One week left in race for the White House
With one week left until decision day next week, both presidential candidates are feeling some heat on the campaign trail.
The FBI director’s announcement last week that it would resume its investigation involving Hillary Clinton’s private email server after discovering a new batch of emails led to outrage against James Comey.
The Justice Department on Monday signaled that it wants the politically charged investigation to follow standard procedures - which includes a strict limit on official comments about the probe.
But after Comey’s highly unusual disclosure last week rocked the final days of the presidential campaign, it may prove impossible for Justice to lower the temperature and regain control over how the investigation is conducted and depicted to the public.
On Monday, criticism of Comey continued to mount, notably from prominent former law enforcement officials. Democrats and Republicans alike on Capitol Hill amplified their demands that Comey and Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch provide a more detailed account of the investigation into the emails.
And for Republican Donald Trump, Monday brought reports that he is refusing to pay one of his pollsters nearly $767,000 owed to him. Trump’s campaign refused to provide details about why it won’t pay Fabrizio Lee.
In addition, The New York Times reported that Trump avoided paying potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes in a way even his own lawyers considered questionable.
The newspaper said the maneuver also may explain how Trump posted a one-year loss of more than $900 million a few years later, enabling him to avoid paying federal income taxes for perhaps 18 years.
At issue is how Trump was able to cancel hundreds of millions of dollars of debt as his casino empire in Atlantic City went broke in the early 1990s. Canceled debt generally is treated as taxable income, meaning Trump would have owed the Internal Revenue Service significant money on debt that his creditors forgave.
The Times said it obtained documents from a quarter-century ago showing Trump essentially traded the debt relief for nearly worthless “partnership equity” to avoid any tax liability. In practice, the strategy was almost identical to a tax maneuver that was already outlawed, but differed in minor details. Trump’s own lawyers advised him the IRS would likely find it improper if he were audited, the paper said, and Congress explicitly outlawed the maneuver in 2004.