NBC's Nightly News Highlights Problems With The “Complex Maze Of Donald Trump's Finances”

Cynthia McFadden: “A Three Month Investigation By The New York Times Revealed Donald Trump Liked Debt Twice As Much As His Financial Disclosure Forms Indicate”

From the August 24 edition of NBC's Nightly News with Lester Holt:

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LESTER HOLT (HOST): Now to an NBC News investigation into the complex maze of Donald Trump's finances. As Trump continues to resist calls to release his taxes, NBC News is taking a hard look at his money trail. NBC News senior investigative correspondent Cynthia McFadden has more.

CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: Donald Trump has a thing for debt.

DONALD TRUMP: I'm the king of debt. I love debt.

MCFADDEN: In fact, a three month investigation by the New York Times revealed Donald Trump liked debt twice as much as his financial disclosure forms indicate, though even that was more than he was required to reveal under federal election rules. So, what's the bottom line?

SUSANNE CRAIG: The bottom line is that we found a lot of opaque ties, and just things that were hard to explain, that I think could be of concern to some people if Donald Trump were elected to the White House.

MCFADDEN: On Fox & Friends, Trump dismissed the Times' story, saying it shows how small his debt load is.

TRUMP: I have very little debt relative to the assets. I have massive assets.

MCFADDEN: And it's those assets that are now raising questions. First, how rich is he? Is he worth the $11 billion he claims, or the $3 billion Bloomberg reports? And second, how much does he owe, and to whom?

KEN GROSS: I think we would need to know who he owes money to, who he would be accountable to.

MCFADDEN: Lawyer Ken Gross has helped Democrats and Republicans running for president with their financial disclosures.

GROSS: No president can be totally free of conflicts of interests, particularly if they're wealthy and they have a lot of holdings, but disclosure would go a long way towards helping.

MCFADDEN: For example, the New York Times reports Trump owns 30 percent of this New York City office building with a debt $950 million. Among the lenders, the Bank of China and Goldman Sachs. That captured the attention of the Clinton campaign today.

BRIAN FALLON: Tell me how he's gonna stand up to Goldman Sachs and a state owned Bank of China when he continues to receive funds from a property that he owes money to them to.

MCFADDEN: But the Trump campaign hit back, telling NBC News today that neither Mr. Trump nor his company were responsible for the debt associated with the limited partnerships. Trump has further dismissed concerns about possible conflicts of interest, saying he would put his assets into a blind trust, even though he doesn't have to, which means he wouldn't know how those assets are managed.

TRUMP: If I become president, I couldn't care less about my company. It's peanuts. I have Ivanka, and Eric, and Don sitting there. Run the company, kids, have a good time. I wouldn't ever be involved because I wouldn't care about anything but our country, anything.

GROSS: Actually, to set up a blind trust in the U.S. executive branch is actually quite difficult, and your children can't run it as a legal matter.

MCFADDEN: And there's another problem, experts say a blind trust would only be truly blind if Mr. Trump doesn't know what's in it. So, would he have to say, good-bye Trump Tower?


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