tv Viewer Call-in with David Cay Johnston The Big Cheat CSPAN June 12, 2022 7:00pm-7:31pm EDT
discussion david k. johnston's most recent book is called the big cheat how donald trump fleece america and enriched himself and his family. mr. johnston, that's your third book on donald trump, right? it's trilogy. the making of donald trump before the 2016 election that laid out all from the public record. his history including his very deep entanglement with a major drug trafficking lord big drug
lord. it's even worse than you think examining what he did to the administration and been the promise of the campaign that they would deconstruct the administrative state, which is high folute language for we're going to destroy the executive side of the federal government then this book is about the money and all these loose threads of pieces something came out in the washington post and then politico and the new york times and the wall street journal and i just picked up all these loose threads that you'd have to read 25 news organizations to see as i do and woven into a tapestry to explain what was going on when you started writing that first book, the making of donald trump in 2016. did you know it was going to be a trilogy? no, not at all. in fact, i was only going to do the first two books and simon schuster came back and said we want you to do this third book and i said, okay, but your fascination or study of donald trump began way before he became
president 1988. there are several 1988. there are several people. i followed a great life jack welch at general electric darrell gates the lapd chief because i was at the la times. i was the first journalist to seriously scrutinize the lapd baron hilton who tried to steal 2/3 of a billion dollars from starving children quite literally snatch it out of their mouths. and when i met donald in 1988, i was the atlantic city bureau chief for the philadelphia inquirer. and i just went this guy's going to be important in the future and i just continue to follow him even in the years. i didn't write about him build files on them. i have what i'm pretty sure is the world's largest private collection of trump documents. do you have a fourth book in there? hi, my publisher may could do. we'll see my the book. i want to finish now. i put aside in 2015 as i have designed an entirely new federal tax system and every expert who's gone over it tax
administrators business owners, accounting professors tax lawyers, every single one of them says, oh this would work congress will never do it and my answer is i'm getting enough people to read the book. they'll do it. well, we'll talk about that a little bit later and get a little bit more, but we want to get your calls in and your voices to talk to david k johnston if you were listening to the panel before you heard what he had to say, we're going to be talking about as most recent book the big cheat how donald trump fleeced america and enriched himself and his family 202 is the area code 748 8200 for those of you in the east and central time zones 202748-8201. if you live in the mountain and pacific time zones, and if you want to send a text message, you can send it to this number text messages. only two zero two seven four eight eight nine zero three, please include your first name and your city if you would let's go to the subtitle of your most recent book how donald trump fleece america two examples.
um his son-in-law gerald jared kushner was in very deep financial trouble in 2015 and 16. the family had bet its fortune a substantial fortune on the purchase of 666 fifth avenue just down the street from trump tower. they paid 1.8 billion dollars a gigantic record for real estate in new york and by 2015 that building was worth a third of what they paid for it, maybe half. jared kushner immediately set out to seek money from america's most important ally among the arab countries in the middle east cutter. we have an important military base there the qataris looked at the proposal and said, you know, we're rich but we're not stupid. we're not making you this kind alone shortly after that donald trump begins attacking cutter. he takes the case of the saudis and the emirates who don't like cutter. and takes their side and lo and behold they get new financing for this building.
