Sunday shows ignore report that Trump may have committed bank fraud

Sunday shows ignore report that Trump may have committed bank fraud

Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT


Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Sunday news shows of four of the major broadcast networks and CNN ignored new reporting from The Washington Post which detailed how President Donald Trump may have committed bank fraud.

The Post reported on March 28 that congressional and New York investigators are examining whether Trump had used misleading documents called “Statements of Financial Condition,” in which he inflated his wealth or “omitted properties that carried big debts,” to fraudulently obtain loans from lenders or low premiums from insurers. The Post report revealed some details about how Trump lied about his properties and wealth in these statements:

These documents sometimes ran up to 20 pages. They were full of numbers, laying out Trump’s properties, debts and multibillion-dollar net worth.

But, for someone trying to get a true picture of Trump’s net worth, the documents were deeply flawed. Some simply omitted properties that carried big debts. Some assets were overvalued. And some key numbers were wrong.

For instance, Trump’s financial statement for 2011 said he had 55 home lots to sell at his golf course in Southern California. Those lots would sell for $3 million or more, the statement said.

But Trump had only 31 lots zoned and ready for sale at the course, according to city records. He claimed credit for 24 lots — and at least $72 million in future revenue — he didn’t have.

He also claimed his Virginia vineyard had 2,000 acres, when it really has about 1,200. He said Trump Tower has 68 stories. It has 58.

These two investigations have stemmed from “testimony last month by Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, who told Congress that Trump had used these statements to inflate his wealth — and then sent them to his lenders and his insurers.” The Post also explained, “Trump is far from the first real estate developer to inflate his projects or wealth. But there are laws against defrauding insurers and lenders with false information.” It is also unclear if Trump will face any legal consequences.

Yet none of the Sunday shows of ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox Broadcasting Co., or CNN covered the story, according to a closed captioning search of mentions of Trump in the Grabien video database. Three of these shows invited senior Trump administration officials as guests but failed to bring up the ongoing investigations: Both ABC’s This Week and CNN’s State of the Union interviewed acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and Fox’s Fox News Sunday talked to counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway.

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