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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The Family Business: Trump and Taxes | Full Documentary (TV14)

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dramatic music

[brakes screech in distance]

[horn honks]

[Maddow] Breaking news.

Donald Trump's tax returns have surfaced,

at least a portion of Donald Trump's 2005 tax return.

He made more than $150 million in that year.

Mazel tov.

This describes the types of income,

-but not the sources. -Okay.

It's particularly relevant for us to say,

"Where did you get the money?"


[Craig] I've been covering financial services

for The New York Times for seven years.

[dog whines]

All of my 2016 was writing, you know, various stories

on Donald Trump and his finances.

Last night, David K. Johnson

went on The Rachel Maddow Show.

He had pages of Donald Trump's

2005 tax returns.

There's not much there,

but one thing that really stuck out to us

was just how big his income number was for that year.

It was over $150 million.

That just didn't jive with anything we knew

about that time in his life.

And that, that began this huge odyssey that we've been on.


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[horn honks]

We came in and got a group together.

It included David and Russ.

The numbers seemed

so outrageous and perplexing. Um...

I'm wrestling with that, as well,

but I think that's our main enemy right now.

Russ, he's a great reporter who also has got

just a great way with data.

[Craig] ...all the disparate pieces of it.

David just has an incredible gift to source people

and to get people to talk. -All right.

I think we should just dig backwards and...

-See where we go. -Yeah.

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[Baquet] There are a handful of large questions

about Donald Trump, you know,

whether it's was there any collusion with the Russians,

what are his attitudes, his private attitudes,

towards women and others?

One of the biggest is, how wealthy is he,

and how did he acquire his wealth?

He chose not to make his finances

as public as his predecessors.

He chose not to make his tax returns public.

I mean, presidents usually make years of tax returns public.

It just made us all feel uncomfortable as journalists

that a president of the United States

would serve with us knowing so little about his finances.

I mean, he became president,

I think, in large part through a very simple idea--

Donald Trump, self-made billionaire.

And so, we're trying

to peel back some really big layers

on a very important figure in the history of our country.

[keyboard clacking softly]

[Craig] We started looking at the 2005 tax return

and trying to understand what was there

just from the three pages that we had.

You know, people are talking about where his money

is coming from, and everybody's like,

"Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia."

First of all, we just wanted to focus

on money from his father.

People, I don't think, are just aware

of how much money came to him.


[Donahue] You're a star, Mr. Trump,

and you're a businessman.

I have here a collection of some of your, uh, quotes.

"Trump-- There is no one my age

who has accomplished more.

Everyone can't be the best."

I'll tell you this. You know, I kind of,

after reading your book, I kind of like

your father better than you.

-[Donald] He's a nice guy. -[laughter]

You have good taste. He's a good guy.

This is Fred Trump.

He built middle-income housing in Queens and Brooklyn.

-Mm-hmm. -And little Donald

would go along and rummage around the construction sites.

I must say, there's,

there is some personal information in here,

-not a lot, but-- -[Donald] I like to, you know,

leave it out as much as possible.

-That's what you get, right? -Well, that's getting more

and more difficult when you're--

If you're gonna be worth a billion dollars,

you got to start answering some questions here.

[Craig] As we started to dig in

to what the possible sources of revenue were,

that number, that huge number

that we saw on Donald Trump's taxes,

we realized that a big portion of that was likely

proceeds from the sale of his father's empire.

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Fred Trump died in 1999.

And in 2004, Donald Trump and his siblings

sold almost all of Fred Trump's empire.

The only story that had been done on it

had the price for 600 and some million dollars.

That was sort of the first inkling

of just how much Donald Trump got from his father,

and the incredible part about that story was,

you know, everything Donald Trump seems to do

gets so much publicity.

You know, he's launching, like, lines of vodka

and Trump steaks and Trump water,

but the family did not want attention drawn to that sale.

[indistinct conversations]

[Craig] We spent months going through public records,

just trying to figure out what was transferred

and what the price was.

Where's the mortgage document? Just so we've got it noted.

It's in, um, it's on the drive, yeah, under Property Records,

and then there's a separate folder for 220.

[keyboard clacking]

[Craig] And we started to realize not only

was there that one big payday,

there was dozens of streams of revenue from Fred to Donald.

