Poking fun at what many saw as an insufficient attempt by President Donald Trump to placate calls for the release of his tax returns, observers have gleefully responded to Trump's attorneys' claim that his tax returns show no income from Russia sources "with few exceptions" by pointing out other major shortcomings of his presidency.
In a letter addressed to Trump and released to the press early Friday, Sheri Dillon and William Nelson from the firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, who have served as tax counsel to the president and the Trump Organization since 2005, write that "with a few exceptions," which they detail later on, "your tax returns do not reflect" any income from Russian sources, debt owed by Trump or the Trump orgahization, or any equity investments either made by Russian lenders to Trump or by Trump into Russian entities.
The exceptions include profit from a 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, the purchase of Florida estate by a Russian billionaire, as well as any "ordinary course sales of goods or services," including hotel rooms, rounds of golf, and Trump-licensed products like ties or mattresses. The letter comes amid a growing chorus of lawmakers, transparency groups, and voters asking for the release of the president's tax returns.
Not satisfied with that response, many immediately took to social media to point out how vague that declaration really is.
Your pre-existing conditions will be covered #withfewexceptions
— kerry b (@gwynzach) May 12, 2017
— Lawrence Connolly (@LawrenceConnol2) May 12, 2017
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore#WithFewExceptions
— sueinphilly (@sueinphilly) May 12, 2017
The choice for lower income Americans is always between health care and iPhones #withfewexceptions.
— O General My General (@rideatdawn) May 12, 2017
— Barclay Saul (@barclaysaul) May 12, 2017
Trump won the popular vote. #WithFewExceptions
— Nathan G (@nwg83) May 12, 2017
Every member of the Republican party is complicit in Donald Trump's abuse of presidential power, #WithFewExceptions
— Ragnarok Lobster (@eclecticbrotha) May 12, 2017
— Vera Higgs (@VeraHiggs) May 12, 2017
Joking aside, Norm Eisen, a former White House ethics attorney who is currently suing the president for violation of the emoluments clause, noted Friday that the letter does not "explicate or deny statements by [Trump's] sons" about Russian financing for golf projects. Last week golf writer James Dodson revealed that Eric Trump had once bragged that the family businesses has "all the funding we need out of Russia" to build new golf courses.
However, Eisen also noted that the letter makes clear that Trump is "feeling the heat!"
In an interview published on Thursday, Trump said he "may" release his tax returns when he leaves office, contradicting his prior statements that they could not made public while he is under audit.
Meanwhile, the hits keep coming: #WithFewExceptions Tweets