Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

Count on Hillary Clinton running again in 2020 — “Someone needs to perform an intervention.”

October 21, 2018

This is beyond odd, but here goes. I rise to defend Hillary Clinton.

She is under attack and this time, the long knives are wielded by members of her own clan. Suddenly, after two years of indulging Clinton’s blame games and pity parties, lefty pundits say she’s talking too much, she’s stuck in the past, she had her chance and she blew it.

Vanity Fair, declaring that she “still hasn’t learned the lessons of #MeToo,” is furious that Clinton said her husband’s Oval Office dalliance with Monica Lewinsky was not an abuse of power ­because the 22-year-old intern “was an adult.”

Politico flatly declared Clinton a “problem” who won’t go away and fretted that Democrats “don’t know what to do” about her.

By Michael Goodwin
New York Post
Opinion

A New York Times columnist, noting that Clinton is a font of gaffes and a focus for Republicans, accused her of “moral arrogance” and wrote that “someone needs to perform an intervention.”

The passions are real and the imagery colorful. Imagine an intervention where a pink pussy-hat posse forces Clinton into a van and drives her to a remote cabin in the woods to keep her from talking.

Alas, the motives are suspect. These three writers, all female, are not so much angry at what Clinton is saying as they are over the timing. The gist of their complaint is that she is hogging the spotlight they believe should be trained on Democrats running in the midterms. They’re mad because they fear she’s undercutting the holy war they subscribe to against President Trump.

Intramural feuds are often bloody, but this one is also stupid. Trying to silence Clinton is a lost cause and, even if it succeeded, wouldn’t cure what ails Democrats.

In fact, shutting her up might push the party even deeper into the wilderness.

Implicit in the charge that Clinton is the problem is the assumption that others are the solution. It’s a fair point — until you try to name any Dem who has a better shot at serving as the party’s leader, uniting it around a message and potentially defeating Trump in 2020. After all, that’s the job that is vacant.

So let us run through the parade of likely applicants, starting in the Senate: Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Anybody stand out? While there is political talent, none strikes me as a heavyweight contender who could lead the party and go toe-to-toe with Trump.

Sanders is running on vapors, Booker is a lightweight who embarrassed himself with the Spartacus shtick and Gillibrand is a ­do-nothing hack.

As for Warren, CNN, showing its usual tin ear, moved her to the top of the Dem field just before she imploded with her disastrous DNA test. Her silly repetition of the now-disproven claim that she has significant Native American ancestry opens her to endless ridicule and further diminishes her ­already narrow appeal.

Others advertising their availability include Joe Biden, Eric Holder, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Same question: Does anybody in the group look like a champion in waiting? Not to me and, to judge from the lack of great enthusiasm, not to big funders or hot-shot consultants.

Two others in the thinking-and-hoping stage are New York’s feuding Frick and Frack, Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo.

Mayor Putz is term-limited and it looks as if his career has peaked. His image of being lazy, corrupt and incompetent means he’s not an asset to anyone, so he may have to get a real job when he finally leaves City Hall.

As for Cuomo, his mediocre rec­ord might get him a third term in deep-blue New York, but it’s not likely to endear him to national Dems. He trusts no one, including himself, which is why he hides from the media, lest he say things like America “was never that great.”

His habit of ducking debates won’t fly in a grueling presidential campaign against numerous competitors, and the rampant corruption on his watch makes him a fat target.

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is also considering a run, and fellow richie Tom Steyer, whose deep pockets are funding the “Need to Impeach” movement, could be a candidate. Oprah flirted with the idea before saying no, but don’t be surprised if she flirts again.

The list, then, is long, varied and growing — but not compelling. Which is why Clinton, despite her enormous flaws and two presidential defeats, can’t be ruled out as the party’s best hope. God knows she wants it more than anybody else.

It’s also why I have been saying for months that she was keeping her options open and might actually seek a rematch with Trump.

And that was before she and Bill Clinton announced their six-month speaking tour. The gambit is designed to keep her name front and center without having to declare herself a candidate. Her recent phone calls to White House reporters also signal her plan.

So I was not surprised when one of her former aides, Philippe Reines, admitted to Politico that Clinton might run. He cited her fan base, said she was tough enough to go against Trump and could raise the money.

