Headlines: October 3, 2018
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A major New York Times investigation published on Tuesday has uncovered that President Donald Trump engaged in what appears to be tax fraud in order to keep as much of his parent’s inheritance as possible. The bombshell story on the cover of the paper is entitled, “Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father,” and details how Trump, “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.” Reporters David Barstow, Suzanne Craig, and Russ Beutner pointed out that, “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.”
Going into detail the paper found that Trump, “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.” The Trump children should have paid about $550 million in taxes and ended up paying only about $52 million. The IRS paid little heed to these shenanigans.
Before publication, President Trump was repeatedly asked to comment on the findings according to the New York Times but he refused. Once the story was published a Trump lawyer released a statement saying, “The New York Times’ allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent 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.”
A new Showtime documentary called The Family Business: Trump and Taxes, is set to debut on October 7th and features a clip of the New York Times reporters who uncovered the story published on Tuesday. Reporters David Barstow, Suzanne Craig, and Russ Beutner of the New York Times on a Showtime documentary discuss their investigative news story that published in the Times on Tuesday detailing how Trump and his siblings engaged in tax fraud to keep millions of their parent’s inheritance dollars. In the wake of the report, the New York State Tax Department is reportedly looking into potential wrongdoing by the Trumps.
Meanwhile, at a raucous rally in Mississippi on Tuesday evening Trump shockingly mocked Christine Blasey Ford‘s testimony as the crowd roared with approval. President Trump mocked the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in her accusation of attempted rape by his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Just hours earlier, Trump commented on the same issue, once again sympathizing with men. President Trump on Tuesday on the South Lawn of the White House comments on how being accused of rape is a scary thing for young men. He made no mention of the real fear felt ubiquitously by women everywhere that men will rape them.
The FBI may be continuing its investigation into sexual assault allegations made against Brett Kavanaugh through this week. Many are pointing out the troubling fact that his original accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has not been interviewed and may not be. As far as is publicly known, the four people that have been interviewed so far include Kavanaugh’s second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, his high school friends Mark Judge and P.J. Smyth, and Dr. Blasey Ford’s friend Leland Keyser. Several people including some of Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates, who say they have information on the matter have apparently tried to contact the FBI but not been successful. The New York Times on Tuesday published a copy of a 1983 hand-written letter by Kavanaugh to one of his friends about plans for a beachfront trip. At the end of the letter Kavanaugh wrote, “warn the neighbors that we’re loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us. Advise them to go about 30 miles…” It is not clear if the FBI will be considering the letter. There will be mass marches in cities around the country this Thursday to oppose the Kavanaugh nomination.
Four white supremacist men from the California-based group Rise Above Movement have been arrested in Virginia. They stand accused of traveling to the state in order to incite a riot and attack people at the now-infamous Charlottesville rally that resulted in one death and numerous injuries last year. The four men arrested are Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Miselis, Thomas Walter Gillen, and Cole Evan White. A US Attorney named Thomas Cullen announced their arrests at a press conference in Charlottesville on Tuesday saying, “This is a group that essentially subscribes to an anti-Semitic, racist ideology, and then organizes, trains, and deploys to various political rallies, not only to espouse this particular ideology but also to engage in acts of violence against folks who are taking a contrary point of view.” If convicted the men face up to 10 years in prison.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is once more engaged in loosening public protections – this time by weakening regulations of radiation exposure long known to cause cancer. According to Associated Press, “critics say the proposed change could lead to higher levels of exposure for workers at nuclear installations and oil and gas drilling sites, medical workers doing X-rays and CT scans, people living next to Superfund sites and any members of the public who one day might find themselves exposed to a radiation release.” Under the Trump administration, the EPA has been pursuing a strategy to accomplish the exact opposite of its original mandate of protecting the public from environmental harm. In justifying its latest move, the EPA is apparently, “turning to scientific outliers who argue that a bit of radiation damage is actually good for you — like a little bit of sunlight.”
The Trump administration also made headway on its other project of undermining the rights of LGBTQ people. On Tuesday the US State Department announced that it will no longer issue visas to, “same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats or employees of international organizations who work in the United States.” The rule, which took effect on Monday, means that those diplomats seeking visas for their partners or spouses will now need to offer proof of marriage.
And finally, the death toll from Indonesia’s deadly earthquake and tsunami continues to rise. Now 1,407 people are estimated to have been killed. In Palu, Donggala and the surrounding regions, thousands of survivors, some of them badly injured, have been waiting for 6 days for aid to arrive from the central government. Many have injuries that need treatment but the local hospitals are without power. President Joko Widodo has already visited the impacted area twice and has put his Vice President in charge of recovery efforts.