President Donald Trump played defense this week after a bombshell report by the New York Times showing that he paid only $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017. The president shot down the story, calling it fake and saying that he pays “millions” in taxes.
But Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen said that Trump is worried about the ramifications of the reporting. Cohen told Yahoo News, that Trump’s “biggest fear is … he will end up with a massive tax bill, fraud penalties, fines, and possibly even tax fraud.”
Later in the interview, Cohen added, “Donald Trump’s financial records are the Rosetta Stone for understanding the depth of his corruption and crimes.”
He continued, “The more it is unraveled, the more he will unravel. It’s the reason he’s fought so hard to keep it under wraps.” Cohen spent years as Trump’s attorney before he was charged for crimes that included campaign finance violations and sent to prison.
After the Times story broke, Trump told reporters, “Actually I pay tax and you will see that as soon as my tax returns, it’s under audit, they’ve been under audit for a long time.”
JUST IN: Trump says The New York Times story on his tax returns is "totally fake news."
The Times has obtained tax-return data for President Trump extending over more than two decades. It shows chronic losses and years of tax avoidance pic.twitter.com/Ni5El7S6gR
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) September 27, 2020
In a CNN interview in mid-September, Cohen was asked about the possibility of Trump’s taxes being released and said, “His biggest fear is that, if in fact that tax return is released, that there’s a whole slew of organizations, of accountants, and forensic accountants that will rip through it, and he will end up with a massive tax bill, fraud, penalties, fines, and possibly even, you know, tax fraud.”
Trump responded to the story on Twitter on Monday, writing, “I paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation [and] tax credits.”
“Also, if you look at the extraordinary assets owned by me, which the Fake News hasn’t, I am extremely under leveraged — I have very little debt compared to the value of assets,” he added.
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