[Maryanne] Good afternoon.

Good afternoon, members of the committee.

It is my privilege to appear before you.

[Buettner] Donald Trump's sister, Maryanne Barry Trump,

was a federal judge for a number of years.

Like all federal judges, each year that she was a judge,

she had to file a financial disclosure form.

That lists, like, every asset that she controls.

So I took those 2,200 pages

of financial disclosure forms she filed

and then made this chart.

She listed all the trust funds by name.

She named the actual business entities

that she was getting revenue from.

Those were her father's businesses,

so that was a great aid to us.

All the siblings got that same amount.

So what we saw for her was a good proxy for Donald Trump.

But it's clear he got more than a couple hundred million dollars

from his father just in one swoop

and then millions of dollars every year,

it looks like, for decades prior to that.

[Barstow] Donald Trump, one of his

sort of go-to sound bites is, "I started with

a million-dollar loan from my father,

and I had to pay him back with interest."

It has not been easy for me.

And, you know, I started off in Brooklyn.

My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.

I came in to Manhattan, and I had to pay him back,

and I had to pay him back with interest.

A million dollars isn't very much

compared to what I've built.

In his kind of version of how he got rich,

he parlayed this million-dollar loan from his father

into a $10 billion fortune.

And our work has found that he's way off.

We've identified more than 200 separate streams of revenue

that was flowing from Fred Trump to Donald Trump.

Their dad turned his kids into his bankers,

taking loans from them.

He was paying them interest,

so we started to unwind all these things,

and it was-- it was nuts.

-All right, so, where are we? -So where are we?

The bottom line-- in today's dollars,

we've tracked $402 million... -[Purdy] Mm-hmm.

...from Fred to Donald.

The flow and transfer of wealth

was constant and substantial

throughout Donald's life.

Donald was making $215,000 a year by the age of 3.

-[whistles] -Okay.

[Barstow] It's actually so difficult to imagine

how he would have gotten the wealth

that he has today without, you know,

-if you take this away. -Right. Right.

If you take the element of risk out of entrepreneurialship,

it's not really entrepreneurial anymore, right?

I mean, he never had any real risk of losing everything.

[Buettner] You know, every business of his that I've been

able to get a look at doesn't actually make money.

But when you realize that he doesn't need to make money,

he needs to have his name continue to be out there

to look like he's

a highly successful person who's everywhere.

[reporter] Real-estate developer Donald Trump

opened his new casino today.

[Letterman] Ladies and gentlemen,

the author of The Art of the Deal," Donald Trump.

Somehow, it's just worked out well for me.

[birds chirping]

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[Craig] We were moving forward to publishing a story,

but we all knew we needed a fact-checking

to stress-test everything we had.

I went out and got the full will of Fred Trump.

We found these buildings

that Fred transferred to his children.

And that's when we started to realize

that there was all these other things going on.

[train rails screeching]

[Baquet] Can we talk? I want to talk.

[Barstow] Our story has morphed.

-Since the last time we talked? -Yes.

-Okay. -And it's this

basic question of

how they valued their dad's estate.

And here's, like, the remarkable,

sort of bottom line thing that we've discovered.

They put a value

of $13.6 million

on a whole bunch of apartment buildings

that, in fact, we believe were worth $244 million.


[Susanne chuckles]

What that means is, as opposed

to the $9 million in estate taxes,

they would've paid $173 million.


This is Tysens Park Apartments,

which were sold for $46 million.

Look what happens when they're asked to put a value.

-No value. -Right.

-Literally? -Literally, no value.

They didn't fill in the line.

No, they didn't fill in the line.

And it's not like a white-out situation here.

-Yeah, yeah. -It's like they just

didn't fill in a line.

We have no explanation for that. It's really bizarre.

Who was the executor of his estate?

The executor of Fred Trump's estate

are the Trump kids, so the President,

Robert, Maryanne.

Like, these numbers are so crazy.

-Right. -[Barstow] We're just trying--

I mean, it's almost like, what are we missing?

-[clears throat] -What don't we understand?

-Is there some-- -[Purdy] I mean, we've already

gone to experts. -[Barstow] Yes. We have.

And what do, and what do experts say?

