Here is a fun thought. Whoever leaked Donald Trump’s 1996 taxes likely has more than just three pages from one year. If we learned anything from the Clinton emails*, we learned that a story in drips never, ever dies. It does not even need to have anything interesting in it. But Trump’s tax story is so, so interesting. What business genius loses a billion dollars in the middle of an economic expansion? America was printing money in the mid 90’s. After a revelation like this it sounds a lot more plausible that the guy is effectively broke and keeping up the lifestyle by piling on debt to Russian mobsters and a couple recklessly stupid soon to be ex-managers at Deutsche Bank.
Now it could be that Trump’s mole has just that one batch of papers. You and I have no way to know. But Trump has no way to know either. And I expect he or she has more for the simple reason that the 1996 return is such an obviously crucial year. The near-billion dollar loss apparently set Trump up to live income tax-free for up to two decades. From what I understand any later year’s return would make much more sense if you saw what happened in 1996. The leaked documents would be a very smart first step.
And christ on a cracker do the Trumplings not want to talk about this. Rich people laws confuse and disturb or ordinary voters. Imagine I put all my money on a bet that blows up in my face. It is not hard to explain what happens next: I lose all my money. In a month Ex-football players pull up in a truck and carry away my stuff. The rules are different for rich people. It is like you simply cannot lose as long as you can pay the right accountant. Everyone more or less knows that, but having it rubbed in your face like this is viscerally galling. Frank Luntz’s focus group was utterly appalled when Trump smugly let on that he doesn’t pay taxes. Someone in his camp persuaded him to walk it back literally the moment he finished shaking Lester Holt’s hand. They know it sucks and explaining won’t help.
When you have as much to hide as Trump does, not knowing whether another shoe is about to drop must be agony. I suppose he could release everything right now and at least kill the suspense. The problem is we only have a month left in the race. It would take longer than a month just to digest the things we find in there. Meanwhile some states have already started voting. There is really no choice but turtle up and hope that nothing else leaks.
(*) Bad acts? Not so much. If anyone is still holding their breath for proof of malfeasance, their loved ones should probably intervene.