Former President Donald Trump
took a risk with his recent remarks about the multi-felony indictment
of his company and a top executive of the company, according to New York Times
reporter Maggie Haberman
, who spoke to CNN
“I'm just going to repeat the charges out loud and say there's nothing wrong with it, say that everybody does it,” Trump's playbook in dealing with accusations reads, according to Haberman. "The difference here is an indictment has been filed."
According to Haberman, Trump is still under investigation
and no longer has the protection of the presidency against prosecution.
“Right now, he’s taking a risk,” she explained.
During a rally in Sarasota
on Saturday, Trump appeared to admit that some of the indictment's points were correct, but he also implied that not paying taxes
on what he called "fringe" benefits was no big deal, and he's not even sure it's illegal.
According to the federal indictment filed last Thursday against the Trump Organization
and chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg
, a company car, a Manhattan
apartment, and private school tuition were provided in exchange for a portion of Weisselberg's salary as part of an allegedly fraudulent scheme in which the Trump Organization avoided payroll taxes and Weisselberg avoided income
ICYMI, during his rally in Sarasota last night, Trump basically admitted to Trump Organization tax violations: “They go after good, hard-working people
for not paying taxes on a company car... I don't even know. Do you have to? Does anybody know the answer to that stuff?” pic.twitter.com/amWdbCfrmi — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 4
Trump acknowledged making these payments at the rally.
“Most lawyers would tell someone involved in a case like this that the less you say, the better,” Haberman said, “but that’s not his style.”
Regarding his confusion about whether such a scheme was legal, Trump stated in a 2017 interview
with the New York Times that he was an expert on taxes.
“I know the intricacies of taxes better than anyone, even the best C.P.A.,” he boasted.
In the video clip above, watch
Haberman's remarks (starting at 2:18).