They said that it's major red flags,

that they can't explain it and it's very troubling.

We've had a lot of really strong language

that this is, like, not-- it doesn't add up.


[Purdy] This is a big story.

It's a really big story on a big subject.

And it will, I think, reshape the portrait

of the President of the United States.

I mean, we have information that no one else has.

That's our business, right, I mean,

so we want people to know it.

And the sooner the better.

[cheers and applause]

[Donald] We're here today to announce historic tax relief

to the American people.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,

and I guess it's probably something

I can say that I'm very good at.

I've been waiting for this for a long time.

[reporter] While the Senate is inching

closer to passing tax reform,

voting yesterday to begin debate,

but this isn't a done deal yet.

Republicans are now scrambling to negotiate changes,

hoping to get enough votes to finally get this done.

This is a delicate and messy process.

Some lawmakers are even complaining they don't know

what version they're debating right now.

[Baquet] He's actually sort of flirting

with an examination of his tax history

and how they use the tax laws 'cause of things

he's said in the last couple of weeks.

So if there's a way to accelerate the completion,

I think it would be-- 'cause my fear is

you're gonna miss an amazing news window

to write about Donald Trump and his taxes.

It might even influence the debate over tax reform,

if people got a sense of what--

you know, how one wealthy family, over generations,

were able to use America's tax laws

to avoid paying taxes, enrich themselves.

That's gonna be such a powerful moment in the debate.

I hear what you're saying, and I totally get it.

We're all, like--

Been around, we've been in the rodeo long enough

to know, like, how this works.

But I would say actually

the tax story is this different beast.

We've been piecing together from the public records

and the other document that we already have in hand,

the basic notion, and we're seeing things

that are clearly over the line in terms of legality,

things that look like just fraudulent behavior.

We need to talk to more people.

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We identified a list of people that we felt,

be they accountants or, you know, relatives

or people at the IRS, that could have these documents.

And the editors were looking at us, going,

"That sounds just crazy. It's not gonna work."

And it was kind of like,

"There's no way it's gonna help."

These stories can be frustrating.

There's no question that this has gone on for a long time.

But we stake the reputation of the paper, ourselves,

and the rest of the media on big stories.

We just want to get it right.

[Craig] If you could just walk me through,

and we can talk a little bit more about the specifics

of the actual case we're dealing with, right?

No, no, completely-- no, no, completely on background, yeah.

[Craig] These were approaches that took

weeks of work to prepare for and second approaches

that took weeks of work to prepare for.

We started knocking on doors.

Nobody invited us in.

And it was-- there was really, really dark moments.

[Buettner] You know, it feels like you're kind of

casting around in the dark.

You see your time going in blocks of months,

and, like, are we coming to something

that's important enough to warrant that?

[Barstow] You know, in stories like this,

you're always hoping for these kind of magic moments

where a door that you've been knocking on

and hasn't been opening suddenly opens.

You know, and that's, that's precisely

what happened in this case.

[Craig] It was just this Alice in Wonderland moment

where we got these documents.

We didn't want anybody to see this stuff.

So we had them set up a room,

and only the three of us have access to the room.

[Barstow] We were incredibly fortunate

to find sources who were able to give us access

to over 200 different tax returns.

...where that file is.

[Barstow] There are tax returns of Trump companies,

Trump partnerships, Trump trusts.

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[Craig] Fred Trump's estate tax return

is in the building right now.

It's incredible that we have it, and that opened a door

to understanding a huge transfer of wealth that happened

and gave us so much more information

to be able to understand the tax games that were played.

And then once you sort of pull the string,

the whole thing unraveled.

So, by the 1990s,

Fred Trump is in his 80s, he's getting older.

He had very little debt, and he had so much cash.

And so this was a problem for Donald Trump and his siblings

because if he dies with his cash,

they're gonna have to pay 55 percent gift tax on it.

They're gonna lose more than half of it.


In August 1992, they set up a company called All County.

[Barstow] All County was this company

owned by the Trump children,

including Donald, and the stated purpose

was it was gonna be like this central purchasing agent

for all the stuff that Fred needed to do

to fix up his buildings.

So if they needed a new boiler, right,

All County would go out,

take advantage of the economies of scale.

