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Fahrenthold: What recent ruling means for Trump’s long-hidden tax returns

People walk past the Trump Tower as the impeachment trial of Donald Trump begins in Washington on Feb. 09, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The New York County District Attorney will get a look at former President Donald Trump’s tax returns, but that doesn’t mean the general public will necessarily see them.

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Pulitzer Prize winning reporter David Fahrenthold at The Washington Post covers the Trump family and its business interests. He says he isn’t counting out the chance that the returns become public at some point, but it’d only be under specific circumstances.

“It’s certainly more likely today than it was yesterday,” Fahrenthold told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross about the chance he would get access to Trump’s tax returns. “What’s going to happen now is that Trump’s accountants will give his tax returns to the Manhattan DA, but only under the grand jury secrecy rules. So this is an investigation with a grand jury. Those documents are supposed to remain secret. But if the Manhattan DA concludes this investigation by charging Trump, or charging someone else, or charging his company, these tax returns could be entered into the record … in total or in part, as evidence.”

“So that’s the way we would see them, I think, as part of this process,” he explained. “Unless they leak out of the grand jury, but they’re not supposed to.”

Is it any of our business anyway, Dave asked, now that he’s no longer president?

Dave says he asks this because there seems to be a real debate in the Republican Party over whether they are Republicans or Trump supporters.

“I have a feeling that if it turns out that there is anything in those tax returns that indicates foreign investments that might show a certain level of disloyalty to the country, or hob knobbing with the evil corporations who the Trump people mistrust as it is, that could diminish your standing in the party,” Dave said.

Fahrenthold replied that the general public should care if they find wrongdoing.

“I guess that the reason we would care, as the general public, is that if they find wrongdoing and if they find violations of tax law, it matters both in the way that it matters for anybody to do that,” he said. “But it also would matter in that Trump seems to be pointing himself [to a] 2024 presidential run.”

“It would mean we would know a lot more about his private conduct than we did in 2016 and what he was like the first time,” Fahrenthold added. “I would look at it in that way, that if this provides us some insight into what Trump was really doing behind closed doors at his business, then we maybe have a little more information about to evaluate him for next time. That said, we know a lot about this guy now and how he behaves in the office of the presidency. So maybe it’s not as important as it would have been in 2016.”

Listen to the full interview below:

Pulitzer Prize winning reporter David Fahrenthold joins KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross every Tuesday on Seattle’s Morning News. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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