This week in Donald Trump's conflicts of interest: Don't trust tax reform

The president's cabinet may want you to believe that tax reform won't help them, but that's most likely untrue

By Matthew Rozsa

Published October 21, 2017 6:30AM (EDT)

 (Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Shutterstock/Salon)
(Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Shutterstock/Salon)

President Donald Trump has had a couple of conflict-related issues this week, but perhaps the most important one could literally impact every single American.

Trump's proposed tax reform plan will help the super-rich like himself

Back in November, future Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC, "Any reductions we have in upper-income taxes will be offset by less deductions so that there will be no absolute tax cut for the upper class."

It was an important promise, since it reassured Americans that the super-rich appointees who Trump had selected to staff his administration weren't going to push for policies that primarily helped themselves. But this week, Mnuchin admitted, "So when you’re cutting taxes across the board, it’s very hard not to give tax cuts to the wealthy with tax cuts to the middle class. The math, given how much you are collecting, is just hard to do."

Because Trump has yet to release his tax returns, of course, it's entirely possible that he isn't in fact a millionaire or billionaire who will enormously profit from the tax reform plan he is currently trying to shove through Congress. Common sense, however, tells us otherwise.

Trump personally interviewed candidates for U.S. attorney — including one very close to Trump's wallet

Trump personally interviewed two potential candidates for U.S. attorney slots in New York, according to Politico. One of those slots was the position for U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York (which contains Trump Tower). That district was formerly under the jurisdiction of Preet Bharara, whom Trump fired under controversial circumstances, and the president is reported to have interviewed lawyer Geoffrey Berman to replace him.

Trump is also reported to have met with lawyer Ed McNally for the Eastern District of New York, which is notable because McNally is currently employed at the law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres. In case you don't remember, that was the same firm whose attorney, Marc Kasowitz, represented Trump until July and bragged that he had convinced the president to fire Bharara because, "This guy is going to get you."

Trump doesn't seem to mind that his pick to be drug czar had a major conflict of his own

Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania had to withdraw his name as a candidate for drug czar because he had supported a bill that would have made it more difficult for the government to pursue pharmaceutical companies responsible for the opioid epidemic. Trump's response?

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Donald Trump Rex Tillerson Steven Mnuchin Tax Reform Tom Marino