Fred Trump would benefit because he'd get a lower price.

But then we realized that All County,

owned by the Trump children,

was paying for boilers,

and then they were charging Fred,

for the very same boilers, this big mark-up.

They were padding the invoices.

They would buy a boiler for $10,000,

and then they'd turn around and they'd sell it to Fred

for $15,000.

And that's when you start realizing, "Oh, wait a minute.

They're using All County

to disguise cash gifts from Fred Trump

as if they're legitimate business transactions."

[Craig] All County had no employees.

It had five shareholders--

Donald Trump and his siblings and a nephew.

The five of them would just

split the mark-up on everything,

and this went on for years.

It was bringing in a lot of money,

like millions and millions of dollars.

This is a fascinating vehicle

that was kind of concocted by the Trumps

in order to suck millions of dollars of cash

out of Fred Trump's empire and into their pockets

in a way that evaded the 55 percent gift tax.

[birds crying]

[Craig] The other really just amazing part about All County

is that it had just an insidious, corrosive downside

for anybody living in those buildings

because they used bogus receipts

to raise the rent on their tenants,

who are, you know, low-income class New Yorkers.

It's just unbelievable.

We've run the sort of the facts that we've uncovered

past some of the top tax experts in the country,

and every single one of them has said, "Wow, this is tax fraud."

[Craig] It is illegal. You have, if you have a business,

there has to be some economic purpose to it

other than tax avoidance or tax evasion.

[Craig] To have the opportunity to rewrite essentially

50 or 60 years of a person's life

who's now sitting in the White House is incredible.

Like, his financial history has been wrong,

we understand now, since forever.

Nobody has figured this out and put these pieces together.

My whole life, I've been covering financial journalism,

following the money trail.

Money, power, and greed--

what more could a reporter want?

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Since early September, we've been reaching out

to Donald Trump and his family, hoping

that they would engage us,

and initially, we got no comment.

[indistinct conversations]

And then, in the last few days,

a lawyer for the President reached out,

not a lawyer who knows a lot about the Trump businesses

and Fred Trump's empire, but rather a lawyer

who is known for sending frightening letters.

He sent us a short note back just saying

that we should be on notice, that they will sue us

for defamation if we proceed with publication.


-[cellphone rings] -[Barstow] What time did

you guys wake up this morning?

I didn't really sleep. [laughs]

[Buettner] Largely due to the quality

of the documentation we have,

we are gonna proceed with confidence.

But whether people are gonna care,

you never know kind of how that's going to go

until you hit the button.

-[Buettner] Okay. -Let's do it.

Rock and roll.

[exhales sharply]


Andy, are they gonna hit "publish" on this asset?

I feel like I'm getting married or something here.

-[laughter] -This is so...

Or indicted. I'm not sure which.

[Craig] Is this where the FBI come in?

Give it time.

All right. It's all queued up.

[indistinct conversations]

-Which one? -The bottom.


[mouse button clicks]

-[Craig] Wow. -[man] All right. That's up.

-[Craig] It's live.

-[applause] -Okay.

upbeat music

[indistinct conversations]

[reporter] Here is breaking news.

The New York Times has just published

what appears to be an exhaustive article

on President Trump.

[reporter #2] It paints a detailed picture of how

the President used potentially illegal tax schemes...

[reporter #3] A report that dramatically challenges

Trump's carefully crafted image as a self-made billionaire.

-[woman] Sue, congrats. -Thanks.

Very exciting. Look at that traffic.

[Baquet] So, this is just from Twitter.


[cellphone rings]

[phones ring, chime]


[Maddow] The New York Times published

a freaking 40-page-long, 13,000-word,

mind-bending exposé about the President.

Joining us now is Susanne Craig.

Congratulations on this.

-Thank you. -[Craig] Well, it's interesting.

Our investigation started the night

that you had the tax returns from 2005 on your show

and then just got deeper and deeper and deeper into it.

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[Craig] It's fraudulent what they did.

It was systematic over decades.

I think that's an important thing to know

about the President of the United States.

This story, there's a lot of answers in it.

I don't think all the answers are there.

You have to keep going.


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The Description of The Family Business: Trump and Taxes | Full Documentary (TV14)