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The unfinished Trump International Hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan The unfinished Trump International Hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 19, 2016 (AP photo by Aida Sultanova).

Trump’s Tax Returns Are a Scandal for the President—and for America

Friday, Oct. 2, 2020

The recent bombshell report from The New York Times—which obtained more than two decades’ worth of President Donald Trump’s tax returns, including from the first two years of his presidency—offered a number of remarkable details, from how little Trump has paid in income taxes to the staggering $421 million in debt that he has personally guaranteed. Yet perhaps the most concerning revelations from the Times’ report centered on a topic long central to Trump’s rise, and to his presidency: foreign money.

The tax returns didn’t reveal any new information about potential financing from Russia, a question that has long stalked Trump given the web of close ties between his advisers and prominent Russians, including Kremlin officials. However, the reporting did offer a raft of new details about the foreign business links Trump has maintained during his presidency. According to the Times, Trump’s revenue from abroad totaled $73 million during his first two years in the White House. While much of that money stemmed from his golf courses in Ireland and Scotland, millions more came from deals that are far more concerning, in countries with illiberal or authoritarian-leaning governments. In an alarming break from precedent, Trump has opted to maintain ownership of his business while serving as the nation’s chief executive, creating massive potential for conflicts of interest. ...

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