Former President Donald Trump took a risky gamble with his recent remarks about the multi-felony indictment against his company and a top executive of the firm, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman told CNN Monday.
Trump’s playbook in dealing with accusations is: “I’m just going to repeat the charges out loud and say there’s nothing wrong with it, say that everybody does it,” said Haberman. “The difference here is an indictment has been filed.”
Haberman also said that Trump is still under investigation and he no longer has a shield against prosecution that he had as president.
“He’s taking a risky gamble right now,” she said.
Trump appeared to concede that a number of the points in the indictment were true during his rally in Sarasota, Florida on Saturday. But he indicated that not paying taxes on what he called “fringe” benefits was no big deal and that he’s not even certain it’s illegal.
According to the federal indictment filed last Thursday against the Trump Organization and chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, a company car, a Manhattan apartment and private school tuition were provided in lieu of a portion of Weisselberg’s salary as part of an allegedly fraudulent scheme in which the Trump Organization dodged payroll taxes and Weisselberg shirked income taxes.
What Trump did at the rally was acknowledge that he made these payments.
“Most lawyers would tell somebody connected to a case like this the less you say the better,” Haberman said. “That’s just never his style.”
As for being muddled about such a scheme being illegal, Trump declared in a Times interview in 2017 that he was an expert on taxes.
“I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A.,” he said.
Check out Haberman’s remarks (beginning at 2:18) in the video clip above.
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