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Trumps tax returns

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  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Are you saying that it applies retroactively , then why can't they compel him to give up his other returns as he has only been a public servant for what 50 days, and those returns are also when he was a private citizen, something is not right with type of logic. On another note, I am lucky I understood Criminal Law and some Civil law as it pertained to my job in law enforcement, Constitutional Law, no way can I begin to understand it, and I have copies of the Fed. Papers, The Constitution, The Jefferson Letters along with Madison's letter's, and I still have difficulty reading them.
  • Independent
    Washington
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    Tonight Rachael Maddow dialed it back a bit on the tax returns, she didn't lead off it with as one of the top stories of day. She did talk about Trump taxes, but it was buried further into the show. I think she knows she'd being played by Trump and that there is extremely high probability Trump authorized the leak.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    johnnycee Wrote: Are you saying that it applies retroactively , then why can't they compel him to give up his other returns as he has only been a public servant for what 50 days, and those returns are also when he was a private citizen, something is not right with type of logic.

    It's not logic; it's the law.

    A President is a public figure and the courts have consistently ruled that privacy laws are far more lax when it comes to public figures. Courts have consistently ruled throughout our nations history that public figures, especially figures like Congresspeople, Senators, The Cabinet, top Executive Branch employees, and yes - even the President - don't have the same privacy rights as common citizens.

    The Courts have also consistently ruled that the press has every right to inform the citizenry about our public figures. Presidents from both political parties have unsuccessfully attempted to curtail that right, but the courts have sided with the press nearly 100 percent of the time.

    If the press didn't have that right then we would have never learned about the Watergate break in or the torture at Abu Ghraib prison. We would have never found out that Nixon bombed Cambodia or that Reagan secretly sold illegal arms to Iran and funneled the money they received to Contra rebels fighting in Nicaragua.

    The press absolutely has the Constitutional right to inform the public on what their President is doing regardless if you think it's important or not.

    johnnycee Wrote: On another note, I am lucky I understood Criminal Law and some Civil law as it pertained to my job in law enforcement, Constitutional Law, no way can I begin to understand it, and I have copies of the Fed. Papers, The Constitution, The Jefferson Letters along with Madison's letter's, and I still have difficulty reading them.

    The Federalist Papers and Jefferson's or Madison's letter's aren't law. And the Constitution is simply the guide when it comes to Constitutional law. The U.S. Code and Federal Court decisions are the real law of the land.

    With regards to the press and their right to publish things - New York Times Co. v. Sullivan set the current standard back in 1964. The court ruled 9-0 that the press has every right to publish articles on public figures so long as they don't cross the line into malice (also known as the malice standard). What this means is that public figures must be able to prove that a publisher or journalist knew a statement was false in order for it to be considered defamatory against the public figure.

    Not surprisingly, that is a nearly impossible bar to clear.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Citizens United vs FEC is another example. It evolved out of the court's review of "Hillary the Movie".

    It's complicated...

  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Okay so why don't they compel him to give up his tax returns, again I am no lawyer but I understand as a public figure to ensure integrity that there are certain things about their personal life that must be known, but as a private citizen, I don't know, unless when upon becoming a public figure you waive those rights about your past life and dealings being private.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    johnnycee Wrote: Okay so why don't they compel him to give up his tax returns, again I am no lawyer but I understand as a public figure to ensure integrity that there are certain things about their personal life that must be known, but as a private citizen, I don't know, unless when upon becoming a public figure you waive those rights about your past life and dealings being private.

    Because 26 U.S. Code ยง 6103 makes it illegal to leak tax returns without the express written permission of the taxpayer. That's why I have a sneaking suspicion that Donald either directly leaked these himself or instructed someone to do so. The person who received the leaked tax information even discussed that possibility on Rachel Maddow's show.

    The issue becomes moot when it comes to the press though. Supreme Court precedent kicks in once the press receives something, regardless of whether the person who leaked it to the press obtained it legally or not. President Obama found this out on numerous occasions when he was trying to figure out who was responsible for various leaks from his Administration. It's illegal to leak, but the press is not legally obligated to divulge their sources.

    In short - most people who have access to tax returns don't leak them because they can very well wind up in prison for it, but the free press has every legal right to report on leaked tax returns so long as they don't intentionally libel someone.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Schmidt Wrote: Citizens United vs FEC is another example. It evolved out of the court's review of "Hillary the Movie".

