Is a pernicious pattern evident by the president's accusers?

I just read in a publication that Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance is pursuing a grand jury investigation into President Trump's tax returns and financial records based on reports published by The New York Times and The Washington Post and testimony given by attorney Michael Cohen.  Would anyone say that this "evidence" seems biased and not without motive?

The first question is, what did Michael Cohen receive from the prosecuting attorney in exchange for this information at his sentencing?  He did not reveal any such information before he was found guilty.  Cohen did state that Donald Trump had one set of books for accounting purposes and used different numbers when negotiating with possible investment opportunities.  Michael Cohen would have known this if he is a real estate attorney.  And the fact is, not only is this not illegal, but it is actually required by law and according to proper accounting guidelines enforced by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

In fact, multiple sets of books are required depending on the industry and the size of corporations or businesses.  Most every company has a set of accounting books in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP); a set of federal tax books; and, if they operate in a state where they are required to file a state income tax return, a set of tax records for the state, or multiple states if they operate in various states.  If an energy company produces nuclear energy, it is required to keep a set of books for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NERC).  

When an individual's wealth is being scrutinized for investment opportunities, what is required by law is a set of personal financial records.  These records differ from GAAP.  Those records would be stated using the fair market value (FMV) of the individual's assets.  Records using GAAP would adhere to the Historical Cost Principle of accounting and would include depreciation on property, plant, and equipment.

Without seeing President Trump's financial records, I would, as an accountant, have to believe that his personal financial statements show his net worth to be significantly higher than his financial records made in accordance with GAAP.  Mr. Trump is in the business of real estate.  He owns many buildings, and these buildings have existed for many decades in some cases.  Their worth on the books has been reduced by depreciation, which is an accounting measurement, not a physical description.  His personal financial records would be based on the fair market value of his assets.  In other words, "how much would the building be worth if it were for sale?"

Pointing to articles published by The New York Times and The Washington Post as evidence that a crime was committed is about as objective as asking the Houston Astros if they have ever cheated.  The animosity both the publications have toward the president is incredibly obvious.  It could be that they just run with whatever floats their boat.  Besides, they are journalists by trade and education, and my guess is that those who wrote these articles couldn't tell you the difference between a capital asset and the Capitol dome.

On closer inspection, isn't there a pernicious pattern here?  Didn't fired FBI director James Comey admit that he had leaked a classified document to a professor friend with the intention of getting a special prosecutor appointed to look into a phony crime that didn't exist?  The only crime was his leaking the document.  This information was published in The New York Times and, based on this hearsay, led to the appointment of Robert Mueller to look into a connection between the Trump administration and Russia.  After more than two years, it was revealed that there was no connection, and the president's accusers knew that from the beginning.  It was an obvious hoax.

When that failed, what followed was an anonymous whistleblower releasing information that Trump had sought a quid pro quo arrangement with the president of Ukraine to produce dirt on Joe Biden.  This information was nothing more than hearsay as admitted to by President Trump's accusers.  His accusers changed the regulations for what constituted evidence for whistleblowers to include hearsay evidence.  The whistleblower, contrary to the law, remained anonymous.  Lieutenant Colonel Vindman testified to what he heard the president say, and he claimed that it was a crime.  In fact, the president was doing nothing more than asking the Ukraine president to look into a crime, which is the president's constitutional responsibility.  Vindman's testimony was consistent with this as well. 

Evidence to support all this can be heard from Speaker Pelosi herself.  She calls it the wrap-up smear, and she explains how it is done with the help of the press. It can be found on YouTube

In conclusion, perhaps Michael Cohen was practicing what accountants refer to as "cover your assets."  As for why prosecuting attorney Cyrus Vance is pursuing a case on such flimsy evidence (read: "hearsay"), perhaps he just doesn't know his assets from a hole in the ground.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

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