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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Here are 9 things we still don’t know about Trump

Taxes, kids' clearances, bank loans, bone spurs, what is said on all those Trump-Putin calls and more
Image result for putin controls trump
What do they say on those calls (Voice of America)
At the end of January, President Donald Trump begins his fourth year in the Office of the Presidency. Despite promises to be the most transparent president in history, there’s still a hefty list of things he is hiding from the American people.

“We have been — I have been the most transparent president and administration in the history of our country by far,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn in April 2019.

“We just went through the Mueller witch hunt, where you had really 18 angry Democrats that hate President Trump. They hate him with a passion. They were contributors in many cases to Hillary Clinton. Hate him with a passion. How they picked this panel, I don’t know.”

If that claim was true, Americans would have answers about the many open questions about Trump’s life, businesses, finances, White House and more.

1. Where are Trumps taxes?

“If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely,” Trump said in May 2014. “And I would love to do that.”

But the following year, when he announced his candidacy, Trump suddenly decided that because he was under audit, he wouldn’t release them.

“Tax experts throughout the media agree that no sane person would give their tax returns during an audit. After the audit, no problem!” Trump tweet, 10:20 AM - Feb 27, 2016

Since the audit has ended, Trump has still refused.

2. How much did he benefit from his own tax cuts?

Trump claimed in 2017 that the new GOP tax law would “cost me a fortune,” as a wealthy taxpayer. However, the tax legislation seems to have benefited corporations and the wealthy. Since the president isn’t releasing his own taxes, it’s unknown how much he and his family members profited from his own legislation.

3. Why were Trump’s kids denied security clearances?

The president has hired Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump as key parts of his administration. At first, he lied about their security clearances, saying it wasn’t an issue.

I am not trying to get "top level security clearance" for my children. This was a typically false news story. Trump tweet, 6:28 AM - Nov 16, 2016

By 2019, it was revealed that Trump pressured former chief of staff John Kelly and former White House counsel Don McGahn to clear the two, over objections.

To this day, Americans have no idea why Ivanka and Kushner were denied the high level security clearances.

4. Who is paying for influence at Mar-a-Lago?

When Trump was elected, he doubled the dues for his exclusive Palm Beach club from $100,000 a year to $200,000. While Trump has been seen with many corporate influencers, Americans still don’t know who is paying to have access to Trump at the club.

Similar to the list of those visiting Mar-a-Lago or buying influence, the White House has refused to release any visitor logs of who is coming to meet with Trump and his aides.

5. How bad was the United States hacked in 2016?

Every U.S. and international intelligence agency (other than Russia) says that Russia heavily influenced the 2016 election. Not only were they running their own digital operations with fake news sites and fake social media accounts, but they also hacked the DNC and RNC, obtaining a treasure trove of documents, opposition research and more.

While some information was released by special counsel Robert Mueller, Americans still don’t know the full extent of the hack.

6. Who paid off Brett Kavanaugh’s debt before Trump appointed him?

Trump appointed Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court when former Justice Anthony Kennedy decided to step down in 2019. 

According to 2016 financial disclosures, Kavanaugh reported having between $60,000 and $200,000 in credit card debt and a loan. Each card had between $15,000 and $50,000 in debt, say the reports. 

His Thrift Savings Plan loan was between $15,000 and $50,000, according to The Washington Post. The White House claimed it was all from Washington Nationals tickets.

By the time Kavanaugh was officially nominated to the High Court, all of the debt had mysteriously vanished. Kavanaugh said that his “friends” paid him back for buying their baseball tickets.

“His disclosures don’t show any large financial gifts, outside income, or even a gambling windfall,” Mother Jones reported. It was only one of the sketchy financial questions that still follow Kavanaugh, and if Trump had a role in helping get the Justice’s debt off the books.

7. Does Trump really have bone spurs?

President Donald Trump was able to avoid the Vietnam War with five draft deferments. Four of them were from him attending college and one was for having bone spurs. The problem, however, is that bone spurs never disappear.

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE) has demanded to see the X-rays of the president’s feet to prove whether he lied to get out of serving in the military.

8. What other read-outs of calls with international leaders are being hidden on the White House’s secret system?

When Trump demanded the release of the summary of his July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, it was discovered that it wasn’t the only call being hidden on a secret NSA system. 

After Trump claimed a conversation with a Mexican official said one thing while the Mexican officials said another, someone leaked the transcript of the call, proving Trump was lying. After that, Trump began hiding all of the read-outs of his calls on the secret server, which monitors who looks at them, so he could prevent further leaks.

Trump may have released the Zelensky call, but it’s still unknown what else is on the secret server and what he may have said to other leaders.

9. What really happened between Trump and Russia?

While special counsel Robert Mueller released his report about there are still many things that are unknown. Trump and his family refused to testify to Mueller’s investigators about their involvement. Mueller implied that several of Trump’s actions met the standard for obstruction of justice, but given the Justice Department rules kept him from indicting a president, he passed the information to Congress.

The wide-ranging conspiracy of silence extends not just to Trump but to the others who refused to cooperate with Mueller.

Another piece of the Russia question is what Trump discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin in their hours-long meeting in 2018 during a G20 summit in Helsinki. 

As of Oct. 2019, Trump and Putin have had more than 16 conversations, and Americans have no idea what they discussed other than what the White House claimed. In some cases, Russia released a different account of the conversations.

The two men have met in person five times, however, and voters have no idea what was discussed then either.

Trump has promised to be transparent and even attacked former President Barack Obama for not being transparent enough.

“Why is @BarackObama spending millions to try and hide his records? He is the least transparent President--ever--and he ran on transparency.” Trump tweet, 12:31 PM - Jun 6, 2012

If such a claim were true, Americans would have answers to the many questions above.