- Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former attorney, addressed the explosive report in The New York Times about Trump’s financial affairs.
- “His biggest fear is … he will end up with a massive tax bill, fraud penalties, fines, and possibly even tax fraud,” Cohen told Yahoo News.
- Cohen has long claimed that Trump withheld his tax returns because they show his businesses are failing, and might contain evidence of tax fraud.
- Trump has called the NYT report “fake news” and the White House has dismissed Cohen as a “liar.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, says the president’s “biggest fear” is possible tax fraud charges and a massive tax bill.
Speaking to Yahoo News on Monday, Cohen addressed a New York Times report that pointed to massive losses in Trump’s businesses meant that he paid little or no tax for decades.
The paper also said he faces looming debts of up to $421 million.
“His biggest fear is … he will end up with a massive tax bill, fraud penalties, fines, and possibly even tax fraud,” said Cohen.
Cohen speculated that the revelations could be Trump’s unraveling.
“Donald Trump’s financial records are the Rosetta stone for understanding the depth of his corruption and crimes,” Cohen continued. No prosecutor has charged Trump with a crime.
“The more it is unraveled, the more he will unravel. It’s the reason he’s fought so hard to keep it under wraps.”
Cohen has long claimed that Trump’s reason for breaking with decades of precedent by refusing to release his tax returns was that they could contain evidence of financial crime.
The Times report details how Trump sought to write off $70,000 hair styling bills and property maintenance as business expenses, and paid his daughter, Ivanka Trump, large consulting fees. It also claims that if Trump loses a battle with the IRS over a tax rebate he could be forced to pay the federal government $100 million.
In 2019 Cohen was sentenced to jail for making hush money payments to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump, and for lying to congressional investigators about Trump’s business dealings in Russia before his election.
Cohen has made similar predictions about Trump’s tax affairs before the Times story was published.
Trump’s “biggest fear is that if his tax return is released, that there’s a whole slew of organizations of accountants and forensic accountants that will rip through it and he will end up with a massive tax bill, fraud penalties, fines and possibly even tax fraud,” Cohen said in August.
Cohen was speaking after his release from prison and the after the release of his memoir, “Disloyal,” in which he details his time working for Trump, whom he characterises as a “con man” and “cheat.”
The president has dismissed the entire New York Times report as “fake news.” Trump Organisation attorney Alan Garten claimed in a statement that “over the past decade, President Trump has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015.”
The Times notes that in the statement Garten appears to conflate federal income tax with other forms of personal taxes.
The White House dismissed Cohen as a liar and felon in a statement to Yahoo News.
“Michael Cohen is a disgraced liar who has no idea what he’s talking about,” a spokesman told the outlet.
Trump Organization spokesperson Kimberly Benza also dismissed Cohen as unreliable.
“If you are interested in reporting the truth we would suggest you find a source other than Michael Cohen,” Benza wrote.