There you have it, the official word that attempts to silence her are doomed. Brace yourself — she’s baaaack!

Harvard’s poison ivy

If nothing else, the trial over whether Harvard discriminates against Asian-American students is revealing the messy ways that top schools decide who gets admitted.

It’s no surprise, for example, that when the question involves legacies, donors’ offspring and athletes, academic merit is often not the deciding factor. Yet most galling is the claim by Harvard’s lawyer that “if it considers race, it is always considered in a positive way.”

That’s sophistry. With a finite number of openings, to consider race as a reason for admitting one student inevitably means shutting out another student, presumably of a different race.

Even an Ivy Leaguer can figure that out.

Behind the bloat

Reader George Merrill asks the $80 billion question. He writes: “Florida and New York have similar-sized populations so you would think the cost of state services would also be similar. However, this is not the case. The Florida budget is $88 billion while New York’s is $168 billion.

“I find the government-provided services in Florida to be excellent. Therefore, it is a mystery to me why New York spends 90 percent more money to provide the same services.

“Please clarify.”

My answer: Waste, fraud and abuse. Everything else is detail.

Stable door’s shut

Nicholas Saridakis wants to answer my question about why President Trump would stoop to call Stormy Daniels “Horseface.”

He writes: “I no longer begrudge Trump his shots at his foes and no longer care about his being ‘presidential.’

“Look where it’s gotten us. The fools who hate Trump can play the dignity game all they want. It no longer matters.”

https://nypost.com/2018/10/20/count-on-hillary-clinton-running-again-in-2020/

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UAE mogul Khalaf Al-Habtoor calls for a boycott of US firms, execs. who pulled out of Saudi investment summit

October 15, 2018

In an Op-Ed column written exclusively for Arab News, UAE business tycoon Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor has called for an Arab boycott of US companies and executives who have pulled out of Saudi Arabia’s upcoming Future Investment Initiative (FII) summit, or decided to freeze ongoing dealings with the Kingdom.

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A number of media companies, including Bloomberg, New York Times, CNN and CNBC have announced pulling out of the partnerships with the FII summit happening on Oct. 28 in Riyadh. This was in the aftermath of the mysterious disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, more than 10 days ago, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement with his disappearance, and has sent a team to assist Turkish investigators to find out what happened to the Saudi.

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Khashoggi’s vanishing has caused many to blame Riyadh, given he had recently become a vocal critic of its leadership in a number of columns for The Washington Post, while living in the  US.

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Pulling out of the FII media partnerships, or executives, such as Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi  cancelling their attendance, is unjustified, argued Habtoor, considering the investigation into the journalist’s whereabouts is ongoing.

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The Emirati businessman also takes on London-based Virgin Group founder Richard Branson who suspended his negotiations on tourism projects in Saudi Arabia as well as discussions with the country’s Public Investment Fund.

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“The Saudis’ Gulf Cooperation Council allies, as well as Egypt and Jordan, must stand shoulder to shoulder with Riyadh to show those companies they are not welcome to operate within our borders. They should be boycotted. Together we must prove we will not be bullied or else, mark my words, once they have finished kicking the Kingdom, we will be next in line. Now is the time to prove our loyalty and transparency toward each other,” the businessman said.

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Al-Habtoor said he was “shocked” that the US Congress is pressurizing President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on one of America’s closest allies in the Middle East when the truth has not even been determined. He also condemned US media, government officials and lawmakers for rushing to judgement on an active investigation.

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“Last week, Saudi basked in America’s friendship. A single individual goes off the radar and Riyadh is targeted with warnings and threats from America’s political, financial and business sectors. Considering that the investigation is not yet over, if this is not gross overkill, then what is?” He said.

Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1387796/saudi-arabia

 

Saudi Stocks Plunge as Trump Vows Punishment Over Khashoggi Fate

October 14, 2018
  • Equities sink the most since August 2015 on a closing basis
  • Tadawul’s main gauge wipes out its year-to-date advance
Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Saudi Arabian equities slumped on concern the U.S. may take measures against the kingdom if it’s linked to the disappearance of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi.

