‘This is banana republic stuff’: Don Jr, MSNBC analyst agree on cheap charges against Trump Org

Donald Trump Jr. responded to the Trump Organization being hit with charges by calling the outcome a “disgrace,” saying “this is banana republic stuff.”

The Manhattan district attorney’s office, under Democrat Cyrus Vance Jr., charged former President Donald Trump’s organization on Thursday with running a 15-year scheme to help its executives evade taxes by compensating them with fringe benefits that were hidden from the authorities, the New York Times reported.

The investigation was conducted alongside New York Attorney General Letitia James and also resulted in Trump executive Allen Weisselberg being charged with avoiding taxes on $1.7 million in perks that should have been reported as income.

Under investigation for three years, these are the first criminal charges against the former president’s company.

Trump Jr. appeared on “Fox News Primetime” with host Jesse Watters setting the segment up by adding a little context.

“In 2008, the prosecutors didn’t charge any of the bankers that caused the biggest financial collapse in about 100 years,” Watters said. “Not one banker was charged [with] anything, all right? Now they’re trying to lock up an executive for not properly writing off a company car. So they are alleging $100,000 a year in perks over 15 years. This is a two-billion-dollar company – the Trump Organization – so we’re talking about pennies on the dollar, okay? Pennies on the dollar.”

(Video: Fox News)

“This is usually dealt with, from my understanding, maybe a fine, maybe refile the tax, never have they ever charged anybody criminally like this before,” he added.

Trump Jr. pointed out that The New York Times “could not find a single case in the history of the IRS, 230 years, not one case prosecuted criminally for fringe benefits. Not one. But they make sure to say it’s definitely not political.” In further breaking down the numbers, he explained that it “comes out to less than ten grand a year.”

“This is a farce. It’s a disgrace that they spent millions of dollars and years — instead of prosecuting actual murderous thugs on the streets of New York, they go after their political enemies,” he said. “And if we are going to pretend for one second this is anything other than a witch hunt that they can get away with, because where do you go? Another leftist judge in New York who’s going to say, ‘I don’t care, go after your political enemies.'”

“This is going on in America right now. This is banana republic stuff and if our press was even a little bit intellectually honest, they’d be calling it that, because this is not the storyline that they have been sold and told by the AG and the DA over the last few years,” Trump Jr. continued. “This is nonsense and it has to be called out as such.”

As for the political angle, the media was quick to pin the charges on Trump, who was not charged with anything.

“The Trump Organization, always, right from the get-go, was nothing if not an extension and reflection of Trump himself,” Politico declared.

The online political news site also ran a quote from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who flipped on his former client: “There is no separation between Trump and the Trump Organization. For all intents and purposes, he is the Trump Organization.”

The New York Post editorial board was of the same mind as Trump’s eldest son and namesake, characterizing the development as “a travesty, not a triumph.”

“Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s long-running investigation into the Trump Organization just produced … indictments for minor offenses that almost never bring criminal charges,” the board wrote. “But this is Donald Trump (well, his company), so normal standards didn’t apply.”

The board slammed prosecutors for making a show of handcuffing Weisselberg and parading him before reporters, even though the chief financial officer came in on his own.

“Vance acquired years of Trump Organization tax records,” the newspaper said, “yet all he’s found is an alleged failure to pay proper taxes on corporate perks like cars, tuition and apartments. Any other company and it’s a civil suit, an audit, perhaps a hefty fine.

“When it comes to Trump, liberals are giving Wile E. Coyote a bad name. We’ll get him this time! Just you wait!”

Trump’s attorney, Ronald Fischetti, also blasted prosecutors for the same reason.

“In my more than 50 years of practice, never before have I seen a district attorney’s office target a company over employee compensation or fringe benefits,” the attorney said. “It’s ridiculous and outrageous.”

Hell, even MSNBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos pointed out that such cases almost never result in criminal charges.

“In the world of tax prosecution, looking at just federal statistics, of the many, many thousands of federal cases brought, a tiny fraction of those are tax fraud cases,” said Cevallos. “And within that, I’m not entirely sure there were any taxable fringe benefit cases brought in federal court last year.”

“Still looking, the data just came out recently, but I don’t know if there were any,” he continued. “Just to give you an idea, this is not something, taxable fringe benefits, that becomes a criminal tax fraud case very often.”

As seen in the clip above, the analysis left “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski at a loss for words.

Tom Tillison

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