David Cay Johnston, Alan Wisenberg, Mark discussed on Mark Thompson
Of other great journalism and some great takes on things going on. He is, uh, He's like the, uh, always say the grand master when it comes to the Trump organization, so to see the Trump organization in the teeth of the law. Now I feel that particularly a good opportunity to be able to talk to him. He is David Cay Johnston. David Welcome. Well, thank you, Mark. I know I don't mean to lavish you with too much praise, but I really just said, you know, I'm a fan. But I also have to say that your time has really come with this organization, The Trump organization now finding itself on the wrong side of the law, But they have really been running on the other side of the law for a long time. Oh, they certainly have. And Donald Trump's far from alone in that. I mean, the fact is, we have very weak white collar laws in America. So people loot pensions, funds and trust funds and People's savings, and they get far less punishment than people who do much lesser crimes. Yeah, and, you know, it's funny. I loved and I've used this, uh, this parallel before of Jean Bell, John and Les Miserables. He's the guy they nail him for, you know, stealing some, Brad because his was it his daughter who was starving or whatever. You sister, his sister. Thank you. I'm sorry. His sister, Uh, you have a column in D C report, which is Trump one law for a hungry people. The thieves. Another for me, you reference a guy who actually serving time for the theft of a pizza or I think several pieces of pizza. Meanwhile, the Trump organization not only institutionalized, breaking the law and the tax code, but they made it part of Trump University, advising many of those people attending to do the same. We have in Donald's mind. Nothing he does can ever be wrong. He was asked during the campaign because he was professing to be a Christian. But when have you ask God for forgiveness? And you get this quizzical look on his face, And he said, Well, we'll never I've never done anything that would require forgiveness. And this is on full display here in the current charges, which let me emphasize Mark. This is the first indictment, not the indictment. It's not the last one. It's the first The Trump Organization, which is 100%, owned by Donald Trump and its chief financial officer, have been indicted by the grand jury in Manhattan. And neither Trump nor his lawyers nor even Wiesel. Berg's lawyers are denying what's in the indictment, which is $1.76 million of Compensation that Alan Wiesel Bird received that was net was hidden. It wasn't just not reported it was deliberately carefully hidden from the tax authorities. Now their position is well, nobody. Nobody gets charged for the sort of thing that's not true. And here's how much money that is. If you are a median wage worker in America that has half of workers make more than you and half make less. It takes 34 years for you to make $1.76 million. That's a lifetime of work and to say, you know you can cheat on that, and it's no big deal is astonishing. And so I use these examples of the man who the hungry, homeless man who tried to get some food. People turn them away who stole one slice of pizza from some Children down in Redondo Beach? 25 years to life. A judge ultimately let him out of before his sentence. But he served five years for that. There's a man in Alabama serving life without the possibility of parole for stealing $9 in not this is an armed robbery or anything like that. He stole $9 as a man serving Almost life for $36 theft. And then there's the famous case of the man in the Southern California a petty thief all his life who didn't have anything to give us kids at Christmas. So he went to Walmart and Kmart and stole a total of nine Children's videos. Got consecutive 25 year sentences. That's 50 years. And the U. S. Supreme Court held that that was not unreasonable. Well, if it's not unreasonable to get what amounts to life for a slice of pizza, nine videos $9. For Donald Trump to take the position. He takes it and his lawyer takes that this should have been negotiated in secret, and they should have reached a settlement. How much tax was out? Shows just how outrageously Donald Trump and the people his lawyers represent. He's not unique about this. Hold the law in contempt and they want to standards of justice, one for them, so they can do pretty much anything they want. And then one for the rest of us. Well, this is the white collar criminal being treated differently than the common criminals Don't call any and even some of those to which you referred the criminality there. You know, you just don't even see it right? And that's the absurdity of it. That's why it's such a good example. I wanted to ask you about what specifically is going on here because you mentioned something that jumped out at me. And that is you said that they hid, uh, income. There were literally two sets of books within the Trump organization. And so in other words, there was a willful fraud here. It wasn't overlooked in some way. Yeah. Do you only need one set of books. Your purpose is to track the money. If you have two sets of books, that's as good of evidences you're ever going to get that this was a criminal activity. There's no reason to keep it and there's some other aspects of this. Well, one of them is from 2011. Or two years and 5 2011 some period in there, five or six years. Well, Alan Alan Weiss Hilberg made a lot of money, 940,000 year and all. He didn't get a raise during this whole time. But Trump's never been known for paying people particularly well. And if you're the chief executive officer of what the chief financial officer of what Trump claims to be this huge, multi billion dollar enterprise, it's not You would think you'd get regular raises. Now. The purpose of this first indictment is part of the effort to get Alan Wisenberg to turn state's evidence. This won't do it. And the reason is that most of the grand larceny charged connected with him together with the conspiracy charge could theoretically getting 15 years. Allen's about to turn 74 years old. That's a life sentence. Um, none of the 15 charges have any mandatory prison time. If there's anything we've learned mark over the years, it's that so long as the penalties are financial or probation. Executive behavior doesn't change, but when we take away people's liberty, then things change. There's nothing the corporation can do for it. We're talking to David Cay Johnston from D C report dot org The Pulitzer Prize winner Let me ask you, David, what you talk about?.