law’ by himself. That’s the kind of self-preserving power held by the lawless rulers Trump says he admires—Duterte, Erdogan, Kim, Putin and Xi.”

Johnston points out, “As I’ve long said, Trump has no idea what is in our Constitution. This lawsuit is proof. The reason that his lawyers, who took required courses on our Constitution to qualify for their law degrees, signed on to this is a mystery. Whatever the answer, it is worth considering whether their licenses to practice law should be revoked for ignorance.”

“Trump is saying, in effect, let’s ignore the oversight function of Congress, such as examining whether our constitutional executive, currently Trump, is faithfully executing the duties of his office. He’s not, so of course he wants no oversight,” he continued.

Johnston asserts, that “Trump has one hope in this lawsuit,” and that is his case comes before one of his own federal appointments to the bench who is willing to set aside the law over loyalty to the president.

“One in nine serving federal judges is a Trump appointee, which makes playing judicial roulette a game with possibilities,” he writes.

“Only if the judges Trump appointed and confirmed by Senate Republicans care not a whit about their oath of office, separation of powers under our Constitution, the rule of law and the welfare of our republic,” can Trump be stopped, Johnston warns, adding darkly, “If not, his campaign rally musings about staying on after two terms are anything but a laughing matter.”

You can read more here.

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