The New York Times’ bombshell report Sunday night that revealed Donald Trump‘s tax information over the past couple of decades has prompted an angry chorus of demands across social media calling for the president to be arrested. The new report on Trump’s taxes shows that he “has been more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life.”
The report came two days before Trump’s first debate against Joe Biden and one day after the president nominated Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s replacement on the U.S. Supreme Court with just barely more than a month until Election Day.
Aside from the expected outrage on social media, there were also inevitable comparisons to Al Capone, the infamous Chicago gangster of the 1920s whose ultimate downfall was tax evasion, a term that became a top trending topic on Twitter hours after the Times’ story broke.
While the Times did not make any direct allegations of tax evasion, it did report the following:
“The tax returns that Mr. Trump has long fought to keep private tell a story fundamentally different from the one he has sold to the American public. His reports to the I.R.S. portray a businessman who takes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year yet racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes. Now, with his financial challenges mounting, the records show that he depends more and more on making money from businesses that put him in potential and often direct conflict of interest with his job as president.”
To be clear, according to the Times, Trump has paid a total of $1,500 ($750 in each of the two years he paid) in federal taxes since he’s been president and didn’t pay any federal taxes — zero dollars — in 10 of the past 15 years. Trump’s tax records also show he owes more than $300 million in overall debt and lost $47.4 million in 2018, which is a far cry from the $434.9 million he publicly boasted making that year.
Hillary Clinton seems to have accurately predicted during a presidential debate four years ago what the New York Times revealed to be true Sunday night. At the time, Trump insisted he was “smart” for avoiding paying taxes. But most people didn’t know the scope of his tax avoidance until Sunday.
The revelation could strengthen the Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s office’s investigation into the taxes for both Trump and his businesses in New York City. Prosecutors with Vance’s office suggested last week that Trump and his businesses could face a criminal tax case, CNBC reported.
In case you’re keeping track, Capone was found guilty and convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in prison. He served more than seven-and-a-half of them. He eventually retreated to his home in Florida, where ultimately died.
It was unclear whether the Times’ report about Trump’s taxes would affect the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, which was announced Saturday. It was also unclear if the new report would change the minds of any of Trump’s loyal voters.
But the report did make Tuesday night’s presidential debate must-see TV as the first showdown between Biden and Trump looms large, with the president’s taxes expected to take center stage between the candidates.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee — the Congressional group that oversees laws regarding taxation — said in an email that the Times’ report “underscores the importance of the Ways and Means Committee’s ongoing lawsuit to access Mr. Trump’s tax returns and ensure the presidential audit program is functioning effectively, without improper influence.”
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal, a Democrat from Massachusetts, concluded his statement by saying, “Our case is very strong, and we will ultimately prevail.”