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Category Archives: Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s Mother’s Day proclamation is straight out of The Handmaid’s Tale – Quartz

Posted: May 14, 2017 at 6:20 pm

As is customary for a sitting US president, Donald Trump proclaimed today Mothers Day. As is customary for Donald Trump, the proclamation is light on substance, and also treats mothers as people who belong first and foremost in the home.

Our deep appreciation for the strength and spirit of mothers and their resolve to do what is right for their children and families cannot be overstated. They are often the first to lend a hand during hard times and the first to celebrate our proudest victories. The boundless energy of our mothers inspires us to be people of action, people who strive relentlessly toward our goals. Above all, they teach us the power and joy of unconditional love.

Compare that to the Mothers Day proclamation Barack Obama issued in 2012, which contains a lengthy paragraph on the challenges faced daily by working moms in America, as well as his administrations efforts to improve their lot:

Mothers raise children under an array of circumstances, and many work long hours inside and outside the home balancing myriad demands. Mothers are leaders and trailblazers in every part of our societyfrom classrooms to boardrooms, at home and overseas, on the beat and on the bench. We celebrate the efforts of all our Nations mothers, and we recognize that when more households are relying on women as primary or co-breadwinners, the success of women in our economy is essential to the success of our families, our communities, and our country. That is why I created the White House Council on Women and Girls as one of my first acts in officeto ensure we integrate the needs of women and girls into every decision we make. I was proud to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which continues to help women secure equal pay for equal work, and my Administration continues to promote workplace flexibility so no mother has to choose between her job and her child. And because of the Affordable Care Act, women finally have more power to make choices about their health care, and they have expanded access to a wide variety of preventive services such as mammograms at no additional cost.

Or even this one from George W. Bush in 2001, which nods to the many women who are heads of their household:

Many American families are now headed solely by women, and these women shoulder enormous responsibilities. For the good of their families and our Nation, we must strive to provide support and assistance to those mothers, such as, opportunities for training and employment; early childhood education for their young ones; and safe, affordable, and high-quality childcare.

(It goes on to call for fathers to fulfill their financial and nurturing responsibilities, but points for trying.)

That Trump fails to celebrate mothers for anything other than their role in bearing and nurturing children is hardly surprising: His comments about women include, among other things, I think that putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing. Since ascending to the presidency, Trump has wrenched aid from organizations that provide family planning and basic womens health care, and championed a health care bill that promises to revert the US to a time when being a womanand especially a mother!was essentially a pre-existing condition.

The bill passed on May 4 by the US House of Representatives would waive protections that keep insurance companies from charging higher premiums to women who have been sexually assaulted, domestically abused, pregnant, infertile, or even had a C-section. The legislation has drawn comparisons to The Handmaids Tale, Margaret Atwoods dystopian-novel-turned-TV-series about a futuristic US that strips women of their rights and relegates them to reproductive slavery, all while preaching the value of child-bearing women to society.

Blessed be the fruit, they say in The Handmaids Tale. Whether by birth, adoption, or foster care, our Nations mothers give selflessly of themselves for the wellbeing of the lives and futures of others, says Trump in his Mothers Day proclamation. We humbly thank them for this greatest gift.

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See Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump Dismiss Nixon… – RollingStone.com

Posted: at 6:20 pm

Saturday Night Live mocked Donald Trump's interview with NBC's Lester Holt as Alec Baldwin's president stumbled his way through questions about James Comey's firing and comparisons to Richard Nixon.

Regarding the controversial firing of the FBI director, Trump accidentally negated the explanations doled out by his press secretaries during the NBC interview, a mistake that SNL seized on.

"I fired him because of Russia. I thought 'I don't like that. I should fire him,'" Baldwin's Trump said in the cold open. Michael Che's Holt then pointed out that is obstruction of justice and wondered aloud, "That's it? Did I get him? Is it all over?" before being informed "nothing matters anymore."

"That's right, nothing's gonna stop me because I have the Republicans in the palm of my hand," Baldwin's Trump said before ringing a bell, which summoned Paul Ryan holding a tray of two scoops of ice cream.