    It's complicated...

    Indeed it is.

    The law is definitely on the side of MSNBC, but I have a feeling that Donald or someone in his inner circle leaked the two pages. How many people other than Donald would have access to the "Client Copy" of his tax returns?

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Melania. It is a joint return, and she had to sign it.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    jaredsxtn Wrote:
    Schmidt Wrote: Citizens United vs FEC is another example. It evolved out of the court's review of "Hillary the Movie".

    It's complicated...

    Indeed it is.

    The law is definitely on the side of MSNBC, but I have a feeling that Donald or someone in his inner circle leaked the two pages. How many people other than Donald would have access to the "Client Copy" of his tax returns?

    So the Law says it's a crime if someone obtains the returns without the permission of the taxpayer but it's not a crime to publish them under the First Amendment, now it makes more sense that quite possibly someone close to family leaked it.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    I agree.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    The point that causes contention that is missed involves the right of the press. The immunity of the press entices breaking the law. An individual can illegally release damaging information to the press knowing that their identity will be kept secret by laws protecting the press. Is that a real benefit. A lot of figures have been punished resulting from leaks. Has that had positive results or caused more problems?
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Chet Ruminski Wrote: The point that causes contention that is missed involves the right of the press. The immunity of the press entices breaking the law. An individual can illegally release damaging information to the press knowing that their identity will be kept secret by laws protecting the press. Is that a real benefit. A lot of figures have been punished resulting from leaks. Has that had positive results or caused more problems?
    There will always be people who will push the envelope when it comes to the Constitution, especially the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th Amendments which seems to get the most attention, also when it serves a particular agenda.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Chet Ruminski Wrote: The point that causes contention that is missed involves the right of the press. The immunity of the press entices breaking the law. An individual can illegally release damaging information to the press knowing that their identity will be kept secret by laws protecting the press. Is that a real benefit.

    This anonymity helped tell the world about Nixon's crimes and exposed the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.

    While I was frustrated with the press running endless stories about John Podesta's stolen e-mails, I don't think that clamping down on the free press is the answer. That can quickly turn into a slippery slope.

    I always try to look at things from the other side. Many liberals hated that Hillary's e-mails were illegally hacked, but were begging for years of Donald's tax returns to be leaked. We can't have it both ways.

    I'd also suggest that the benefits far outweigh the potential pitfalls. Look at the dozens of authoritarian regimes throughout the world today. Press there are either thrown in prison or simply executed if they have the audacity to challenge the regime.

    Chet Ruminski Wrote: A lot of figures have been punished resulting from leaks. Has that had positive results or caused more problems?

    And most of these figures understood that they were breaking the law when they leaked the information they did. I'm in no way suggesting I agree with Chelsea Manning's sentence or Edward Snowden's political exile in Russia, but both of those people did know that they ran the risk of prosecution and imprisonment if they were caught.

  • Independent
    Washington
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    There is speculation that if there is some kind of money trail that leads back to the Trump campaign, the FBI could legally require Trump to hand over his tax returns. One Hypthical Example would be if Paul Manifort received several million $$$$ from a Russian bank, and that money ultimately touches a Trump account, suggesting that the Russians helped fund his campaign.

    Trump would refuse hand over his returns, making it a legal battle between Trump and the FBI.

    It will be interesting to see if Trump attempts to fire Comey, similar to how Nixon fired Archibald Cox during the Watergate investigation when it became obvious there was connection between Nixon and the Watergate breakin. If Comey's investigation leads to Trump's tax returns, its game over for Trump. He'd either resign, or attempt to do something crazy like Nixon did before being forced out of office.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Trump's tax returns are only part of the story. Many of his financial dealings might not show up in the returns. However, I agree that he is never going to release his tax returns because what they might reveal is that his wealth and income is not what he makes it out to be. He is the ultimate con artist, and pretends to be in the $10 billionaire class. Maybe that's at least one decimal point too many, and if you factor in liabilities and debt, maybe he is barely solvent depending entirely on the good graces of his Russian oligarch benefactors. What if Trump has conned them as well.

    He might be able to stiff workers at his casinos, but it's another thing to stiff his Russian paymasters. There is such a thing as the "Russian Mafia" who he might have to deal with.