The Tadawul All Share Index plummeted 6.3 percent as of 11:34 a.m. in Riyadh, the most since August 2015 on a closing basis, as all but three of the gauge’s 186 members declined. Saudi Basic Industries Corp. and Al Rajhi Bank were the biggest drags on the measure.

A protestor holds a poster of Jamal Khashoggi outside the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington.  Photographer: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Donald Trump said the U.S. could take “very, very powerful, very strong, strong measures” against the kingdom if its leaders are found responsible for the Saudi citizen’s fate. Still, Trump said the U.S. would be “foolish” to cancel large arms deals with the Gulf state.

“You are talking about geopolitical situation becoming even worse and Saudi Arabia is going to show its stubborn attitude again,” said Naeem Aslam, the chief market analyst at Think Markets UK in London. “This is not going to sit well with foreign investors. From where we sit, we don’t see any demand for Saudi equities at all.”

The Tadawul’s main index has erased its year-to-date gain amid a four-day sell-off, sinking to the lowest level since December. Sabic declined 8.3 percent, Al Rajhi lost 3.7 percent and National Commercial Bank plunged 7.2 percent.

Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance. In the absence of any information of his whereabouts, some company leaders have backed away from the “Davos in the Desert” event later this month intended to showcase Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s modernization plan for his nation.

“Saudi is one of the world’s top oil producers, so one can’t sanction Saudi in the same way that one could sanction Iran,” Richard Sneller, the head of emerging-market equities at Baillie Gifford & Co. in Edinburgh, said last week. “Having said that, there are aspects of the Saudi regime that some people find less palatable and there are competing interests within Saudi as well. This is a very complicated country.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-14/saudi-stocks-slump-as-trump-vows-punishment-over-khashoggi-fate-jn8lhaqf

Jamal Khashoggi: UK and US ‘could boycott’ Saudi conference

October 14, 2018

Britain and the US are considering boycotting a major international conference in Saudi Arabia after the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the BBC has learned.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, vanished on 2 October after visiting its consulate in Istanbul.

The authorities in Istanbul believe he was murdered there by Saudi agents – claims Riyadh has dismissed as “lies”.

BBC

Image result for Jamal Khashoggi, photos

Donald Trump has said he would “punish” Saudi Arabia if it was responsible.

Several sponsors and media groups have decided to pull out of this month’s investment conference in Riyadh, dubbed Davos in the Desert, as a result of concerns over Mr Khashoggi’s fate.

Diplomatic sources have now told the BBC’s James Landale both the US Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, and the UK’s International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, might not attend the event, which is being hosted by the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to promote his reform agenda.

A spokesman for the UK’s international trade department said Dr Fox’s diary was not yet finalised for the week of the conference.

A joint statement of condemnation, if it is confirmed that Mr Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents, is also being discussed by US and European diplomats.

However, Mr Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, has said words alone will not be good enough if he has been murdered.

Hatice Cengiz outside the Saudi embassy
Hatice Cengiz: “I have been waking up every morning hoping to hear from him” — AFP photo

“If we have already lost Jamal, then condemnation is not enough,” she wrote in a piece for the New York Times. “The people who took him from us, irrespective of their political positions, must be held accountable and punished to the full extent of the law.”

She added that Saturday had been Jamal’s birthday.

“When your loved one leaves this world, the other world no longer seemed scary or far away. It is being left here all alone, without them, that is most painful.”

Donald Trump says he’d be very angry if Saudi Arabia ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

President Donald Trump has said the US will inflict “severe punishment” on Saudi Arabia if the kingdom is found to be responsible for the death of Mr Khashoggi.

He said he would be “very upset and angry if that were the case”, but ruled out halting big military contracts.

“I think we’d be punishing ourselves if we did that,” he said. “If they don’t buy it from us, they’re going to buy it from Russia or… China.”

Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevut Cavusoglu, said Saudi Arabia was not yet co-operating with the investigation – despite a statement from Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz saying they wanted to uncover “the whole truth”.

Mr Cavusoglu has urged the kingdom to allow Turkish officials to enter the consulate.

What is alleged to have happened?

CCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

A Turkish security source has told the BBC that officials had audio and video evidence proving Mr Khashoggi, who wrote for the Washington Post, was murdered inside the consulate.

Reports suggest an assault and struggle took place in the consulate after Mr Khashoggi entered the building to get some documents.