The president is then forced to fight off comparisons between his administration and Nixon's during Watergate. "I am nothing like Nixon because I am not a crook, plus I bet Nixon only got one scoop of ice cream for dessert, but I get two."

Holt pointed out another difference between Nixon and Trump: Nixon actually won the popular vote.

On SNL, Trump again (falsely) reiterates that he invented the economic term "priming the pump," although the definition has grossly changed: "It's when I tug on myself a half-hour before Melania comes in so she can find it easier, okay?"

After an especially WTF week at the White House, Holt asked Trump to pump the brakes on a presidency that's become a 24-7 reality show.

"Too bad because this is gonna run for eight years, okay? Even though it should've been canceled months ago, but don't worry: We have plenty of fun plot twists coming up," Trump told Holt. "A lot of your favorite characters will be coming back: Kim Jong Un, Carter Page, even that little psycho Steve Miller. Also, I don't want to give away too much but in an upcoming episode we will find out that Kellyanne was dead this whole time."

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See Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump Dismiss Nixon... - RollingStone.com

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey supports Donald Trump’s use of the social media platform – Los Angeles Times

Posted: at 6:20 pm

Silicon Valley is known for its politically progressive culture and distaste for the policies of President Trump. But Twitter executives are voicing their support for Trump's frequent use of their social media platform and have even encouraged the president to use Twitter more.

On Sunday's broadcast of the "Today" show on NBC, Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said in an interview that he thinks Trump's frequent use of Twitter serves a greater political good.

"I believe it's really important I hear directly from our leadership. And I believe its really important to hold them accountable," Dorsey said. "And I believe it's really important to have these conversations out in the open rather than have them behind closed doors."

He said Trump has "found a tool that's useful for him."

Dorsey said that the absence of platforms like Twitter would be bad for open political discourse. "It goes in the dark and I just don't think that's good for anyone," he said.

His remarks came shortly after Anthony Noto, Twitter's chief financial and operating officer, encouraged the White House to use the social media platform even more.

Noto was responding to a recent tweet Trump posted in which the president said he was considering eliminating regular White House press briefings.

"May I suggest questions submitted and answered via Twitter," Noto said on his Twitter account. "A perfect record and we distribute to the world not just those with a TV."

Last month, Twitter leaders suggested in an earnings conference call that the platform has experienced a bump in users thanks to the rise in political discourse during Trump's first weeks in office.

The company said it had 328 million active users after adding 9 million in the first quarter of the year.

There is "some evidence that we benefited from our new and resurrected users following more news and political accounts in [the first quarter], particularly in the U.S.," Noto said during the call.

"That's a really positive thing."

The San Francisco company reported its first year-over-year decline in quarterly revenue in the first quarter. But the stock has been on the upswing this month after Twitter announcing a deal to stream videos from Bloomberg Media around the clock as it pursues a strategy to make itself more of a video destination.

david.ng@latimes.com

@DavidNgLAT

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey supports Donald Trump's use of the social media platform - Los Angeles Times

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Who Is Mary Anne Trump? Donald Trump’s Immigrant Mother Came To America For A Better Life – Newsweek

Posted: at 6:20 pm

It may just be one of the most perfectand least celebratedsuccess stories of the American dream: a poor, 18-year-old immigrant moves to New York City, escaping economic hardship in her homeland of Scotland. She falls in love with the son of two German migrants, and the couple eventually builds a family together consisting of five healthy, happy children; one of whom will eventually become the president of the United States.

Sunday marks Donald Trumps first Mother's Day in the Oval Office.Mary Anne MacLeod Trump has been deceased since 2000, when she quietly passed away a year after her husband at the age of 88. However, if she were still alive, she likely would have reveled in the fact that her son became the leader of the free world.

Related: Will Donald Trump Be Impeached Or Removed From Office?

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"Looking back, I realize now that I got some of my sense of showmanship from my mother,"Trump wrote in The Art of the Deal. "She always had a flair for the dramatic and grand. She was a very traditional housewife, but she also had a sense of the world beyond her."

