To sue or not to sue: That is the question Donald Trump’s camp is faced with since the New York Times “illegally obtained” and his 1995 tax records.
Although lawsuits are nothing remotely new for Trump (whether as plaintiff or defendant), this time around, taking The Times to court could prove to be a bit tricky.
On October 1, The Times obtained Trump’s tax records, which suggested his $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax return could have “allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.” The Trump campaign quickly responded that the document was “illegally obtained.”
Shortly thereafter, a lawyer for Trump, Marc E. Kasowitz, wrote the Times saying the publication of the tax documents was illegal “because Mr. Trump has not authorized the disclosure of any of his tax returns,” and threatened “prompt initiation of appropriate legal action” in response.
In those letters to The Times, Trump’s lawyer neither confirmed nor denied that the pages from the returns that were mailed anonymously last month to reporter Susanne Craig, are genuine.
And therein lies the catch-22.
To press forward with a lawsuit claiming that the tax records The Times published were “illegally obtained,” Trump has to admit they’re authentic and, therefore, also admitting his nearly billion-dollar loss. That would undoubtedly give credence to allegations that he hasn’t been paying federal income taxes for almost two decades ordinary voters, even if he avoided them legally.
At a Harvard University panel last month, New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet pointed out that Trump’s “whole campaign is built on his success as a businessman and his wealth.” Although suing The Times might be an appropriate reaction to “illegally” obtaining Trump’s 1995 tax record, it could also result in the loss of credibility to his voters.
Here is Trump’s response to the potentially fatal attack on his campaign for president:
And here are but a few examples of what people have to say on social media:
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) October 2, 2016
— Mara McEwin (@maramcewin) October 2, 2016
— JS Mill XX #FamiliesBelongTogether (@Shy_Survivor) October 2, 2016
If Trump talking points say NYT tax story shows he’s a genius, why is Trump upset with the NYT? They merely revealed his genius! https://t.co/6teuQAsPJl
— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) October 2, 2016
— Jared Putnam (@jaredputnam) October 2, 2016