so one example here is the family the trump kushner family. submarine our national security for money. no previous presidents has done anything like that whatsoever. secondly donald's actions with his hotel. when donald trump was leaving the capitol after being sworn in the motorcade stops and not one of the tv networks at the time reported where he stopped, but i assure you that every lobbyist favor seeker every foreign diplomat everybody who wanted something of the trump administration got the message. they stopped in front of the trump hotel. now this is a hotel that by law and i write about this extensively in the book. trump should have been kicked out of the lease since 1808. we said congressman and presidents cannot have leases with the federal government. and i tell about how to bureaucrats try to avoid this pretty soon the bar and
restaurant. we're taking in 68,000 a night the saudi government would buy entire floors of rooms. t-mobile wanted to merge with sprint. and the president of t-mobile america made a big deal out of showing up and running rooms, and this was a way you paid tribute to donald trump. you publicly demonstrated you were paying tribute to him. and then you would maybe get your policy approved, but if you didn't pay tribute, you probably couldn't even get a phone call in. using that phrase paying tribute to where does that come from? well, it's because that's what happens when in i used to teach the law of the ancient world. so when the persians would conquer another country, you know, they would have to pay tribute to them the ninth century philosophical books in islam talk about paying tribute and who doesn't have to pay tribute when in islamic army takes over a country anybody watch game of thrones, you know, you'll notice that there was a lot of tribute pain and obligations that were in that
and that's the same thing here. donald didn't see the white house as a public trust as every other president good bad and different. they all treated it as a public trust. donald has no history or knowledge or understanding these things and he treated it as well. of course, i should be president. the rest of you were all idiots. let's take some calls. let's hear from our viewers annie in sugar grove, north carolina. you're on with david k johnston, please go ahead. hi, good evening. i've been following david k johnston for years. i've watched him on democracy now and no one's ever brought this up, or maybe i've missed it. rudy giuliani was us attorney for the southern district of new york. while trump was committing crime. do you think that really helped cover up and and and let him avoid prosecution. i just think that there's something there, but i don't
know. i'm just curious what you think about that. all right annie. thank you. thank you, annie. no, i don't think that's quite how it went. there are lots of high level white collar crimes committed in this country that we don't do anything about and one of the biggest problems in this country is we pay way too much attention and have very strong laws for blue collar crime robbing a bodega for example, but when it comes to white collar crime, our laws are complicated they're full of loopholes. they're difficult to prosecute if it takes a prosecutor six weeks or six months to put on a case. it's sort of inherently says to a jury. you should have some reasonable doubt about what went on here. and if donald hadn't run for president, i don't think he would have ever gotten the much attention from law enforcement. it wasn't that law enforcement wasn't very very aware of him. they were but that goes way beyond rudy giuliani. you're based in syracuse, new york. is that right? well, i i live in rochester i teach at syracuse university
college of law, and i'm not a lawyer. so you do have some knowledge of rud. giuliani as southern district and mayor has your opinion of him changed over the years at all? when giuliani went my friend wayne barrett revealed years ago that his father was abandoned who went to sing sing prison. not many people knew and then wayne who's gone now wrote a fabulous book about what actually went on the day of 9/11. he starts off by telling you here's what you saw on tv and he tells you what's really going on in the background. and we've seen giuliani started deteriorate front of our public eye, you know, i mean right in front of our eye peter incoherent sentences, you know booking the wrong four seasons and then coming up with all sorts of crazy theories. so the skill he had in managing other prosecutors. he didn't prosecute the mob cases in new york. he just ran the office, but the skilly hadn't managing those and building up himself. sort of just let be ruined by
his embracing crazy ideas chasing after money not acting from a position of principal in his conduct. antoinette in milwaukee, you're on book tv. hi. hello. i have a question. i'm running as fast as i can. and i don't trust government anymore. i can't even vote but i was born antoinette jane scarborough in milwaukee are in waterloo, wisconsin. what do iowa 78 years ago? do old people matter anymore just it's government outrunning me. well, thank you. after that. first of all is an old guy? i'm 73 years old it is easy to become cynical about government not just now but in the past but our freedoms and our liberties under our constitution the