Donald Trump standing next to his sister Maryanne Trump Barry, during a break in proceedings of the Aberdeenshire Council inquiry into his plans for a golf resort, Aberdeen, northeast Scotland June 10, 2008. Reuters

Unlike former President Barack Obama, who often spoke of his fathers migration to Hawaii and his familys own American success story,Trump didnt speak much about his mother (if at all) throughout the 2016 presidential election. Despite the obvious ability his familyhistory had to pull on votersheartstrings across the country, the Republican candidate made no mention of Mary Anne Trump or even his Scottish roots on his campaign website. And yet, she seems to have had an enormous influence on the presidents life.

Trump has previously written about the love and respect he held for his mother and how that shaped his relationships with the women in his life. "Part of the problem Ive had with women has been in having to compare them to my incredible mother, Mary Trump,"he wrote in The Art of the Comeback. "My mother is smart as hell."

Two of his three wives, First Lady Melania Trump and Czech-American businesswoman Ivana Trump, were young immigrants who moved to the United States for employment. His second wife, Marla Maples, a TV actress, had a short-lived marriage with Trump which kicked off with an extravagant wedding reportedly attended by more than a thousand guests.

Despite numerous controversies over disturbing comments the president has made about women in the past, including a Hollywood Access tape from 2005 in which Trump said he fondles womens genitals without their expressed permission because hes "a star,"and several women claiming Trump sexually assaulted them over the years, hisdaughter Ivanka Trump and other female colleagues defend him as a supporter of women, mothers and families.

"I'm very proud of my father's advocacy, long before he came into the presidency, he championed this in the primaries. He's been a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive," the first daughter and assistant to the president said in April, focusing on womens issues, alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel.Ivanka Trumps comments were met with hisses and boos from the audience.

"I've certainly heard the criticism from the media and that's been perpetuated, but I know from personal experience,"Trump continued, "and I think the thousands of women who have worked with and for my father for decades when he was in the private sector are a testament to his belief and solid conviction in the potential of women and their ability to do the job as well as any man."

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Yet another reason Donald Trump is bad news: He’s utterly lacking in integrative complexity and that’s dangerous – Salon

Posted: at 6:20 pm

Last January, the former leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev,eerily declared that it looks like the world is preparing for war. In fact, many notable commentators agree with this dismal assessment, including some who see the Syrian civil war as the beginning of World War III.

Perhaps buttressing this view, President Donald Trump recently decided to arm the Syrian Kurds, a move that will likely inflame relations with the increasingly less democratic state of Turkey, which is a key ally in the fight against the Islamic State. Meanwhile, U.S.-Russian relations may be at an all-time low according to Trump himself, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has repeatedly affirmed that all options [are] on the table with respect to the rogue state of North Korea, an avid experimenter with nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

The world situation is rife with risk potential, and its immense complexity requires cool heads capable of careful reflection on both the ethical and strategic implications of different foreign policy options. Unfortunately, it would take the most ideologically blinded individual to maintain that Trump is the right guy for the job, given his ignominious record of outbursts, rejecting expertise and making demonstrably false statements.

But the situation is worse than this, and theres hard data to back it up. Consider a phenomenon identified by the psychologist Philip Tetlock called integrative complexity, which captures a sense of intellectual balance, nuance, and sophistication. Individuals with low integrative complexity preferentially use strong language that divides the world into black and white; words like absolutely, definitely and indisputably are common in low-complexity political speeches. Slightly higher complexity is associated with hedging terms like usually and almost, and still higher complexity involves acknowledging multiple points of viewas well as connections, tradeoffs, or compromises between these views. The very highest level of integrative complexity is marked by the use of abstract principles to elucidate and navigate the relationships between different perspectives, as when one adopts a particular view because it comports with Immanuel Kants categorical imperative, or the utilitarian maxim that one should always act so as to maximize pleasure and minimize suffering in the world.

