Among the many consequences of Donald Trump losing the election to Joe Biden is the fact that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner will likely do everything they can to reenter polite society, which will likely slam the door in their faces. Oh, sure, as a source put it to my colleague Emily Jane Fox, they’ll “probably be welcomed by real estate types and that group of Upper East Side and Palm Beach families that read about themselves in Quest magazine but don’t matter,” but the people whose opinions the couple actually care about will presumably have lost their numbers. Also probably at the top of Javanka’s mind are the billboards circling Trump Tower reminding passersby about their role in the COVID-19 crisis, which they really, really don‘t appreciate. But seemingly the most pressing issue keeping the first daughter up at night is the prospect of her father going to prison, if her unusually huffy response to the news that he’s being investigated for tax fraud is any indication.
Commenting on a New York Times report that both Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance and New York state attorney general Letitia James have expanded their probes of Trump and his businesses to include suspicious tax write-offs on millions of dollars of consulting fees, some of which appear to have gone to his favorite child, Ivanka fumed on Twitter that this whole thing is apparently a witch hunt designed to take her extremely innocent father down:
She added: “This fishing expedition is very clearly part of a continued political vendetta.”
According to the Times, both Vance and James’s office issued subpoenas to the Trump Organization in recent weeks relating to the consulting fees, following an investigation by the paper that revealed the president paid little to no income tax in the last two decades. That report also showed that Trump was able to reduce his taxable income by deducting approximately $26 million in fees to “consultants” as business expenses between 2010 and 2018. While the consultants’ identities were not shown on tax records, some of the fees definitely seem like they were paid to Princess Purses, which might explain her testy reaction:
On a 2017 disclosure she filed when joining the White House as a presidential adviser, she reported receiving payments from a consulting company she co-owned, totaling $747,622, that exactly matched consulting fees claimed as tax deductions by the Trump Organization for hotel projects in Hawaii and Vancouver, British Columbia.
The subpoenas were focused on fees paid to the firm on her disclosures, TTT Consulting LLC, and represented just a portion of the $26 million, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The name of the firm appears to be a reference to Ms. Trump and other members of her family. Ms. Trump was an executive officer of the Trump companies that made the payments, meaning she appears to have been treated as a consultant while also working for the company. While companies can deduct professional fees, the Internal Revenue Service requires that consulting arrangements be market-based and reasonable, as well as “ordinary and necessary” to running a business.
The examination of fees apparently paid to his older daughter is likely to arouse even more vitriol from the outgoing president. And it raises questions about whether the payments were a tax-deductible way for him to compensate his children, or avoid gift taxes he might incur from transferring wealth to them, something Mr. Trump’s father had done through legally questionable schemes uncovered by the Times in 2018.
In a statement, Alan Garten, the general counsel for the Trump Organization, said, “this is just the latest fishing expedition in an ongoing attempt to harass the company,” adding, “Everything was done in strict compliance with applicable law and under the advice of counsel and tax experts. All applicable taxes were paid and no party received any undue benefit.”
While the latest investigation seems to have provoked the most ire in the first daughter, who’s probably stressed about all the packing she needs to do before shipping out of Washington, it’s not the first time she and her siblings have had their dealings probed by the New York attorney general’s office. Last year, as part of a settlement in a case that had led to the closing of President Trump’s sham charity, Ivanka and her brothers, who were board members of the organization, were ordered to receive “mandatory training” on the “duties of officers and directors of charities so that they cannot allow the illegal activity they oversaw at the Trump Foundation to take place again.” As a reminder, that illegal activity involved basically using the charity as a slush fund for Donald Trump’s personal, business, and political interests, which included spending $20,000 of the foundation’s money on a six-foot-tall oil painting of the real estate developer.
In related news, earlier this month the Times reported that Trump “expects to face intensifying scrutiny from prosecutors” after he leaves the White House and is “concerned not only about existing investigations in New York, but the potential for new federal probes as well, according to people who have spoken with him.” While Trump has apparently asked numerous times if he can pardon himself, such a move—which might not even be possible, short of faking sick and making Mike Pence president so he can do the honors—would obviously not protect him from state crimes, meaning there’s a nonzero chance Ivanka might be visiting him in prison.
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Americans are now being asked to fund Biden’s transition because Trump can’t admit he lost
Earlier this month we were introduced to a little known government employee, Emily Murphy. Murphy, you see, is the administrator of the General Services Administration, and the only reason we know about her is because she is currently refusing to sign a letter releasing millions of dollars and vital resources to Joe Biden’s transition team, because she, like many a spineless Republican, doesn’t want to burst the bubble Donald Trump has blown around himself wherein he might actually get a second term. And because Murphy is going along with this absurd situation, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are literally being forced to ask people to fund their transition, the one that, in normal times, would have been handled by our taxpayer dollars:
Meanwhile, Murphy would like people to know that she’s really stressed about this whole thing, according to The Washington Post:
Day after day, Murphy, a loyal Republican the president appointed three years ago, weighs her options but declines to say what fact or development she is waiting for. She has told agencies that the first step in the transfer of power, which would release millions of dollars and give Biden access to the government, may be weeks away…. If her boss continues to make unfounded claims that the election was stolen from him, Murphy could hold off until Congress counts the electoral votes Jan. 6.
A senior Trump administration official said Murphy is confiding to others that she feels extreme pressure, knowing that whatever decision she makes will bring her scrutiny, including the possibility that Trump could fire her if she crosses him. She has instructed others in the government to be ready for an “ascertainment” but has suggested it could be weeks away, this person said.
Murphy declined the Post’s request for comment, but when she does feel like talking it’d be great if she could explain her thinking re: risking national security and American lives to stay on Trump’s good side when she’s going to be out of job any way come January 20. At which point she may have a more difficult time securing a new gig if millions of people think she’s a terrible person who literally put the country at risk to appease Trump.
Donald Trump now has a legitimate excuse not to hug his son
Don Jr. isn’t the only offspring with a disgraced father to test positive for COVID-19 this week. On Friday, Rudy Giuliani’s son revealed he had contracted the virus, after attending his dad’s batshit-crazy press conference the day prior.
Millions of Americans think this network is the only one telling them the truth
Michigan GOP descends on D.C. as Trump scrambles to undo election (Politico)
Georgia certifies Biden’s win (Politico)
Biden Team Lacks Full U.S. Cybersecurity Support in Transition Fracas (Wall Street Journal)
U.S. infections reach grim new heights (Washington Post)
Pfizer and BioNTech apply for regulatory clearance of their coronavirus vaccine (Washington Post)
Five U.S. agencies have started telling employees they could get COVID vaccine shots in as little as 8 weeks (CNBC)
Illinois man, 81, uses antique walking stick to beat thieves (AP)
MSNBC’s “Map Daddy” Steve Kornacki named one of People’s sexiest men alive (NYP)
— Ivanka and Jared’s Post–White House Future Is an Island Alone
— Inside Don Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle’s Supposed RNC-Takeover Plot
— Why Mike Pompeo’s Postelection Trump Worship Carries Real Risks
— Ivanka Trump Was My Best Friend. Now She’s MAGA Royalty
— As Trump Clings to Power, His Allies Quietly Admit Defeat
— Elon Musk’s Totally Awful, Completely Bonkers, Most Excellent Year
— After Biden’s Victory, Can the Media Tune Out Trump’s 2020 Delusions?
— From the Archive: Donald Trump Was the Best Cable-News President in History
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