What’s next from The New York Times’ Trump tax team?

Posted at 1:16 PM, Oct 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-08 08:37:06-04

Last week, reporters at The New York Times broke a major story that President Donald Trump helped his father “dodge” taxes, including “instances of outright fraud.”

They’re not done.

“We’ve got more leads and more string to pull. We’re just going to keep going on it,” investigative reporter Susanne Craig told CNN’s Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources” Sunday. “There’s a lot of information that we’ve been given.”

Craig, who shared a byline on the story with David Barstow and Russ Buettner, said there hopefully would be a part two.

According to the analysis by the Times, Trump helped “his parents dodge taxes” in the 1990s, including “instances of outright fraud” that allowed him to accumulate a fortune from them. Over his life, Trump has received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire.

Craig said the story “will have legs” and will take a long time for people to digest.

“It sets down a factual narrative of his life that is very much in contrast with the one that’s largely out there now,” she said, referring to the image of Trump as a self-made billionaire.

The reporters began by looking at the 2005 tax return that leaked out in March 2017. They started with some simple questions about how Trump made money that year.

Craig said there wasn’t a single moment when they realized they had a big story. She called the process a “real journey of discovery.”

“One thing kind of led to another, and then we started to reach out to sources and got an extraordinary amount of documents,” she said. She and her colleagues spent a year and a half going through the materials.

The study helped. Craig said the sources who spoke to the Times reporters could tell they knew what they were talking about.

“They felt that the story that Donald Trump had peddled that he was a self-made billionaire and that he only got a very little help from his father was just wrong. A lot of the people we talked to knew Fred Trump and knew that was just a bald-face lie.”

Craig also said the Times would “love” to release Trump’s tax returns if sources provide them. Trump has refused to release his tax returns.

After Sunday’s program, Craig tweeted out: “We are always in the market for more info on President Trump’s finances.” She reminded people that her mailing address is in her Twitter profile.

The tax investigation ran on the front page of The Times on Wednesday. Some media critics suggested that the reporting was somewhat overshadowed by the crush of the Brett Kavanaugh controversy in early October. But Craig said it was published when it was ready — and has already prompted followup probes by New York regulators.

The paper took the unusual step of reprinting the 13,000-word report on Sunday as well. The editor said he could not think of another time when they’ve reprinted a special report like that.

A 30-minute documentary about the reporting is also in the works. The same documentary crew that made “The Fourth Estate” for Showtime also tagged along on this investigation, and the resulting film, titled “The Family Business: Trump and Taxes,” will air on Sunday night.