Turkish sources allege he was killed by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents.

Turkish TV has already broadcast CCTV footage of the moment Mr Khashoggi walked into the consulate for an appointment at which he was due to receive papers for his forthcoming marriage to Ms Cengiz.

Includes video:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-45853598

Related:

The media want Brett Kavanaugh to suffer long after his confirmation is over — More of the howling maelstrom

October 7, 2018

He gets his lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, but oh, the news media make him pay for it.

It was always a problem for Kavanaugh that he was the one chosen to fill the crucial swing seat on the court (even more of a problem that he was a white man), but now that Democrats and their media friends have run out of ways to delay his confirmation, the obituaries have been written.

The press, meanwhile, is turning Christine Blasey Ford into a hero for coming forward with her claim that couldn’t be corroborated, even by a good friend that Ford said was at the house where it happened.

Kavanaugh, on the other hand, is the untouchable. (And don’t forget that he’s a white man — ew!)

Commentary
By  Eddie Scarry
The Washington Examiner

Image result for brett kavanaugh, photos

Thursday evening, when it was clear Kavanaugh was likely headed for confirmation, the liberal New York Times editorial board said everyone involved in the process, even Democrats, had “failed.”

Everyone except Ford, who the Times said “presented the one image of dignity and calm in this howling maelstrom.”

And Kavanaugh, because he reacted emotionally at his hearing last week to accusations of inappropriate conduct, blackout drunkenness, and involvement in gang rapes, was, according to the Times, “a jerk.”

Feminist writer Roxane Gay laid it on thick Friday in the same paper, commending Ford for “speaking her truth in front of the nation” and having “the courage to come forward out of a sense of patriotic duty, the greater good.”

On Kavanaugh, Gay shrugged and said Ford’s accusation may end up with him “losing this career opportunity,” as if being called a drunken sexual predator in front of the nation were merely a matter of receiving a college rejection letter.

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Christine Blasey Ford testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee
Christine Blasey Ford testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee PHOTO: POOL/GETTY IMAGES

Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubin on Friday called Ford’s testimony “entirely credible” while bemoaning the “baggage” that Kavanaugh “totes,” should he make it through confirmation — a confirmation, she says, that “will taint him and the Supreme Court.”

“Baggage” is usually defined as something a person brings to a situation because of their own explicit doing. The “baggage” Kavanaugh supposedly carries is unproven accusations and a pissed-off news media, neither of which he has any control over.

But that doesn’t matter. Ford is the hero, and Kavanaugh is the leper.

Time magazine featured an illustration of Ford on its latest cover, heralding her influence on the national discourse over sexual assault.

“The facts remain unsettled, and Ford’s testimony may not prevent Kavanaugh’s confirmation,” Time’s Haley Sweetland Edwards wrote in the story. “But it was a powerful warning that wealth, status, and a record of professional accomplishments were no longer enough to override credible allegations of sexual assault, no matter when they occurred. To young men, it was a message that drunken violence could shadow them all their lives. And to victims, Ford’s testimony was an invitation to speak up, no matter how powerful the accused, no matter how long ago the attack. People will listen, the country seemed to reassure them. We will believe you.”

Only in the national media can “the facts remain unsettled,” and yet we can still be assured that “we believe” any woman who directly accuses a man of sexual misconduct.

If the facts “remain unsettled,” shouldn’t everyone still be, at least, equally unsettled?

Time magazine: Nah!

It can never be said enough that every single witness put forward by Ford and Kavanaugh’s two other accusers, have either denied any memory of the alleged events or outright refuted that they ever could have even taken place.

The Time article continued, “[E]ven if Kavanaugh joins the bench, Ford has cemented herself as a historic figure. In her courage, many Americans saw the opposite of everything they think is wrong with Washington.”

Perhaps “many Americans” did see that in Ford.