What does integrative complexity have to do with Donald Trump? First, by any objective account, the complexity of Trumps speech is abominably low. Studies show that he literally talks at a fourth-grade level, despite his claim of having the best words. He is also known (indeed, famous) for relying heavily on simplistic adjectives like huge, best, beautiful and terrible, as well as making sweeping categorical assertions like I alone can defeat ISIS, There is nobody who understands the horror of nuclear more than me, Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it, Theres nobody bigger or better at the military than I am and Nobody in the history of this country has ever known so much about infrastructure as Donald Trump. Talk about a lack of balance, nuance and sophistication!

Second, low integrative complexity levels are associated with bad outcomes for individuals in mundane settings and while playing war games. As Steven Pinker puts it, People whose language is less integratively complex, on average, are more likely to react to frustration with violence and are more likely to go to war in war games. Even more alarming, Tetlock and his colleague Peter Suedfeld discovered that war tends to follow a decline in the integrative complexity of speeches given by political leaders. In other words, the lower the complexity, the higher the probability of military conflict. Given that the world is a giant propane tank ready to blow with a single spark, the fact that Trump is a simple-minded, know-nothing, solipsistic sociopath with the nuclear codes is extremely worrisome.

Even more, Pinker observes that there also exists a link between the IQ of American presidents and the total number of soldiers killed in conflict. That is to say, the lower a presidents IQ, the more Americans will likely end up dead on the battlefield. In Pinkers words:

A presidents IQ is negatively correlated with the number of battle deaths in wars involving the United States during his presidency. . . . One could say that for every presidential IQ point, 13,440 fewer people die in battle, though its more accurate to say that the three smartest postwar presidents, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton, kept the country out of destructive wars.

Notice that the three smartest presidents have all been Democrats, a fact that aligns with studies showing that liberals are on average more intelligent than conservatives. The point, though, is that despite Trumps claim to have one of the highest IQs, impartial observers can agree that Trumps intelligence level is abysmally low for a world leaderany world leader. He most certainly does not have an IQ of 156, as one viral meme claimed, nor is he especially known for his abstract reasoning skills, insight, thoughtfulness or deliberation on complex issues like health care (nobody knew!) and foreign policy. (Incidentally, abstract reasoning is the feature of human intelligence that Pinker links to the steady expansion of our circles of moral concern during the Long Peace, or the period from World War II to the present.)

So not only do we find ourselves in an unusually volatile moment in world history, but robust psychological research suggests that Trump will significantly inflate the probability of bloody conflict during his term in office. In addition to expert economists worrying that Trump will destroy the economy and the catastrophic consequences of failing to curb carbon dioxide emissions, we have all the ingredients needed for an unprecedentedly destructive administration.

This article draws from my forthcoming book Morality, Foresight, and Human Flourishing.

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Yet another reason Donald Trump is bad news: He's utterly lacking in integrative complexity and that's dangerous - Salon

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Today Marks Trump’s Twenty-First Visit to a Golf Club Since Becoming President – Vanity Fair

Posted: at 6:20 pm

By Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images.

According to reports, President Donald Trump spent his day Sunday on the course at his his Loudon County Trump National Golf Club in Washington, D.C. It marks the 21st outing to a golf course the president has taken since being sworn in.

Who couldnt blame Trump for seeking to blow off some steam on the fairway, like many a president before him? It was a very busy week in Trumpland, with the abrupt firing of F.B.I. director James Comey and its ensuing fallout. Some driving range therapy would do the man well. Trumps packed calendar even entered the shifting Comey narrative. White House press secretary Sean Spicer has said that Trumps robust schedule sometimes doesnt allow them to get his full and accurate thoughts on a subject before press conferences, which leads to confusion down the road. Trump even tweeted about abolishing the conferences altogether for this very reason:

As plenty of Twitter users noted, Trumps latest golf outing came shortly after Fox News aired an interview the president granted Jeanine Pirro in which he praised his own work ethic.

Heres the thing, the difference between me and another president, Trump said in the clip, which aired Saturday. Another president, I wont use names, but another president doesnt do what Im doing. They really dont. Im not saying that in a bragging way.

I know, Pirro responded.

