Count Them: Thirty. Five. Days.

I’m not going to elaborate on MSNBC’s Maddow program last night, featuring David Cay Johnston to whom Donald Trump’s 2005 tax filing had been “leaked.”

It was two pages, revealing little more than adjusted income, income tax assessed, and the lack of any charitable contribution deduction.

One of the two pages was also marked CLIENT COPY.

Not going to get into the rambling statement issued by the White House before the show either, unusual from this administration only for its lack of spelling errors.

But I’m going to point to the calendar.

Today is March 15. It’s a little over a month to Tax Day when filings for 2016 income are due.

35 days until the deadline at the end of the night on April 18.

35 days until Donald Trump has yet another tax filing for which he has no excuse to share with voters and their representatives in Congress.

Non-Tax Filing Stuff:

Kushner family may get $400M from Chinese Anbang Insurance Group — This reeks, absolutely stinks. Anbang is linked to top officials in China’s government; it’s negotiating a stake in a Manhattan property owned by Kushner (read: Trump’s in-laws). There’s no end to the corruption with this administration.

Volkswagen toying with a Fiat Chrysler merger — This smells of desperation to me. Can’t imagine the largest shareholders of VW willingly giving up any control in spite of the financial damage from the company’s emissions fraud. Not to mention the whole Too-Big-Too-Fail size of this potential merger when Volkswagen Group is responsible for nearly 10% of all Germany’s jobs.

Trump may undo years of clean air by screwing with emissions standards — Speaking of emissions and fraud, Trump will be speaking in Detroit today where he is expected to propose undoing mileage standards and emissions regulations. Not only is the automotive industry finally headed in the right direction toward alternative energy after nearly two decades of R&D and implementation, but apparently the public needs to be sicker ahead of the loss of health care insurance.

Robot killed worker, spouse files suit — Horrible and sad; incident happened in 2015. Husband filed suit last week against five robotics companies he claims are responsible for the robot’s failure.

Energy Transfer Partners wants tribal plea rejected — Oil could start flowing through DAPL within the week if U.S. District Judge James Boasberg rejects Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes’ appeal based on religious grounds.

There. That should keep you busy for a while. Treat this like an open thread.

26 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nice article today, as usual.

    The Chinese state, especially its military, has a piece of virtually every large, profitable company in China. So a $400 million payday, at a price and on terms that redefine sweetheart, is indeed a big deal. We can expect one kerfluffle after another from this president to hide how many bits of profit-taking, self-dealing, fraud and general damage he has in store for people he does not consider his constituents, just marks to be had.

    • harpie says:

      Unsealed Documents Raise Questions on Monsanto Weed Killer; NYT; 3/14/16

      […] The disclosures are the latest to raise concerns about the integrity of academic research financed by agrochemical companies. Last year, a review by The New York Times showed how the industry can manipulate academic research or misstate findings. Declarations of interest included in a Monsanto-financed paper on glyphosate that appeared in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology said panel members were recruited by a consulting firm. Email traffic made public shows that Monsanto officials discussed and debated scientists who should be considered, and shaped the project. […]

      Why is this stuff ALWAYS in the business section???

    • PeasantParty says:

      Also wanted to apologize for my participation with the post destroyer on your story last week.  I’m very sorry.  You and Emptywheel deserve so much, and “it” got the best of me.  I knew better than to respond, but lost control.  So, my apologies to both you and Marcy.

      • Rayne says:

        It’s all right. I know exactly how you feel; sometimes other people’s children misbehave so badly one is tempted to ~snap!~. Thanks for sticking with us.

      • lefty665 says:

        Thanks PP, I’ll accept that as your apology for your rude comments, Rayne for yours too.

        Rayne, might want to take a look at your “35 days…Trump’s excuse” line in the post above. It may not say what you intended.

        • John Casper says:


          Evidently you don’t recall commenting to Rayne, “I’ll try to avoid posts with your byline for awhile.”

          I reminded you of it on the same thread about which you’re now playing the victim card.

          Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re not good at at least one thing.

          It’s the same thread you volunteered to sponsor me. I hadn’t requested it.

