In the wake of an explosive New York Times investigation revealing Donald Trump’s alleged tax avoidance and extensive debts, journalist Carl Bernstein said it was the “smoking gun” that exposes the truth of the Trump presidency.
“Donald Trump and his family are grifters,” the famed Watergate reporter said on CNN’s “New Day” on Monday morning. “He has created the first grifter presidency in the history of the United States in which his purpose in running for the presidency and exercising the powers of the presidency ― the fundamental reason is to bail himself and his family out.”
The New York Times, which obtained more than two decades’ worth of Trump’s tax records, described a gathering storm of financial threats as the president’s property and business struggles, his tax audit battle and his more than $421 million in debts converge.
The Times also reported that Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in both 2016 and 2017. He did not pay a dime for 10 of the 15 years prior to that.
Carl Bernstein: "He has created the first grifter presidency in the history of the united states, in which his purpose in running for the presidency and exercising the powers of the presidency, the fundamental reason is to bail himself and his family out." pic.twitter.com/tUVDzQkvGp— The Hill (@thehill) September 28, 2020
Bernstein said it shows in Trump’s policy and in his relationships with foreign powers.
“It shows the fundamental corruption and criminality of Donald Trump, and now we have the definitive evidence, and he is trying to make the conduct of the press the issue instead of the conduct of himself in his refusal to pay taxes adequately, and also to keep them secret,” he said.
“This is the smoking gun about who Donald Trump really is and what his presidency really is.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.