Federal judge says Trump is ‘wrong on the law’ in tax return fight, but Trump will appeal ruling

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Rep. Richard Neal, the committee chair, said that “this ruling is no surprise, the law is clearly on the Committee’s side. I am pleased that we’re now one step closer to being able to conduct more thorough oversight of the IRS’s mandatory presidential audit program.”

Trump also faces legal concerns that a change in the control of Congress won’t make go away. State and local prosecutors in New York continue looking at his longtime business practices there, which his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has alleged are fraudulent. Prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney’s office are looking at financial documents in which Trump characterized the value of his real estate business to potential lenders, The New York Times reports, with a key question being whether Trump exaggerated his assets to the point of fraud.

In a cover letter attached to the documents in 2011 and 2012, Trump’s accountants wrote, “Donald J. Trump is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of the financial statement in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.” The accountants also wrote that, in putting together the document, they had “become aware of departures from accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.” So a question is whether Trump’s own accountants’ discomfort with his falsehoods will save him from fraud charges now, since potential lenders had been warned that the documents weren’t entirely reliable.

Trump is exceedingly unlikely ever to go to prison. His supporters are likely to continue being fanatically loyal to him no matter what gets revealed in these investigations. The Republican Party remains deferential to him. Donald Trump, in other words, probably won’t face any kind of real justice. But as long as there’s a chance of even a little accountability, it’s worth it for investigators and prosecutors to keep looking into his business and tax payment practices. And it is heartening to watch him lose and lose again, including at the hands of his own judicial appointees.


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