Corey Lewandowski wants New York Times editor jailed for publishing Donald Trump's tax returns

Want to know how the Trump White House will treat journalists? Here's a sign

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published December 2, 2016 7:55PM (EST)

Corey Lewandowski   (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)
Corey Lewandowski (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

Corey Lewandowski, who served as Donald Trump's first campaign manager, told a Harvard University audience on Thursday that he believes New York Times editor Dean Baquet should be jailed for publishing Trump's tax returns.

“We had one of the top people at The New York Times come to Harvard University and say, ‘I’m willing to go to jail to get a copy of Donald Trump’s taxes so I can publish them,'" Lewandowski said, according to Politico. "Dean Baquet came here and offered to go to jail — you’re telling me, he’s willing to commit a felony on a private citizen to post his taxes, and there isn’t enough scrutiny on the Trump campaign and his business dealings and his taxes?”

Lewandowski then ominously added, "It's egregious. He should be in jail."

Baquet was not unaware of the risk that he could go to prison for publishing Trump's tax returns. In September Baquet openly admitted at another Harvard University forum that he considered the public interest in knowing Trump's tax-related chicanery to be so significant that the risk of imprisonment was worth it.

The documents published by The New York Times in October included part of his 1995 tax returns. They revealed that Trump had reported a $916 million loss that year, one which he could have used to avoid paying taxes for 18 years. As the Times later wrote, though, "tax experts have been debating how Mr. Trump could have legally declared a deduction of that magnitude at all. Among other things, they have noted that Mr. Trump’s huge casino losses should have been offset by the hundreds of millions of dollars in taxable income he surely must have reported to the I.R.S. in the form of canceled casino debt.

"By avoiding reporting his canceled casino debt in the first place, however, Mr. Trump’s $916 million deduction would not have been reduced by hundreds of millions of dollars. He could have preserved the deduction and used it instead to avoid paying income taxes he might otherwise have owed on books, TV shows or branding deals. Under the rules in effect in 1995, the $916 million loss could have been used to wipe out more than $50 million a year in taxable income for 18 years."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Corey Lewandowski Dean Baquet Donald Trump New York Times