But in the press’ coverage, many Americans saw everything they think is wrong with the media.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/the-media-want-brett-kavanaugh-to-suffer-long-after-his-confirmation-is-over

See also:

How Time magazine’s striking Christine Blasey Ford cover came to be

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2018/10/04/how-time-magazines-christine-blasey-ford-cover-came-to-be/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.dc2a8e32a7d2

Related:

Backlash to Trump claim that Soros paid anti-Kavanaugh protesters

October 6, 2018

Liberals accuse Trump of peddling anti-Semitic tropes, while the Washington Post says the allegation is just plain untrue


President Trump at the White House on Sept. 5. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump’s claim on Friday that demonstrators against his beleaguered Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were paid by Jewish billionaire investor and liberal donor George Soros sparked immediate backlash, with some accusing the president of spreading an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory and a major American newspaper calling out his statement as flagrantly untrue.

“On the surface, Trump’s tweeting of a Soros conspiracy theory acts to explain-away opposition to Kavanaugh. But beneath that veneer, those conspiracy theories trace back to longstanding anti-Semitic tropes,” tweeted Right Wing Watch, a liberal advocacy group in the US.

Longtime Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, who is Jewish, said the statement itself was anti-Semitic, but stopped short of calling Trump a Jew-hater.

“If it was anyone else, this would seem to be base anti-Semitism,” he wrote. “One might think Trump is appealing to a similar mob. But the president is clearly no anti-Semite.” Cohen concluded the remarks were “not anti-Semitism by intent,” but amounted to anti-Semitism nonetheless.

As the Senate geared up to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, the president tweeted that “very rude elevator screamers” who confronted Arizona Senator Jeff Flake were bought by professionals to make senators look bad. “Paid for by Soros and others,” he said.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love!

Last week, a group of sexual assault victims verbally assailed Flake in an elevator over his vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination. Videos of the exchange went viral and all week demonstrators have been targeting swing senators who are on the fence.

George Soros, founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundation, waits for the start of a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels on April 27, 2017. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)

Soros, a Hungary-born Holocaust survivor, is a donor to the Democrats and other liberal causes in the United States, Europe and Israel. The Jewish billionaire is frequently described by arch-conservatives as a behind-the-scenes operator driving liberal and progressive movements — criticisms that have prompted counter-accusations of anti-Semitism.

Trump’s reference to Soros, who has supported pro-democracy movements around the world and the US Democratic Party for years, appeared aimed at rallying more support for Kavanaugh and inciting anger from the president’s conservative Christian base.

During his presidential campaign in 2016, Trump ran an ad that criticized “those who control the levers of power in Washington” and “global special interests.” Over those words were images of Soros and the then-Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen, who also is Jewish.

Max Boot, a fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, said Trump’s attempt to ascribe fault on Soros, an identifiable Jew, was historically how despotic rulers acted.

Max Boot

@MaxBoot

Funny (actually not so funny) how authoritarians or would-be authoritarians always blame their problems on the Jews–and now in particular on George Soros who has replaced the Rothschilds as the symbol of Jewish finance.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers

Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley was asked by a Fox Business anchor earlier in the day if he thought Trump’s statement was accurate. “I have heard so many people believe that. I tend to believe it,” Grassley said.

David Leonhardt, a New York Times columnist, tweeted a link to that clip and accused the senator of also propagating anti-Semitism.

“Let’s be clear here: Charles Grassley is a United States Senator,” Leonhardt said. “He is responsible for his words. And his words here amount to an anti-Semitic smear.”

David Leonhardt

@DLeonhardt

Let’s be clear here: Charles Grassley is a United States Senator. He is responsible for his words. And his words here amount to an anti-Semitic smear.

Dave Brown

@dave_brown24

Maria Bartiromo asked Chuck Grassley this morning if he thinks George Soros is paying the elevator protesters. “I have heard so many people believe that. I tend to believe it,” Grassley said. Trump tweeted the accusation about 80 minutes later

Meanwhile, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog found Trump’s claim to be untrue, granting it three Pinnochios.

While noting that the Open Society Foundation, which Soros bankrolls, has supported the Center for Popular Democracy, which had activists protesting Kavanaugh’s nomination on Capitol Hill, The Post said that was not tantamount to Soros buying protesters.

“There is some, indirect money from Soros associated with the groups that confronted senators in elevators, but it is wrong to claim the protesters were paid by Soros or directed by him,” the article said.