underlying idea of which is if we provide people with freedom of religion and thought can't what can the human spirit do how can we enoble the human spirit and see what it can achieve and it's easy to get cynical about politics campaign money has done a lot to do that and the quality of the people running for office one of the last things we discussed in this panel. but you know, it's the best thing we've got and you should think about the alternatives so i would urge you to keep voting keep voting internet. text message not sure who it's from but it says my impression of donald trump's sons and daughter is that they are every bit as dishonest and unscrupulous and dangerous as he is. i i absolutely agree with that assessment. i described donald both in my books and there's a nonprofit news service that my friends and i run called dc report singular. it's free. there's no ads. it's public service dc report as
the donald is the third generation head of a four generation crime family his grandfather fled the draft in germany ran basically -- houses in washington state in the yukon territory. his father fred trump ripped off the taxpayers for in today's money about 40 million dollars in building housing for you guys and sailors who survived world war two president eisenhower when he learned what fred trump had done through a fit in the oval office. think about the the moral weight on general eisenhower who sent all those men to die on the beaches in france. and then you have donald followed by his children and they are emblematic of a fundamental american problem, which is these weak white-collar crime laws and our focus on street crime rather than sweet crime. thomas is calling from washington dc thomas, please go ahead. yeah, hi. this is smith from the colony of
washington dc. this is nothing new if you look at america america is always had a streak of fascism and racism and just like president johnson said all you got to do is bring up the racism part and white america will vote for you. they'll let you please see your pocket. this is why profits in office has continued being officer because a large portion of white america likes and and likes what he does. thanks. well, i agree with you about that when donald made his announcement in 2015 his latest announcement of running for president. what did he do right off? he said murders and rapists coming from mexico and he gave a comfort aidan comfort to people who want to be bigots and use racial slurge. he basically pulled off the veneer that the civil rights movement had provided us with and showed how many americans really haven't bought into that
at all. they've simply been they feel coerced by the rest of society. but we've still beyond that. we've made a lot of progress compared to say the 1940s when soldiers who came home from europe and japan and dress uniforms that they were black traveled through the south would be viciously attacked because white americans many of them couldn't stand the thought of a valorous black service member and we need to get back on the track of trying to create a multicultural fair society, and we're nowhere near there, but that doesn't mean we can't be we can we just have to work at it. i'm not going to live to see it. i'm not gonna live that long, but maybe my grandchildren even though though they're already grown. we'll see it. david k. johnson given what donald trump the candidate said about mexicans, how do you explain his increased vote percentage with latino voters or at least as reported? yeah. no, that's a very interesting
phenomenon. of course, the world is full of paradoxes like this. we see it in the movement for equal gender rights for women. there are a lot of latino voters who are socially quite conservative. and who embraced donald's thinking about this the number of latino voters though fell off in the i believe in most areas in the 2020 election, but they're always these paradoxes that exist like that and people don't you know, a lot of people will vote on a single issue. so if you're with me on a single issue, i'll vote for you even if i can't stand the rest of what you're saying. what's your personal opinion about president clinton and president obama? becoming quite wealthy after their presidencies well only ones who became quite wealthy ronald reagan walked out of the white house and made two million dollars in the last person who didn't try to monetize the presidency i think was
eisenhower certainly harry truman who walked out with nothing but a $22 a month, so maybe today $250 a month army pension from world war one. um if you get elected president you leave office if you do this by writing a book where you're in the competitive marketplace, that seems perfectly reasonable you get appointed to a job of some kind being president of the university. i think that's quite reasonable. but this business of going around and giving speeches like hillary clinton did for 400,000 to goldman sachs. it's not illegal, but i think we reasonably should say what were you thinking? so i certainly don't begrudge anybody their wealth who earned it in the marketplace. i've written books exposing how lots of people have grown rich from subsidies. almost nobody knew about until i expose them. that i very much disapprove it. i don't believe in corporate socialism because it destroys the benefits of market capitalism, which so far is the
