New York Times violates law to publish partial Trump tax return from 90s and speculate about his taxes

See also: Trump, Taxes and the Times

Trump Derangement Syndrome has led the New York Times to willfully violate federal law in order to speculate about what taxes Donald Trump may or may not have been paying.  In a front-page article, built on crime and conjecture, the Times ends up with very weak beer on Trump, but a convincing case for its own irresponsibility and criminality.

The lede paragraph reveals the astonishing lack of factual reporting and descent into mere speculation, speculation that supports the latest Hillary Clinton attack line on Trump, that he pays “no taxes” (a recapitulation of the Harry Reid lies on the Senate floor about Mitt Romney’s taxes. When confronted with his lies, Reid said, “It worked, didn’t it?”). Presumably, in the eyes of NYT executive editor Dean Baquet, if this speculation succeeds in defeating Trump, his own criminality and descent into speculation is also justified by the results.

Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times show.

“Could have” is the operant admission that the Times does not know what it reports.  As Sundance notes:

The anti-Trump political angle is easily identifiable within the extensive article use of: “could have”, “might be”, “may have”, phrases used throughout the woven narrative.  Journalistic “narratives” are rarely based on facts.

Nowhere in its breathless report of non-facts does the Times stop to note that in 1995 Bill Clinton was president and Hillary Clinton was, in her own previous words, “co-president.” They were responsible for the tax laws, along with the Democrat congressional majority 1992-94, and could have changed the tax law.

Callum Borchers of the Washington Post explains the legal jeopardy that could await the Times:

Dean Baquet wasn't bluffing.

The New York Times executive editor said during a visit to Harvard in September that he would risk jail to publish Donald Trump's tax returns. He made good on his word Saturday night when the Times published Trump tax documents from 1995, which show the Republican presidential nominee claimed losses of $916 million that year — enough to avoid paying federal income taxes for as many as 18 years afterward.

Federal law makes it illegal to publish an unauthorized tax return:

It shall be unlawful for any person to whom any return or return information (as defined in section 6103(b)) is disclosed in a manner unauthorized by this title thereafter willfully to print or publish in any manner not provided by law any such return or return information. Any violation of this paragraph shall be a felony punishable by a fine in any amount not exceeding $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution.

Baquet said during a panel discussion at Harvard that if the Times' lawyers advised him not to publish Trump tax returns, he would argue that such information is vital to the public interest because the real estate mogul's "whole campaign is built on his success as a businessman and his wealth."

This makes it appear that Baquet’s violation of the law was intentional and done for partisan reasons.

Donald Trump is a man known to be capable of resorting to the courts, and his campaign’s statement on the violation of his privacy indicates there may be action coming:

“Mr. Trump is a highly-skilled businessman who has a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required,” the statement, which was not attributed to Trump or any staffer by name, continued. “That being said, Mr. Trump has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes, sales and excise taxes, real estate taxes, city taxes, state taxes, employee taxes and federal taxes. Mr. Trump knows the tax code far better than anyone who has ever run for President and he is the only one that knows how to fix it.”

In a tweet at 7:22 a.m. ET on Sunday, Trump took the same line, and likewise did not deny the report. "I know our complex tax laws better than anyone who has ever run for president and am the only one who can fix them. #failing@nytimes," he wrote.

The media’s Hillary claque is already jumping on board, proclaiming, “Bombshell report on Trump taxes sends GOP nominee reeling,” for example.

In this deeply corrupt age of a weaponized IRS and FBI, there may be no legal recourse for Trump. But I imagine a lawsuit may be in the offing.

Does anyone think that the Times would have risked legal consequences if it was not worried about a possible Trump victory?