On Friday, key senators announced they would vote for Kavanaugh on Saturday, all but securing his confirmation.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/backlash-to-trump-claim-that-soros-paid-anti-kavanaugh-protesters/

Related:

President Trump’s ignorant attack on George Soros
WaPo:https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2018/10/05/president-trumps-ignorant-attack-on-george-soros/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.70aafd92a04a

Trump Lawyer Warns New York Times of Tax Story ‘Defamation,’ ‘Substantial Liability’

October 3, 2018

The lawyer who won a multi-million dollar libel settlement for Melania Trump is now warning The New York Times about a story suggesting her husband, President Donald Trump, may have committed tax fraud.

On Tuesday, the Times published a story, “Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches from His Father,” in which it claims to have obtained confidential tax records and says Trump committed “outright fraud”:

“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.”

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“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.”

….

“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.”

In its story, the Times links to a statement from Charles J. Harder, a lawyer for Pres. Trump, declaring the story’s allegations are “100% false, and highly defamatory” – and based on “extremely inaccurate” claims.

Image result for Charles J. Harder, Trump Lawyer, Photos
Arguably the highest-profile media lawyer in America, Charles Harder is een here with Hulk Hogan.
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Harder warns that the Times allegations expose it to “substantial liability and damages for defamation”:

Statement to The Times from Charles J. Harder, a lawyer for President Trump

The New York Times’ allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100% false, and highly defamatory. There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which the Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate. All estate matters were handled by licensed attorneys, licensed CPAs and licensed real estate appraisers who followed all laws and rules strictly. All matters were filed with the IRS and New York taxing authorities. The returns and tax positions that the Times now attacks were examined in real time by the relevant taxing authorities. 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.

President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters. 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. 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.

In 2017, Mr. Harder won a multi-million dollar settlement and obtained a full retraction and apology for the First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, in a libel action against the Daily Mail. The Wall Street Journal reports that the publication paid the First Lady Melania Trump $2.9 million to settle the lawsuit.

As The New York Times reported on April 12, 2017:

“The Daily Mail apologized to Melania Trump on Wednesday and agreed to pay damages to settle two lawsuits she had filed over an article last year asserting that the professional modeling agency she worked for in the 1990s had also been an escort service.”

[Editor’s Note: This blog has been updated.]

https://www.cnsnews.com/blog/craig-bannister/trump-lawyer-warns-new-york-times-tax-story-defamation-substantial-liability

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New York Times: Trump got $413M from his dad, much of it from tax dodges

October 3, 2018

Newspaper report claims US president’s family avoided paying tens of millions by undervaluing properties and creating a sham corporation

Donald Trump, center, sits with hands folded at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey, April 6, 1990, before the start of grand opening ceremonies. Trump (C) attended the gala with his parents, Mary (3rd R) and Fred (2nd R), and sister US District Court Judge Maryanne Trump Barry (R), and brother Robert Trump (L) and his wife Blaine Trump (3rd L). Trump was dateless. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Donald Trump, center, sits with hands folded at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey, April 6, 1990, before the start of grand opening ceremonies. Trump (C) attended the gala with his parents, Mary (3rd R) and Fred (2nd R), and sister US District Court Judge Maryanne Trump Barry (R), and brother Robert Trump (L) and his wife Blaine Trump (3rd L). Trump was dateless. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

NEW YORK — The New York Times reported Tuesday that US President Donald Trump received at least $413 million from his father over the decades, much of that through dubious tax dodges, including outright fraud.

The 15,000-word Times report contradicts Trump’s portrayal of himself as a self-made billionaire who started with just a $1 million loan from his father.

The Times said Trump and his father, Fred, avoided gift and inheritance taxes by setting up a sham corporation and undervaluing assets to tax authorities. The Times said its report is based on more than 100,000 pages of financial documents, including confidential tax returns from the father and his companies.

A lawyer for Trump, Charles J. Harder, told the Times that there was no “fraud or tax evasion” and that the facts cited in the report are “extremely inaccurate.”

US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on September 26, 2018, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. (AFP/Nicholas Kamm)

The White House dismissed the report as a “misleading attack against the Trump family by the failing New York Times.” It criticized the newspaper and other media outlets, saying their low credibility with the public is “because they are consumed with attacking the president and his family 24/7 instead of reporting the news.”

The New York state tax department told The Associated Press that it is reviewing the allegations in the Times and “is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation.” The department typically refers findings to the state attorney general’s office.

