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Trump lawyer rejects New York Times report accusing president, family business of tax schemes

October 2, 2018

President Trump’s lawyer refuted allegations published by The New York Times Tuesday that Mr. Trump’s family business empire allegedly was built with the help of fraudulent tax schemes.

“There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone,” lawyer Charles J. Harder said in a statement to the newspaper. “The facts upon which The Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate.”

The Times reported in a lengthy investigative piece that Mr. Trump, despite oft-repeated claims that he is a self-made man, received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from the real-estate empire of his father, Fred Trump. The 14,000-word report says much of this money “came to Mr. Trump through dubious tax schemes he participated in during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud.”

“In all, the president’s parents transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million under the 55 percent tax rate on gifts and inheritances that was in place at the time. Helped by a variety of tax dodges, the Trumps paid $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, tax returns show,” The Times reported.

The article said the president declined requests for comment.

Mr. Harder told the newspaper, “President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters. The affairs were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves and therefore relied entirely upon the aforementioned licensed professionals to ensure full compliance with the law.”

At a convention of electrical contractors in Philadelphia Tuesday, the president spoke about the benefits of the GOP tax cuts, including ending the estate tax for small business owners.

“From now on, small business owners will be spared from the deeply unfair estate tax, also known as the death tax,” the president said.

To laughter, the president joked, “Now if you don’t love your kids, it doesn’t help you. If your kids don’t treat you good, don’t leave it to them. Give it to somebody else. But if you love your kids, which probably 82 percent of you do you can now leave your small business or your beautiful little farm, or whatever it is that you’re so proud of, and you leave it to your kids, and they don’t have to go out to the bank and borrow to pay the tax and end up losing it in a foreclosure. It’s such a big thing.”

The president also touted a new provision allowing businesses to deduct capital expenses fully in the same year they’re taken.

“Investments are soaring because you can now immediately deduct every penny spent on new equipment,” Mr. Trump said. “Nobody thought that was ever going to happen. In fact, I should leave and go back into business maybe. If you would have told me that when I was a private businessman, maybe I wouldn’t have run for president.”

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