Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may be unwittingly responsible for the New York Attorney General’s investigation into the Trump Organization.
In 2019, AOC grilled former Trump fixer Michael Cohen in testimony before the House Oversight Committee about Donald Trump’s suspect business dealings and disclosures mere weeks before Attorney General Letitia James opened her civil inquiry into Trump’s finances.
Unlike his predecessor and previous presidential candidates, Trump failed to turn over his tax returns in an act of transparency the American people have come to expect. In fact, he fought it tooth and nail— and, for the most part, he still is.
It was this path that led AOC to ask Cohen, “To your knowledge, did the president ever provide inflated assets to an insurance company?” “Yes,” Cohen replied.
When Ocasio-Cortez asked the convicted attorney if anyone else was aware of the former President’s practices, Cohen named Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg, and company executives Ron Lieberman and Matthew Calamari.
In August, Weisselberg changed his 2021 not guilty plea to guilty, according to NPR.
“Under an agreement made with prosecutors and detailed in court, Weisselberg will serve five months in prison and receive five years probation, in exchange for testifying at the trial of his former co-defendant and longtime employer, the Trump Organization. He agreed to pay $1.9 million in back taxes, interest, and penalties, to New York State and New York City,” NPR reported.
AOC asked Cohen, “Do you think we need to review his financial statements and tax returns in order to find them?” to which the Donald Trump critic replied, “Yes. And you’ll find it at Trump Org.
Weisselberg’s name came up at least two dozen times and the CFO’s signature appeared on one of the partial reimbursement checks paid to Cohen for his hush money payment to the porn star, Storm Daniels, Vox reported.
Cohen testified before the House Oversight Committee on February 27, 2019 – the New York Attorney General’s office opened its civil investigation in March.
In a 2018 report, The New York Times detailed Trump and his family’s tax schemes— schemes that Attorney General James says go back at least a decade, according to a $250 million civil suit filed against the former president and his three oldest children on Wednesday.
When pressed by Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Michael Cohen said that Trump kept his returns from being released because he “didn’t want an entire group of think thanks that are tax experts running through his tax return and start ripping it into pieces.”
According to Michael Cohen, Trump won't release his #TaxReturns because he's afraid the scrutiny of them will lead to him facing "taxable consequences and penalties."
My other committee, @WaysMeansCmte, has the power to obtain Trump's tax returns.
I think it's time we did so. pic.twitter.com/0NVDrQu5N4
— Rep. Jimmy Gomez (@RepJimmyGomez) February 27, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez pointed out an article by The Washington Post regarding the $127 million of taxpayer dollars used to build Trump Links golf course in at Ferry Point Park in the Bronx—a deal allowing the former president to keep nearly every dollar that flowed through the course.
Trump benefitted from the American people— and New Yorkers in particular —by not only by using public funds to pay for his private business but by “improperly devaluing his assets to avoid paying taxes.”
That was three years ago. Since then, Trump has lost his final appeal to shield his tax returns, having been ordered to turn them over to Congress, and James has filed a formal civil lawsuit naming Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, Ivanka, Don Jr., and Eric as defendants.
The suit seeks to ban the corrupt business family from holding leadership positions within their business and appoint a trustee to oversee all business dealings for the next 10 years.
Whether AOC knew it or not, she was opening the door that may lead to the best chance of seeing Trump held accountable for his multitude of crimes. Even the Bronx native knew to follow the money.
Watch Ocasio-Cortez question Cohen, below.
Reminder how @AOC questions helped set the stage that led to the financial fraud uncovered in Trump Org investigation. In 2019, @RepAOC used her questioning time to ask key follow-ups of figures in Trumpworld with $ records from @MichaelCohen212 testimony.pic.twitter.com/0fJHK2RS5u
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) September 21, 2022
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