The Times said the Trump family hid millions of dollars of transfers from the father to his children through a sham company owned by the children called All County Building Supply & Maintenance. Set up in 1992 ostensibly as a purchasing agent to supply Fred Trump’s buildings with boilers, cleaning supplies and other goods, the father would pad invoices with markups of 20 percent or even 50%, thereby avoiding gift taxes, the newspaper reports.

A portrait of US President Donald Trump’s father Fred Trump, and three un-signed Executive orders are seen in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, February 9, 2017. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP))

The Times said that before Fred Trump died in the late 1990s, he transferred ownership of most of his real estate empire to his four living children. The value of the properties in tax returns summed up to $41.4 million, vastly less than the Times said they were worth.

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

In total, the president’s father and mother transferred over $1 billion to their children, according to the Times tally. That should have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million, based on a 55% tax on gifts and inheritance at the time.

Instead, the children paid $52.2 million, or about 5%.

Tax experts cited in the report said that Trump is unlikely to face criminal prosecution in helping his parents evade taxes because the maneuvers occurred long ago and are past the statute of limitation.

The president’s brother Robert Trump said that “all appropriate gift and estate tax returns” were filed. “Our family has no other comment on these matters that happened some 20 years ago,” he said in a statement to the Times, “and would appreciate your respecting the privacy of our deceased parents, may God rest their souls.”

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves during a campaign stop at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Fla, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016. (AP/Matt Rourke)

The Times report said documents it reviewed show that the future president was earning $200,000 a year in today’s dollars at the age of 3. By the time Trump had graduated from college, the report said, he was getting the equivalent of $1 million a year from his father.

When he was campaigning, Trump repeatedly boasted of his ability to turn a small loan from his father into his fortune. “My father gave me a very small loan in 1975,” he said, “and I built it into a company that’s worth many, many billions of dollars.”

The Associated Press

https://www.timesofisrael.com/new-york-times-trump-got-413m-from-his-dad-much-from-tax-dodges/

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See the New York Times report:

New York state launches probe into Trump’s taxes after bombshell NYT report

October 3, 2018

The state on Tuesday launched an investigation into President Trump following an explosive report alleging that he and his family cooked up fraudulent financial schemes to help their parents dodge millions in taxes.

Trump pocketed at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father Fred’s real estate business, The New York Times reported, citing a “vast trove” of confidential tax return and financial records.

“The Tax Department is reviewing the allegations in the NYT article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation,” the department said in a statement.

Late Tuesday evening, Mayor de Blasio announced he’d directed NYC’s Department of Finance to work with the state and “find out if the appropriate taxes were paid.”

The Times report said that much of that fortune came to Trump because he helped his parents evade taxes, setting up a fake corporation with his siblings to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their mom and dad.

During his presidential campaign, Trump promoted himself as a self-made real estate mogul who started out with only a “very small” loan from his father.

The paper said its findings were based on more than 200 tax returns from Fred Trump, his companies and various Trump partnerships and trusts.

The records did not include Trump’s personal tax returns, which he has refused to release, breaking with decades of precedent.

Trump lawyer Charles Harder denied the report — and pointed the finger at other relatives and the financial “professionals” the family hired.

“President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters,” he told the paper.

“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.”

The White House said that the financial matters had been approved by the IRS, while slamming the media for attacking the president.

“Many decades ago the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions,” read a statement from spokesperson Sarah Huckabee 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.”

The paper said the report was based on interviews with Fred Trump’s former employees and advisers and more than 100,000 pages of documents describing the inner workings of his business empire.

“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,” the Times said.

With Reuters

https://nypost.com/2018/10/02/new-york-state-launches-probe-into-trumps-taxes-after-bombshell-report/

See the New York Times report:

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

October 2, 2018

The president has long sold himself as a self-made billionaire, but a Times investigation found that he received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire, much of it through tax dodges in the 1990s.

Image result for donald trump, photos, 1999, back of limo

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.

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.

[11 takeaways from The Times’s investigation]

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.

Donald J. Trump accumulated wealth throughout his childhood thanks to his father, Fred C. Trump.

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.

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NYT:https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/10/02/us/politics/donald-trump-tax-schemes-fred-trump.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage