aside Has The FBI Already Obtained The President’s Tax Returns?

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I have become convinced that the FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller III already has possession of the republican President Donald Trump’s IRS tax returns. My reasoning (speculation only) is that it would be incumbent for the FBI to have access to the tax returns at an early stage in order to pursue a competent criminal investigation regarding the president’s financial dealings.

The FBI could have obtained the president’s tax returns in secret with an ex parte order from a federal judge, and because Mr. Mueller runs a tight ship, there would be no leaks regarding this.

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Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor in the Securities and Commodities Fraud Section of the United States Attorney’s Office in Chicago who has prosecuted federal obstruction of justice cases has been thinking along these same lines.

 Here’s the rest of the story…

Excerpts:

On August 15, 2017, Renato Mariotti of the Hill Penned the following report, “OPINION | Here’s why Mueller might already have Trump’s tax returns.”

“Based on my years of experience conducting complex white-collar investigations as a federal prosecutor, it suggests to me that Mueller has already obtained tax returns as part of his investigation.”

“As a starting point, the fact that Mueller obtained a search warrant indicates that he presented evidence to a federal judge, who concluded that there was probable cause — in other words, a good reason to believe — that a federal crime was committed and that evidence of that crime was in Manafort’s home.”

“That tells us that at least one aspect of Mueller’s investigation is far enough along that he has gathered enough evidence to prove that there is probable cause. Typically taking an aggressive, public action like sending the FBI to search a subject’s home is not an early step in an investigation. A prosecutor would first take steps that can be done covertly, without the subject knowing, to gather evidence that can serve as the basis for more aggressive actions like search warrants.” 

“One typical step that federal prosecutors take near the beginning of white-collar investigations is obtaining tax returns. I worked with federal prosecutors who obtained tax returns in every single white-collar investigation they worked on. I didn’t do that, but I obtained tax returns in most white-collar cases I investigated, particularly cases involving financial transactions.”

Editorial cartoon on Robert Mueller and Russia investigation

“Obtaining a subject’s tax returns can be a useful tool in almost any investigation. They tell you where the person invests their money, where their bank accounts are, where they have debts and who they’ve given money to. Often the information found in a tax return can tell a prosecutor which financial institutions and corporate entities to subpoena for records.”

“At times, obtaining tax returns can lead to evidence of tax offenses. If an individual receives money that is not reported in the tax return or is misrepresented, that can be charged as a separate federal crime. Hiding financial transactions also can be used as evidence that the subject knew that the underlying source of the money was illegal.”

“A federal prosecutor obtains tax returns by seeking an ex parte order from a federal judge. That means that the person who is being investigated doesn’t know that the tax returns are being sought or if the judge issues the order. Basically, it’s done in secret. That’s why tax returns are often sought in the early stage of an investigation, before the subject knows exactly what the prosecutor is looking at.”

Editorial cartoon on President Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin

“The statute permitting a prosecutor to obtain tax returns in a non-tax investigation requires a senior Justice Department official to sign off on obtaining a tax return, but Mueller has authority to do so because the statute permits “United States attorneys” to obtain tax returns and he has the power of a “United States attorney” pursuant to the special counsel regulations. In my former office, a person designated by the United States attorney routinely approved requests for tax returns.”

“In my former office, a person designated by the United States attorney routinely approved requests for tax returns.”

“The statute requires the prosecutor to show three things.”

“First, the prosecutor has to show “there is reasonable cause to believe” that a specific criminal act has been committed. That’s where the recent news of the Manafort search warrant comes in. We know that Mueller had enough evidence to establish “reasonable cause” that a crime was committed because he got a search warrant.”

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“Mueller would also have to establish that he could not “reasonably” obtain the tax return from another source, like the person’s accountant. Generally speaking, that is an easy thing for a prosecutor to prove. If they can’t prove that, it means they will just get the tax return elsewhere.”

“Finally, Mueller would have to establish that “there is reasonable cause to believe” the return “may be relevant” to his investigation. That is a very low bar, much lower than what Mueller had to establish to obtain a search warrant for Manafort’s home. To obtain the search warrant, Mueller had to establish that there was probable cause to believe there was specific evidence of a crime at a specific location — Manafort’s home.”

Related image“All that he has to show is that the tax return might help him in his investigation. That means that even the tax return of someone other than Manafort would be helpful to Mueller as he conduct his investigation. At this point, we don’t know what other evidence Mueller has and exactly whom he is focusing his investigation upon. But given that all he has to show is that the tax return “may be relevant” to his investigation, which has a very broad mandate, he could have tax return information for many individuals.”

“That brings us to the obvious question — does Mueller have the president’s tax returns? There is not enough public information for us to know. Public reports of subpoenas relating to Trump Organization financial records could suggest that Mueller may have sought tax return information of those business entities, if not the president himself. Given how broad the statute is, Mueller could seek the president’s tax returns even if he is not investigating the president.”

“Because Mueller has the authority to secretly obtain tax returns for any individual with a judge’s permission if he needs them for his investigation, I would be surprised if Mueller hadn’t obtained some tax returns by now. The question is just whose tax returns he has.”

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15 comments

  1. I’m not so sure that the President’s tax return would reveal any business dealings with the Russians, mainly b/c any competent accountant can hide these incriminating numbers by recruiting shell companies, convoluted subsidiaries, use of third party transactions or independent contractors. You don’t get to be a billionaire by playing by the rules. Trump is sneaky as they get, right up there with crooked Hillary.

    I tend you agree with your earlier assessment, Trump is hesitant to reveal his taxes b/c his reported income may be much lower than he bragged about during his campaign run.

    Time will tell, altho i would love to see his taxes anyway!

    • Dear !EarthUnited,

      The FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller has hired the best there is to discern relevant information from his tax returns. There are two things to consider. If he didn’t play by the rules, then it is possible that he did something of an illegal nature or it could prove motive. You are aware of my suspicions that he is not nearly as wealthy as he claims and that he is heavily in debt.

      Again, I suspect that the Mueller team is closing in on DDT and he knows it.

      Hugs, Gronda

    • Dear Roger,

      There is a reason that DDT has avoided sharing with the public, copies of his tax returns. DDT has to know by now that the FBI’s Special Counsel Mueller is in possession of these returns and this thought alone is enough to drive DDT, insane.

      Hugs, Gronda

      • A few talking points from pundits on the right: even if his tax returns show dealings with Russian businessmen/ companies, these facts may be inadmissible b/c all this happened before he took the office. I’m not so sure if this argument holds water, esp if his activities are decidedly criminal, but that’s up to SC Mueller to uncover. You’re right, the noose is tightening!

    • Dear Suzanne,

      The fact that there have been no leaks from the FBI’s Special Counsel Mueller’s investigative team has to be driving DDT nuts.

      Again, thanks a million for all of your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

  2. Gronda, the silence is deafening. The case is being made and the President knows it. I did see a CNN story of another email link between the Trump campaign and Putin. That will drum up more activity and press while Mueller does his work. Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      DDT has been acting unhinged because he knows D-Day is coming. There are too many reports indicating that Russia weighs heavily on his mind, and rightfully so. When the FBI presents its case, it will not be based on “fake news.”

      Hugs, Gronda

      • Gronda, one of the easiest ways to unhinge Trump is to be truthfully critical of him. He cannot handle criticism of any sort, but when it is true and backed up by data, that is truly his worst nightmare. Keith

  3. Dear Mz. Gronda,

    I will take a moment from my self imposed silence and deep diving into the depths of the dark side, and simply suggest that Mueller, after seeing how the political climate responded to the last man who attempted to go after this alleged president, has decided to use the paper cut method of forcing his removal from office. Think for a moment about how the family of the tRump has gone relatively quiet over the last several weeks, rest assured there is a reason, as will soon become known. The best was to attack this man is thru indirect targets, which are not quite so entrenched in/by his core supporter base. Does anyone actually think the Alt Right will stand up and defend a person of Jewish ancestry regardless of who he is married to? The next target will be the tRump’s family use of charity funds for a source of petty cash. This is how he will bring down and force the removal of the fake president, and it will happen right under his core supporters noses and they will not even see it coming… Just a little bit for you to reflect upon, there are people in Florida, Texas, New York, and California, that are in (or have been) high political positions that are about to find the swamp creatures are real and hungry…

    • Dear Crustyolmothman,

      I just pray that what you are saying is for real because DDT needs to be history soon.

      It is obvious that DDT is desperately trying to shore up his base to maintain his power base. He doesn’t care who is harmed in the process and/ or how much damage is done to this country. There has been his equating the neo-Nazis, White supremacists, White nationalists with those opposing them; his ordering the military to bar transgender individuals from serving; his threatening congress with a shut down if he doesn’t get the funding for his wall; his recent pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio; AND he is seriously thinking about ending DACA.

      Hugs, Gronda

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