best idea. we've came up with in human history doesn't mean it's the best idea of all times. just we have to live in our times. and so, you know you leave office. and you go make money because you do things like write a book go on the lecture circuit, but private talks to wall street bankers. yeah. we should we really should denounce people for that. i think next call comes from jeff in los angeles, please go ahead jeff. hello, and thank you for taking my call. my question goes to the hopeful hopeful hopefully he's being investigated criminally by the attorney general. um, we don't really know but i i have a feeling there's more going on there in new york state georgia is well as for federal crimes the us attorney. i wanted to ask you i heard recently one of the late night cable hosts talking about the
fact that donald trump will never go to prison because they would never be able to do it because of sacred service accommodations, etc, etc. because and protecting him i hope that does not become a mainstream idea. because i would hope. that if he is convicted of crimes he would go to jail because as far as i think we got it. let's hear from our guest david k johnston jeff. thank you in first of all, we should all be very troubled by what's happened with the manhattan district attorney the new district attorney who essentially shut down and investigation that i was pretty confident was going to lead to an indictment under new york state's rico law little rico law. um, i i could build a case on that law from my knowledge of trump, and i think they got off on a tangent perhaps and and didn't quite have the
roundedness they needed for such a case. there's no external evidence that the justice department. the federal justice department is investigating trump when you have a big investigation like this leaks occur from the defense and people who are witnesses. they never happen from the prosecution. they just don't happen. i got 50 years plus years of experience to tell you that but he is under investigation criminally in westchester county by a very seasoned prosecutor mimi roca by fanny willis the fulton county, georgia that overlays atlanta for trying to rig the election. he's under civil investigation by the attorney general of new york who can acquire criminal investigation that the governor gives it to her or the manhattan da gives it to her. and he's under civil investigation. and what i think is a very important case involving the 2017 inauguration by the attorney general of washington. there's a whole chapter in there in which i talk about among
other things the effort to take in money off books, which is criminal. mr. johnson you mentioned that mr. johnson you mentioned that you met former president trump in 1988. did you have a conversation with all many of donald and i have i mean for three years of my life he was pretty much what my focus and what i learned the first time. we shook hands and talk the second time. i sat down for a talk with him and i had learned by them that he was his own executives thought he was a raging incompetent. his competitors said the same thing some of his players at the same thing and the government sort of wanted to not do its job of enforcing the law and so with the connivance with some of trump's guys i planted in this first interview i had within four questions. and in each of them i spoke on truthfully. and donald picked up the untruth and incorporated his answer and one of my books i point out.
he pretty much did the same thing in an interview with lester holt. and that's what con artists do i've exposed various con artists for about 40 the last 55 years. and they tell you what you want to hear. in fact, i literally thought having just left the la times to go to atlantic city and having seen these ads on tv. oh i get donald. we're the california psychics. does your boyfriend really? love you call this number and we'll we'll tell you the truth because we're the only psychics you can trust. and that's what he was doing. he's just a con artist and he was assuming you wouldn't check the facts and as soon as donald began to realize that everything i wrote about him. i would check the public record and check him out. our relationship became fairly stiff from their forward. derek's in seattle, derek, you're on with author david k johnston. oh you thank you mr. kay. i've been trying to talk to you for a long real long time. what i would like to know is this you had donald trump one of the biggest financial crooks
steve mnuchin the four-cold the king wilbur ross. they call him the shell game man, cuz he's illegal. he listened banks which he was involved in overseas and trump and minutian was over the united states treasury, but i would like to know is there a way that you can have investigation to see if stephen nutria when he was over those stimulus packages and we're around conspire and transcribe our transfer any money to overseas banks in saudi arabia are russia. that's my simple question. you need to be investigate you had the biggest crew. thank you. thank you derek. thank you. i don't think that's what happened you get caught a few today. they're actually our very good government. action reports and investigations. there was lots of money stolen by various fraudsters, but mostly low-level fraudsters in the stimulus and other packages and they primarily benefited big businesses not the little ones they were supposed to help and
