The New York Times Just Revealed The Trump Family’s Legacy Of Fraud And Deception

In the most comprehensive look into their finances yet, the Times reveals the Trump family's fraud and definitively proves that Donald Trump is not a self-made billionaire.
Donald Trump arrives to speak during a campaign rally, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. From left, Eric Trump, Vanessa Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Mike Pence, Karen Pence, Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Tiffany Trump. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Donald Trump arrives to speak during a campaign rally, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. From left, Eric Trump, Vanessa Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Mike Pence, Karen Pence, Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Tiffany Trump. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

The Rantt Rundown: Day 621 of the Trump presidency

The Lede: Today, The New York Times dropped a bombshell report that’s been a year in the making. They obtained a trove of documents, including Fred Trump’s tax returns. This is the most extensive look into the Trump family’s finances yet, and it paints an incriminating picture of fraud and definitively proves that Donald Trump is not a self-made billionaire.


In extensive detail, the Times outlines the fact Donald Trump received, at least, the equivalent of $413 million from his father’s real estate empire. They used shady methods, sometimes constituting fraud, to funnel money to one another. Donald Trump was also a millionaire by age 8, racking in $200,000 a year starting at age 3. And that “small $1 million loan” Trump received from his father? It was actually at least $60.7 million ($140 million in today’s dollars). Trump never paid it back.

You can read the full investigation here or read the key takeaways from the Times here.

Here are some highlights:

In all, the president’s parents 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 on gifts and inheritances that was in place at the time. Helped by a variety of tax dodges, the Trumps paid $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, tax returns show.

The deceptive taxes went beyond loopholes:

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 that repeatedly prevented the I.R.S. from taxing large transfers of wealth to Fred Trump’s children.

The child millionaire:

But The Times’s investigation makes clear that in every era of Mr. Trump’s life, his finances were deeply entwined with, and dependent on, his father’s wealth. By age 3, he was earning $200,000 a year in today’s dollars from his father’s empire. He was a millionaire by age 8. In his 40s and 50s, he was receiving more than $5 million a year.

The myth of self-made Donald:

But the partnership between Donald Trump and his father was about more than the pursuit, and the preservation, of riches. They were also confederates in a more ambitious project: creating the myth of Donald J. Trump, Self-Made Billionaire. If Fred Trump was the silent partner, helping finance the accouterments of wealth, it was Donald Trump who spun them into a seductive narrative.

Trump’s father saved the family hundreds of millions of dollars by undervaluing properties they gifted to their children.

Fred Trump’s 1995 gift tax return claimed that the 25 apartment complexes and other properties in the trusts were worth just $41.4 million. The implausibility of this claim would be made plain in 2004, when banks valued that same real estate at nearly $900 million.

Fred Trump didn’t trust Donald’s business acumen, and stripped him of sole control over his estate in his will:

Fred Trump feared that the document potentially put his life’s work at risk, that his son might use the empire as collateral to save his own failing businesses, according to depositions given years later during a family dispute.

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.

The Context: From Trump University to Trump SoHo, the Trump family’s history of fraudulent behavior is no secret. David Fahrenthold revealed the Trump Foundation’s self-dealing in 2016 and it led to an investigation by the New York Attorney General. Trump’s alleged money laundering has also drawn great scrutiny. Trump is already plagued by multiple federal investigations and lawsuits, so he may have to add this to the list:

  • Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference and potential conspiracy with the Trump campaign.
  • The Southern District of New York’s investigation into Trump’s former lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen
  • The Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into the Trump Organization
  • The New York Attorney General’s investigation into the Trump Foundation
  • Emoluments clause lawsuits
  • Stormy Daniels and Summer Zervos lawsuits

The Analysis: It appears that Donald Trump has been hiding the fact that not only is he not self-made, he had to be bailed out by his father on multiple occasions. Needless to say, there is a reason Donald Trump did not want to release his tax returns. The New York State Tax Department is looking into what was laid out in this report. Do you know who could corroborate the content of the tax returns? Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg who has reportedly been granted immunity by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

Although Democrats are likely wishing this surfaced in 2016, it’s here now, and will likely be used as a means to advocate for the release of Trump’s tax returns and to poke a hole in Trump’s fabricated self-made persona. And if criminal fraud is derived from his finances, it’s likely Democrats will add that to their articles of impeachment if they win the House. One way or another, while he’s in office or afterward, his finances will eventually catch up to him.

In other news…

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Rundown // Donald Trump / Journalism / Trump Family / Trump Organization