WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Monday he soon will release a report detailing his personal finances and declared secret talks he launched with Taliban leaders are “dead.”
“As far as I’m concerned they’re dead,” he said on the White House’s South Lawn as he departed for a campaign rally in 2020 battleground North Carolina. “They thought they had to kill people to put themselves a little bit better negotiating position. And when they did, they killed 12 people. One happened to be a great American soldier. … You can’t do that with me.”
The president also took a jab at the Obama administration and signaled the U.S. is again stepping up the fight in Afghanistan just 2 days before the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. He said American forces are hitting Taliban targets “harder in the last four days than they’ve been hit in the last 10 years.”
He denied reports that Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser John Bolton recommended he not go through with weekend talks with Afghanistan and Taliban leaders that he ultimately canceled.
“In terms of advisers, I took my own advice,” he said over the hum of Marine One’s engine. “It was my idea, and it was my idea to terminate it.”
The ever-defiant commander in chief also defended those scuttled summit plans at the presidential retreat, saying: “The alternative was the White House.”
Some GOP and Democratic lawmakers, including House Foreign Affairs Committee member Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, have criticized Trump’s intentions to host Taliban officials because they were allied with al-Qaeda for so long and provided the terror group refuge to plan and carry out the 9/11 attacks.
On his finances, House Democrats have been after more than a half-decade of his tax returns since he took office.
But even since taking over the chamber and its investigative panels in January, the Democratic-run committees have been unable to obtain them.
Trump claims he has been under audit by the IRS for years but the agency has long declined comment.
“I’m going to give out my financial condition,” he said, promising the data before Election Day next November. Trump said the wealth numbers will be much “higher” than expected amid some experts’ calculations he is worth less than he long has claimed.
The president said the report will show he is so wealthy he does not need revenue from his hotels. The claim comes amid criticism over other governments, Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Air Force personnel staying at his properties. Trump also has floated the idea of holding a G-7 summit next summer at his struggling Doral property in Florida.
The Doral matter was mentioned in a House Judiciary Committee statement released earlier Monday announcing it will hold hearings about potential procedural moves toward possible articles of impeachment against the president.
Trump’s remarks came a few days after the Democratic House Ways and Means Committee revealed it had received “credible allegations” from a federal employee of potentially “inappropriate efforts to influence” the IRS’ mandatory audit program of presidential tax returns.
A handful of other House panels also are looking into the president’s finances. None, however, have released much information.
(Doug Sword contributed to this report.)
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