The Dates Fit Together

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May 7, 2018 8:52 a.m.

I want to follow up on a point I made over the weekend: the Trump Family’s decisive turn to paying cash as opposed to financing their projects with debt starting in 2006 isn’t just an odd and hard to explain in itself. The shift also dovetails almost perfectly with his shift to reliance on money from Russia and Ukraine. 2006 is also the year when Michael Cohen went to work for the President. It’s also the year the Trump Soho development project got underway.

There are still some important qualifiers to the story.

It represents an immense amount of reporting legwork. But as the Post reporters make clear, they are significantly dependent on a number of fortuitous sources of information or laws in specific jurisdictions (like the UK) which require more disclosure than others. Point being, there’s still a great deal we don’t know about what happened during this period. There is also at the least the possibility that the story told in this story is distorted by the incomplete range of evidence that is available. Again, this is not a criticism. It simply points out that the story told is inevitably incomplete because so much of the President’s finances remains secret.

This brings us back to a central point: the key information about the President’s wealth, potential conflicts of interest and potential crimes are remains largely hidden from public view because we don’t have any tax returns for the President or his network of private businesses. As much as we’ve become accustomed to and inured to this, it’s still crazy that we don’t.

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