Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenAuthor of controversial Trump Russia dossier speaks out: 'I stand by the work we did' Trump Organization faces new scrutiny in New York civil probe Michael Cohen: Trump bluffing about another White House bid MORE, President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE’s former personal attorney, said in an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Wednesday that Trump has refused to release his tax returns to avoid a “massive tax bill” and “fraud penalties.”
Camerota asked Cohen, who appeared on the network to promote his new memoir, “Disloyal,” if the lawyer was aware of any information in Trump’s tax returns that the commander in chief “didn’t want to reveal.”
“Yeah, the fact that he doesn’t report the income that he claims, his wealth is not as significant, and I believe that they were probably very lenient in how they took deductions,” Cohen responded.
He added that he believes Trump’s “biggest fear is that if his tax return is released, that there’s a whole slew of organizations of accountants and forensic accountants that will rip through it and he will end up with a massive tax bill, fraud penalties, fines and possibly even tax fraud.”
Q: What’s in Trump’s taxes?— Daniel Chaitin (@danielchaitin7) September 16, 2020
Michael Cohen: "He doesn’t report the income that he claims. ... They were probably very lenient in how they took deductions. His biggest fear is ... he will end up with a massive tax bill, fraud penalties, fines, and possibly even tax fraud." pic.twitter.com/Rpfuzc4B3g
Trump has repeatedly resisted calls to release his tax returns. Releasing tax returns has become a common practice among presidential candidates for decades. Democrats have called on Trump to release the documents to learn about any conflicts of interest the president may have.
Trump has cited an IRS audit as the reason why he has yet to release his tax returns to the public, telling The Economist in May 2017 that he "might release them” after he leaves office. The IRS has said, though, that an audit does not prevent a person from releasing tax returns.
"I asked for a copy of the audit so that I could use it in terms of my statements to the press, and I was never able to obtain one," Cohen said during his testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Cohen’s new book, which debuted at No. 1 on the Amazon best-seller list last week, came less than four months after Cohen was released from federal prison due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2018, he was sentenced to three years on charges of campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.