one of the programs was really we've reported a dc report an effort to help the biggest banks strengthen their ties with their biggest customers. they didn't have any interest in little ones. um, they're much smarter and easier ways to to take money and if you read the big cheat, which i write you don't have to understand finance read my books. i i my effort is to make sure if you finish high school, you can understand the economics the way i explain them in my books and i think if you read it, you'll see what they did and in many ways. it's more troubling and worse than what you're managing here. mr. johnson we heard for four years about deutsche bank. yeah and donald trump. can you give us that 60 second 90 second explanation when nobody else would loan money to donald because he publicly said i borrowed money knowing i did intend to pay it back imagine saying that to your banker. deutsche bank kept making loans to him. well, there's something in banking called a back-to-back loan. so i want the bank to loan one of my grown children money for a
business venture, but i could get loan them the money, but then it's family difficulties. so i go to my banker and i say listen, i'm gonna deposit a million dollars with you or give you a letter of credit for a million dollars loan the million dollars to my kid if he doesn't pay it you're guaranteed you'll get paid off. there's very good reason to think there were russians on the other side of these deals deutsche bank has already paid over 600 million dollars in fines for laundering russian criminal money. the head of that bank when he was forced out and disgrace went to the bank of cyprus the most notorious russian money laundering bank in the world whose vice chairman had two of them one was wilbur ross who became commerce secretary and who there's a chapter about in the big cheat and the other was vladimir putin's appointee and who are their customers a bunch of russian criminals? brian in west union, ohio, please. go ahead. yes first always thank you for taking my call andy he kind of
goes back to what a few of these other call past callers were talking about like when that lady called about really giuliani and donald trump being crime getting away with it and and clay there. you go along with it. my thing is, you know, there's a there's a line there, um being accused and being in a criminal somebody real careful about calling him a man criminal. you ain't keep me and convicted yet. that's all. right. well in fact in the news if you you're a killer and tell you're convicted then you're a murderer, but only after you're convicted in donald's case. he there is so much evidence going back so many years of his criminal conduct and he's lied under. he's falsified documents. he forged his own tax return that's in in one of my three books. i think it's the making of donald trump. he forged his own tax return his
own tax lawyer testified against him at his trial for tax fraud that almost nobody knows about so there's plenty of evidence of donald's a criminal behavior going back decades. david kate johnson, let's go back to your potential next book on the federal tax system. how would you change it? well, nobody would defend our current tax system. it is bloated beyond belief with favors that congress said well, we're going to give you this favor for these counting contributions and that that favor and we've lost sight of what the purpose of our tax system is, and this is an important point peter. why do we live under our constitution? we live in the second american republic? the first american republic the articles confederation failed because it had no power to tax and and no power to regulate commerce. we created our constitution to tax ourselves so that we could be a real country and we could have all these freedoms. but the tax system now allows
many people to make a fortune off of it a 20 years ago. i said the corporations in the new york times when i was a reporter, i wrote that there were corporations that made a profit off taxes. congress ordered up a study because some people thought that was crazy. and 1800 page. yeah, you're right. there are a whole bunch companies that the corporate income tax is a profit center. they even stamp documents profit center. so what i do is just my system will just text back to basics. it's cheap proof because of the system that i've designed that will be in the book and the book's going to be very short because i'm not gonna write a doorstop to say i'm gonna simplify the tax code, but every but every expert who's gone over it peter. every across the board they all say oh that would work. it would make us a wealthier country. everyone would have to pay the taxes congress says they owe we wouldn't have these scandals of people who pay no taxes legally because of all sorts of rules that hardly anybody knows about but i spent years studying and
deconstructing tax shelters the irs actually told congress we can't deconstruct some of these tax shelters. and i would get rid of all of that and we have a very straightforward very simple system that will work in every country with a modern economy. so working australia, it'll work in japan. it'll work in europe. it'll work in canada. it will not work in places like honduras or some of the poor countries in africa. there it won't work. but if you have a modern financially robust economy, it'll work. that's the next book the current last book of david k johnston the big cheat how donald trump fleeced america and enriched himself in his family. thank you for joining us and taking
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