          Since you’re flush with cash, I asked how much you had donated to this site in 2016. You never responded. But, since you’re so eager to revisit that thread, isn’t now a good time to disclose your generosity?

          What about a special one-time gift of $100 to Rayne for misleading her about trying to “avoid posts with” her “byline for awhile?” You can’t stay away. Are you crushing on Rayne?

        • lefty665 says:

          Filled out your application for the Twit race yet? I’ll help if you can’t figure it out. It’s pretty simple, and modeled on a 12 step program. My name is (insert name), and I am a twit.

          My contributions are in support of the emptywheel site, not individuals. I have not mislead Rayne or anyone else.

        • John Casper says:


          You sound familiar with the application. How many times have you filled it out?

          How much did you contribute to the emptywheel site in 2016?

        • Rayne says:

          I’m not apologizing to you. You do not deserve one. Insulting both contributors and fellow commenters as well as policing contributors’ content and language has been more than enough grounds to boot you. You’re on notice – strike two.

          I’ll point out once again by commenting in a post with my byline you failed to do as you said you would.

        • lefty665 says:

          My goodness, you blame your and PPs behavior on me then threaten to ban me because I have not been profane?  You would not accept for a second a guy saying “The woman dressed so provocatively she made me rape her”, but you advance that logic to absolve PP and yourself. Curious. Perhaps you will also ban John “Twit” Casper for calling me a liar?

          I avoided some of your posts, but have commented on those you have identified as “open threads”.

        • John Casper says:


          “My goodness,” please link to all of Rayne’s threads that you “avoided” after 16 February 2017, when you didn’t mention “open threads.”

          You wrote “I’ll try to avoid posts with your byline for awhile.”

          Aren’t you doubling down on another lie?

          “Curious.” How long did you intend “for awhile” to be?

          You’re not a “lefty.” You support POTUS. Isn’t your handle another lie?

    • Rayne says:

      Sorry, Alan, I was only looking at news from overnight in my feed. Nicola Sturgeon’s speech about IndyRef 2.0 was farther out in my timeline. No surprise to me since she has been threatening (deservedly) another referendum since weeks after Brexit vote. I wonder how May has been able to blow off the House of Lord’s paper indicating Brexit might not be able to continue without Scottish and Welsh approval? Did I miss something about that?

      Sturgeon will be better organized and prepared than Salmond was but a second referendum still faces the same hurdles from IndyRef 1.0: worried older voters fretting about their pensions and polling which is nearly split at this time. UK news media is already marginalizing news about indyRef 2.0; it wouldn’t take much for a concerted “fake news” operation to manipulate perception and swing the vote. Only hope that the Scots are far more pissed off this time about UK’s incompetent leadership and UK white nationalists’ bigotry.

      Of more concern to me is the news about Ireland and North Ireland…I think I will save that for a St. Patrick’s Day post, though, aye?

      • Alan says:

        Yes, this is about more than Scotland. This is the UK coming apart. This has been a work in development for decades. Empire was what held the parts together and lacking significant political reform, for which the political classes have had no enthusiasm, the breakup of the UK was inevitable. Within hours of Sturgeon’s speech, Michelle O’Neill, the new leader of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland, called for a border poll and Leanne Wood, leader of Plaid Cymru, said that Wales would need to decide its own future in the event Scotland left the UK. The recent election in NI was also a game changer. The unionist parties lost seats and now have about the same number as the nationalist parties, with another ten seats held by other parties. This was an election that was mostly ignored on the mainland UK, which tells you all you need to know about how much the British political classes care about NI and the impact of Brexit there. (For some decent journalism on NI and Scotland search out stuff from Peter Geoghegan.)

        The British Tories are wittering on about Empire 2.0 and building a new Royal Yacht. Presumably they need a new Yacht to sail off the edge into the economic abyss. They are mad. Here’s a nice explanation of Brexit, lost empire, and the English identity crisis that has brought this all to a head:

  2. harpie says:

    More on the China Connection:

    Businesswoman Who Bought Trump Penthouse Is Connected to Chinese Intelligence Front Group 

    Mother Jones; Andy Kroll/Russ Chomar; 3/15/17 10:25am
    “The president’s company won’t explain this $15.8 million deal.”

