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Trump got ‘unusual’ payments from Vegas hotel in 2016: NYT

In the latest revelation of the President's tax records, the New York Times reported on Friday that Trump received $21 million in “highly unusual” payments from a Nevada hotel in 2016 as his presidential campaign was struggling for cash. Rick Newman breaks down the report.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: Rick, real quick, we want to bring up another story that we're just getting. "New York Times" out with a new report regarding President Trump's taxes. Now, this report is focusing on $21 million in payments from a Las Vegas hotel it looks like back in 2016. And what's interesting here about this report is that these payments, they're being described as highly unusual. They're also being described as-- or just focused on, I should say, the timing, because the timing of the payment is key here, because this is when President Trump's campaign back in 2016 was struggling for cash.

RICK NEWMAN: Right, so this is a new revelation from "The New York Times," which got those financial documents for Trump's records going back about 20 years. So they're saying that they were able to identify a payment in 2016 that went from this joint venture Trump has with a casino operator in Las Vegas. And somehow, this payment went through what sounds like kind of a shell company that didn't have any other transactions. And it ended up in Trump's pocket for $21 million, as you pointed out.

And then around the same time or a short time after that, Trump was able to give-- or lend his campaign $10 million. So it appears that that $10 million came from the $21 million, which came from this-- what "The Times" is kind of characterizing as a fishy source. Now, they can't make the direct connection. So there are still a few things we don't know here.

But there are two possible implications that are problematic for Trump. Number one, no taxes were paid on that $21 million. It was declared as a business expense. But it's not clear what the heck kind of expense that was. So if it wasn't a business expense, there should be some kind of taxes paid on it.

And it also may have violated campaign finance violations if it went into his campaign but the source of it was not correctly declared. So let's keep in mind the New York City district attorney is aggressively going after Trump, possibly investigating tax fraud. That's what all these appeals to the Supreme Court for Trump's financial records have been about. And also, the state of New York is looking at some similar things. So even if there is never any federal investigation into Trump's tax payments, there are ongoing investigations, live investigations at New York City and New York state that could be in a lot of trouble for Trump once he's no longer president.