During the run-up to the election and up until the inauguration, Donald Trump made repeated promises to release his tax returns. However, like all presidents before him, after he was sworn in, he quickly began breaking promises and releasing his tax return was at the top of the list. This broken promise has spurred an epic response by WikiLeaks who is now promising to release them.
Kellyanne Conway, a senior counselor to the president, said on Sunday that Trump will break a 40-year tradition and not show America the extent of his financial interests and obligation.
“The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns,” Conway said. “We litigated this all through the election.”
Conway went on to assert that most Americans don't care about Trump's tax returns, noting, "They voted for him, and let me make this very clear: most Americans are — are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like."
However, according to the Guardian, last week a Washington Post-ABC poll showed that 74% of Americans, including 53% of Republicans, want to see Trump’s returns. In October a CNN poll found that 73% of registered voters, including 49% of Republicans, wanted to see the tax returns.
A petition on Whitehouse.gov, calling for the Immediate 'release Donald Trump's full tax returns, with all information needed to verify emoluments clause compliance,' has received more than double the number of signatures required for the president to address it.
The call for Trump's financial records is not based in some fantasy land as his dealings with foreign nations who may hold his debt could affect the decisions he makes as President.
The unprecedented economic conflicts of this administration need to be visible to the American people, including any pertinent documentation which can reveal the foreign influences and financial interests which may put Donald Trump in conflict with the emoluments clause of the Constitution.
If you think that Trump's foreign interests are irrelevant, think again. During the election, Trump registered at least eight companies in Saudi Arabia alone — a country, linked to terror on a massive scale who Trump has said he “would want to protect.”
In fact, at least 111 Trump companies have done business in 18 countries and territories across South America, Asia and the Middle East, a Post analysis of Trump financial filings shows.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with conducting business in other countries, the fact that the president of the United States, who is calling for the 'punishment' of businesses who outsource to foreign countries, keeping his dealings entirely secret, is nothing short of a kick to the face.
In spite of the majority public interest in Trump's financial transparency, the president has given Americans a preview of what's to come — blatant secrecy.
During the campaign, WikiLeaks was repeatedly accused of being in the corner of Trump after the released the tens of thousands of emails from John Podesta that exposed the crimes and corruption of Clinton and her cronies. However, Assange went on record multiple times, noting that if and when they get something on Trump, they will release that too.
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Now, it appears they are making their point even more clear by calling Trump out once again for flip-flopping on his promises.
"Trump's breach of promise over the release of his tax returns is even more gratuitous than Clinton concealing her Goldman Sachs transcripts," a WikiLeaks Tweet on Sunday read.
Unfortunately, Trump has pulled the wool over the eyes of many Americans on the right. Just like Barack Obama's election effectively silenced the antiwar left with empty promises and lies about ending wars, Trump appears to be silencing the anti-corruption right with empty promises and lies about transparency.
The good news is, however, that organizations like WikiLeaks, and the independent media who help disseminate that information, are able to provide a level of transparency that America's government lacks — at least for now.