    When a Chinese American businesswoman who sells access to powerful people recently purchased a $15.8 million penthouse in a building owned by President Donald Trump, the deal raised a key question. Was this a straightforward real estate transaction, or was this an effort to win favor with the new administration? […]

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “Illegal” for a journalist to publish unsolicited information from a source?  Another Trumpism.  Calling it false would be redundant.  This Trumpism seems especially egregious given that the press release that contained it also confirmed the accuracy of the information.  Dare one speculate it came from Donald himself, who picked the one year in ten in which he actually paid tax on massive amounts of income?

    I don’t imagine the Trumpistas gave any thought to whether their claim was true.  Their usual criterion is whether a claim might “play”, whether it might distract and impugn a source critical of Trump.  Perhaps we should thank Donald Trump for bringing the “ethics” of Barnum & Bailey’s and Rex Tillerson’s vaunted marketplace to the White House.  Next thing you know, BP will run commercials bragging about its concern for safety and the environment.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mr. Trump does not have a “responsibility” to pay as little personal income tax as possible.  He may have it as a goal, a desire, an objective, but not as a responsibility.  Even if Trump himself outed this miniscule two pages (out of what may have been several hundred pages for his 2005 return), he has also outed that for a single year, he has a $31 million incentive to rid the wealthy of (the alternative minimum) their responsibility to pay tax commensurate with their wealth and the advantages this country and all its people provides them.  We all count or nobody counts.

    • greengiant says:

      The NYTimes already nailed Donald to the cross for his 950 million dollar “out of thin air”  write off in 1995  using a NYC filing.   By about 2005 Donald had probably been working that one off,  but if he needed any more write offs,  one can guess by class and past performance he has dredged some up from some of his many partnerships,  where he plays,   my partners and lenders lose their cash,  and I get the tax write off.  and google another link donald-trump-tax-advantages-deductions-losses.html

      Tax cheating is the least of his and our problems.   Baby killing,   no quick ends to the forever wars,  money laundering penthouse buying,  government destroying bills coming down from the House under the reconciliation act that bypass filibuster,  incoming 20 percent short term interest rates under Bannon’s destroy everything plan.   Too much chaos.

  5. harpie says:

    “One of the two pages was also marked CLIENT COPY.”

    From Vox: […] Johnston, a veteran tax policy journalist who’s authored a book on Trump, said on MSNBC that the tax return pages “came in the mail” to him. (The return is marked “Client Copy,” suggesting the leak came from returns prepared for Trump’s use, not from the IRS.) […]


    Susan Simpson @TheViewFromLL2 [Attorney in Washington, DC; blogger at The View From LL2; podcaster at @Undisclosedpod and @45thpod.] had an interesting thread about these documents, here:


    Sounds like the documents Trump produced in discovery for the O’Brien litigation finally leaked. […interesting discussion…] Here’s the deal: if those tax returns really ARE from the O’Brien litigation, I don’t trust them for a second. Trump lied his way throughout that entire case. If it’s shown they were produced in discovery, and not filed with IRS, they’re worthless. […] Before taking office, POTUS lied repeatedly in sworn responses abt his business, in order to invent fictitious damages in a defamation suit. Yes, that’s a very serious statement to make. And I don’t say it lightly. But the record is overwhelmingly clear that this happened. […] if they really are from the O’Brien litigation, […] There is a very tiny pool of people who would have this document and a motive to leak it. And none of them are trying to harm Trump. /end

    • Rayne says:

      IMO it was a leak direct from Trump or at his request, not from O’Brien related persons. Trump’s highly litigious history filing SLAPP-ish suits as well as his frequent use of NDAs make the later much less likely.

      And then the projection. Always the projection — this is a guy who listened in on guests’ calls at Mar-a-Lago. If he’s talking about illegal activity, you can bet he’s doing something illegal disclosed within his accusations aimed at others. What’s he hiding in plain sight?

  6. harpie says:

    Totally agree, Rayne, and I think Simpson lays out a good argument to support that opinion.
    They’re covering up a massive stinking pile of crap, and I hope it gets exposed in the most grindingly excruciating and public way possible.

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