While there are some financial subjects on which the media has dared to grill the billionaire — ABC’s George Stephanopoulos last month got Trump to deliver a blunt “no” when he asked about the Republican nominee-apparent’s repeated refusal to release his recent tax returns, something every other recent presidential candidate has done — there has been remarkably little interest shown in some of Trump’s less-than-savory connections.
One of the exceptions is Johnston, who, over the course of 27 years, has had ample occasion to pay attention to Trump’s finances and mob ties. He was not the first investigative reporter to do so. In 1992, Johnston favorably reviewed the longtime Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett’s highly unauthorized biography, Trump: The Deals and the Downfall, which, in Johnston’s words, “asserts that throughout his adult life, Donald Trump has done business with major organized-crime figures and performed favors for their associates.” As Barrett said not long after Trump declared for the presidency last year, Trump’s life “intertwines with the underworld.” Barrett updates his treatment of Trump in a new digital edition called Trump, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, the Reinvention.
As Trump cements his leads atop the polls, questions about how he made his billions, and who helped him make them, are starting to take center stage.
Barrett’s quote appeared in a July 31, 2015, CNN online piece by investigative reporter Chris Frates, who added:
“The allegations are getting new scrutiny as Trump runs for president, largely on his record as a successful and extraordinarily wealthy businessman. As Trump cements his leads atop the polls, questions about how he made his billions, and who helped him make them, are starting to take center stage”.
While the story ran on CNN’s website, it never got any air time on the cable network. I tried to ask Frates why his investigation didn’t get onto TV, but didn’t hear back from him. In any event, nearly 11 months later, those questions about Trump’s financial life have still not reached that elusive center stage. The question is why.