The Washington Post Sunday
Is there anything Trump touches that isn’t corrupt?
President Trump would like to consider himself a modern-day King Midas, with the ability to turn anything he touches to gold. But it’s becoming clearer by the day that everything he touches is poisoned by corruption.
Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that federal prosecutors are looking into the spending of Trump’s inauguration committee. The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan is investigating both whether the committee misspent portions of the $107 million it raised, and whether donors “gave money in exchange for access to the incoming Trump administration, policy concessions or to influence official administration positions.”
Frankly, the only surprise would be if there hadn’t been any corrupt dealings in the inauguration. It has long been a source of suspicion (for those who care about this sort of thing), because the records are not public, and the sums are staggering.
At this point, it’s hard not to assume that if Trump is involved, there’s probably something corrupt happening. There are allegations and investigations around Trump’s business, Trump’s personal taxes, Trump’s campaign, Trump’s inauguration, Trump’s foundation and Trump’s administration.
Trump is always looking to get paid, and has never in his life seemed too concerned about what ethics or the law demanded, except insofar as it might require covering his tracks. Perhaps it would be better to ask not what Trump is involved in that’s corrupt, but what Trump is involved in that isn’t corrupt.
His tax returns are the key to answering those questions, which is why he will fight to keep them secret. When the House Ways and Means Committee demands them once Democrats take over in January, as it has a legal right to do, Trump will probably order the IRS not to comply with the law, and the whole matter will end up before the Supreme Court. There’s no telling whether the court’s five conservatives will save him, but before they decide, we’ll have plenty of time to debate it.
And when we have that debate, what will Republicans say? How will they argue that the American public, faced with the most comprehensively, blatantly, obviously corrupt president certainly of our lifetimes and perhaps in all of American history, has no right to see the documents that could reveal the full extent of his corruption? How will they claim afterward that they care in the least about integrity in government? How will they sleep at night?
If history is any guide, they’ll find a way. And who knows, maybe Trump will get away with all of it. But every new question we ask reveals that this president and this presidency are even more rotten than we realized. We’ve only begun to plumb the depths.