Im not saying it any way, Trump said. Another president, Jeannine, will sit in the Oval Office and do practically nothing all day.

On Sunday, he was true to his word.

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Donald Trump la Mode – New York Times

Posted: at 6:20 pm


New York Times
Donald Trump la Mode
New York Times
You heard it here first: James Comey was fired because during his White House dinner with Donald Trump, when dessert arrived, he noticed that the president had two scoops of ice cream to his one, and dared to remark on it. Don't believe me? O.K., I did ...

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Is Donald Trump boosting the economy? Goldman finds mixed signals – MarketWatch

Posted: May 13, 2017 at 6:22 am

Ever since President Donald Trump took office, the main question on the minds of investors has been, will the market optimism his election inspired prove justified by economic activity, or did the rally simply set stocks up for a bigger fall? According to a Goldman Sachs analysis of corporate commentary, its a little of both.

Management teams were mixed in their assessment of whether a much-discussed rekindling of animal spirits since the election has led to a tangible increase in demand, the investment bank wrote in its quarterly Beige Book, which examines the earnings transcripts of companies in the S&P 500 for trends.

Most management teams recognized an improvement in sentiment and growth expectations, but many said they have not yet seen evidence that improving sentiment is translating into increased business activity.

See also: Trumps animal spirits are ahead of reality, says 17-time winner of forecasting contest

While the Trump Era has been accompanied by some positive economic data, including a labor market that continues to hover near full employment, other indicators have suggested economic activity remains tepid. First-quarter GDP came in at its slowest pace in three years.

Goldmans report examined transcripts from several companies conference calls, including those from firms that havent seen notable improvement despite the uptick in sentiment. One of these was American Express Co. AXP, -0.55% which said that as we look at our results, its hard for us to see anything thats suggestive of a material uptick in consumer confidence or consumer or commercial spending.

Certainly, we are as hopeful as anyone that there, in fact, is stronger economic growth to come in the future. I just cant say I see any evidence of it right now in our results, said Jeffrey Campbell, the companys chief financial officer, in an April 19 conference call.

Trumps election sparked an extended rally in stocks that lifted the S&P 500 SPX, -0.15% nearly 12% and took major indexes to repeated records. Those gains primarily came as investors bet that the economic policies Trump was expected to advocate forand presumably pass, given the Republican Party also controlled majorities in the House and Senatewould accelerate economic growth and boost corporate profits.

Initiatives to roll back regulations were particularly desired, but according to Goldman, corporate management teams see little progress on this front, while remaining optimistic.

Managers hoped for widespread deregulation and improved regulatory clarity, but uncertainty remains high, the Goldman report said. A large number of transcripts referenced management enthusiasm about a potential easing of regulatory burdens. However, only a few firms pointed to examples where such a change in ideology or enforcement is already taking place.

In January, Trump signed an executive order requiring the elimination of two rules for every new regulation created. However, investors continue to await more concrete details on key issues like tax reform, which has been delayed multiple times, and health care. While a health care reform bill passed the Houseafter an earlier attempt failedits prospects in the Senate were less clear.

One of the firms that was optimistic on the regulatory front was AT&T Inc. T, +0.13% where Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson told analysts on an April 26 conference call that there was clearly a return to a lighter touch pro-growth regulatory philosophy. He added, We think this is incredibly positive for our country and that it could catalyze the economic growth all of us have been looking for.

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Does Donald Trump want to be president? – Fox News

Posted: at 6:22 am

President Trumps eccentric behavior, especially in the past week, raises a serious question: Does he want to be president?

His Twitter threat against James Comey, whom he fired as director of the FBI, suggests he might have secretly recorded their conversations. Banning American news media from his Oval Office conversation with Russias foreign minister while allowing a TASS photographer to record the event may be payback against a press corps he despises. But it also fuels suspicions that he is indebted, somehow, to the Kremlin. Recently, he retweeted Rosie ODonnell, surely a first for a sitting president.

His undisciplined tweets give the public contradictory information, and a sense that he wants to run the country via social media instead of democratic debate.

The question is: to what end?

