Over the past couple of weeks there has been a lot of talk about Hillary Clinton’s emails. Yesterday, it was announced that the State Department was reviewing an additional 15,000 emails to determine if any are duplicates, which ones are private, and which ones if any are new work related emails.
Naturally, the Republican side has pounced on this announcement. Trump even went so far at to claim there should be a “special prosecutor” to investigate the Clinton Foundation. That comment has Steve Bannon all over it.
Trump has claimed that Hillary has been involved in a “pay for play” scheme when she was Secretary of State. The problem I am having buying into all of this “corruption” they claim Hillary Clinton is guilty of is her statements about the emails.
Every time emails appear, Clinton’s reaction is the same. “If they are work related emails, they should be released to the public.” Even when the FBI announced they would turn over the notes of her interview with them to Congress, she said they should also be released to the public.
Call me crazy, but that doesn’t sound like someone trying to hide some kind of corruption. It sounds like a woman who doesn’t think she has anything to hide. At no time during this witch hunt by the right has she said “no, keep everything secret” which is the standard line of those who are hiding something.
On the other hand, we have Donald Trump. He claims he “isn’t in anyone’s pockets”. Yet, he won’t release his tax returns like every single presidential candidate since the late 1960s. His reason is he can’t because he is under audit. That is a blatant lie. There is nothing keeping him from releasing his tax returns just because he is under audit. Richard Nixon was under audit when he released his returns in 1968.
Then there is his current campaign manager, Kerryanne Conway, who said earlier that he should release his tax returns. Now that she is the campaign manager, she is backtracking on the demand. She doesn’t think he should release his returns now. Why?
Why is this so important? Well, for one thing, Trump keeps saying that he isn’t in anyone’s pocket. But, how do we know that if he doesn’t release his tax returns. His biggest argument is that he did file the financial disclosure form. But, that is far less informative than tax returns.
The New York Times recently dug into his financial disclosure forms and even deeper than that. Since Trump’s fortune is tied to his business ventures, it is also important to know how that organization gets its money.
In April, Trump said that he has made a fortune off of debt and that he loves debt. As a matter of fact he said “I am the king of debt”. When you are in business, debt is part of doing business. When you are in the commercial real estate business, debt is huge.
In one line of his financial disclosure form Trump says he owes banks in excess of $50 million. That is an understatement at best. It turns out that debt is far greater than $50 million. The Times found that Trump’s company has at least $650 million in debt.
That alone isn’t so interesting. For example, the loan to build his Trump Tower was about $950 million. The interesting part is to whom he owes the money. The three biggest lenders for Trump’s debt are Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and the Bank of China.
There are various reasons for these institutions to be interesting and troublesome for a presidential candidate. Trump claims that Goldman Sachs “owns” Hillary Clinton because they paid her speaking fees in the $600,000 range. Yet he owes that same bank tens of millions of dollars. On the surface, it would appear he is more in “their pockets” than Clinton ever could be.
Deutsche Bank has run afoul of U.S. Banking laws in the past. They have paid several fines to the U.S. because of these “inappropriate” behaviors. So, Trump owes tens of millions of dollars to a foreign bank that does not have an “honest” reputation in this country.
The most troubling to me is the Bank of China. Trump says it “is the largest bank in China.” Which is true. It is also true that the Bank of China is owned by the Government of China. Trump owes over $100,000 million to the Bank of China.
So, how does Donald Trump plan to stop the Chinese from “manipulating” their currency through their bank if he owes them so much money? Wouldn’t that be difficult if he worked under the threat of his loans being called in because he is messing with Chinese economic policies?
We have also heard several times from Trump’s own children that Trump has received large amounts of money from Russian Oligarchs. There is a simple fact of life in Russia. You cannot become an oligarch in Russia if you are not somehow tied to Vladimir Putin.
We don’t know the reason for Trump receiving this money from Russia. Was it to purchase “condos” or “property” or was it to invest in the company. If it is the latter, that again poses risk to Donald Trump’s decision-making when it comes to policy pertaining to Russia.
The problem with all of this, if it isn’t apparent, is that Donald Trump talks a big game. However, if all of this is true, then he would be far more vulnerable to making decisions based on how much money he owes these entities than Hillary Clinton would be.
The only way we will know for sure if Donald Trump is potentially in “someone’s pocket” is by seeing his tax returns. The tax returns is the only place he must show where all of the money came from and how much he owes each entity.
If I was a conservative nut-job like Steve Bannon, I would be screaming this all proves just how corrupt Donald Trump really is and how it is proof that he will sell our nation down the drain to the Russians and the Chinese. But, I am not a conservative nut-job like Steve Bannon. So, instead, I would prefer Trump release his tax returns immediately so the “experts” can review them and tell us if he is potentially a in someone’s pocket.
Just like it is not illegal to have meetings with donors to a charity while in public office, it is not illegal to borrow money from foreign investors. The question arises when the person who has borrowed that money is running for President of the United States and will be making economic and other policy decision that will affect our relationships with the world.
One side in this campaign has been accused of all sorts of “pay for play” and other scandals without any proof. Yet, that side says to “release” everything to the public. The other side, making those accusations won’t release any information about his business practices or financial condition. He won’t release his tax returns.
It seems to me that the side being accused doesn’t have much to hide since they are willing to have everything released for transparency. The other side must be hiding something, or they would also release the information in the name of transparency.
That leaves only one question. Donald, what are you hiding from the American People?