Most of Trumps executive orders there have been 36 so far are in keeping with his campaign promises, and they have been well-received by his political base those voters who felt they were being ignored by traditional politicians and wanted, as Trump put it, to drain the swamp of Washington.

Tighter immigration restrictions are popular with Americans who believe we have lost control of our borders. The process of repealing ObamaCare faces an uphill battle in the Senate, but that cannot be blamed on the president.

The military action against Syria after it attacked its own citizens with deadly nerve gas was honorable and justified. It also sent a message to rogue nations like North Korea to tread carefully.

The new trade deal with China that increases American exports and will lower our trade deficit is long overdue. The tax code needs reform and this administration is preparing just such an overhaul.

Why then does the president muddy the political waters by ranting against Democrats who oppose him, against news organizations that ask tough questions, against foreign leaders who pursue policies different from his? Why does he obsessively remind Americans that it was he, and not Hillary Clinton, who was elected president? Why must he spar with television personalities who dislike him?

Bellwether wonders whether Trump actually plans to stay in office for four years. Could he be considering a shorter stay in the White House, passing the baton to the widely respected Vice President Mike Pence? Might Trump feel that if and when he achieves his major goals tighter borders, lower taxes, more American-made goods he can declare victory and return to his successful career in the private sector?

The president, in his first four months in office, has accomplished much of which to be proud. Like Ronald Reagan, his optimism about Americas future is contagious. The stock market, which many predicted would tank if he were elected, has rebounded convincingly. Consumer confidence is up. Several major employers have announced that they will create thousands of jobs in America.

But his random tweets, his crude public use of insults and threats and his blatant disregard for decorum and the integrity of the office of president raise questions about his willingness to fulfill those duties for the long run.

Trump is slowly accomplishing his mission. If he plans to walk away from Washington once he feels he has fulfilled his promise to the American people, he should say so. Both his supporters and his growing list of opponents would probably respect his candor, and they might work together to give him what he wants, so he will go away.

John Moody is Executive Vice President, Executive Editor for Fox News. A former Rome bureau chief for Time magazine, he is the author of four books including "Pope John Paul II : Biography."

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Donald Trump’s tax law firm has ‘deep’ ties to Russia – ABC News

Posted: at 6:22 am

The lawyers who wrote a letter saying President Trump had no significant business ties to Russia work for a law firm that has extensive ties to Russia and received a Russia Law Firm of the Year award in 2016.

Sheri Dillon and William Nelson, tax partners at the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, which has served as tax counsel to Trump and the Trump Organization since 2005, wrote a letter in March released by the White House on Friday stating that a review of the last 10 years of Trumps tax returns do not reflect ties to Russia with a few exceptions.

In 2016, however, Chambers & Partners, a London-based legal research publication, named the firm Russia Law Firm of the Year at its annual awards dinner. The firm celebrated the prestigious honor in a press release on its website, noting that the award is the latest honor for the high-profile work performed by the lawyers in Morgan Lewis Moscow office.

According to the firms website, its Moscow office includes more than 40 lawyers and staff who are well known in the Russian market, and have a deep familiarity with the local legislation, practices, and key players. The firm boasts of being particularly adept at advising clients on sanction matters."

Following the release of the letter, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn) noted the firms connection to Russia, calling it unreal."

Asked if there could be other business ties between Trump and Russian partners, Sheri Dillon told ABC News that the letter speaks for itself.

As for the firms presence in Russia, a firm spokesperson said that no lawyers from Morgan Lewis have handling any business dealings for Mr. Trump in Russia.

Dillon has never been to Russia and does no work there, the spokesperson said.

Jack Blum, a Washington tax lawyer who is an expert on white-collar financial crime and international tax evasion, called the Dillon letter meaningless.

Blum told ABC News that real estate projects, in particular, can be structured with partners and subsidiaries so that it would be easy to shield the identity of all involved. Trumps tax returns would not show where all the money came from to finance these projects, he said.

Theres no substance to it. The letter is just another puff of smoke, Blum said. It has no meaning at all. Its just another way to not answer the question.

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