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Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches from His Father

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Alaeldein Mohammed

Professor Luann Henken

Composition 1 ENC1101

October 16th 2018

The New York Times is a daily newspaper based in New York City. The sentence below was taken from an article published on October 2, 2018 and written by David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner titled “Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From his Father.

The sentences read: According to tax experts, it is unlikely that Mr. Trump would be vulnerable to criminal prosecution for helping his parents evade taxes, because the acts happened too long ago and are past the statute of limitations. There is no time limit, however, on civil fines for tax fraud.  

These are declarative sentences written as truth and could have been combined in one sentence.  The only punctuation are commas to separate a dependent and independent clause and to set off the interjection “however,” and periods to end the sentences.  Since the New York Times is a trusted news source and not a tabloid, its editors are constrained outside of the Op-ed section to stick to statements of fact or direct quotes rather than speculation.  This sentence, independent of the rest of the article, simply states that those who are considered experts about the tax evasion activity have deduced that regardless of the illegality of the acts, the statute of limitation has passed and therefore, Mr. Trump will probably not be arrested.  However, because the Times obviously does not want Mr. Trump to avoid punishment totally, the writers added the second sentence to let readers know that he could still be guilty of tax fraud that could require he pay fines.  It does not qualify who would sue or what those fines might be, leaving the door open for reader speculation.  

Should the same sentences have been combined and punctuated differently in a less politically-constricted publication, it might have read: According to tax experts, it is unlikely that Mr. Trump would be vulnerable to “criminal  prosecution” for helping his parents evade taxes (because the acts happened too long ago and are past the statute of limitations), however there is no time limit on civil fines for “tax fraud.”

This sentence implies that the tax experts have articulated that Mr. Trump has committed a crime that would have been prosecutable were in within the statute of limitations by putting the words “criminal prosecution” within quotation marks which makes them stand out, possibly as an actual quote from an expert.  Additionally, by leaving the word “vulnerable” outside of the quotation marks, the phrase “criminal prosecution” sounds like a judgment. Likewise, by putting the phrase “because….limitations” in parentheses, it intimates that not only was the tax evasion deliberate, but withholding such information was a deliberate act to avoid prosecution.  By combining the second sentence with the first it is suggested that the two crimes are intimately connected and although not prosecutable for tax evasion because of a technicality, Mr. Trump is still guilty of and prosecutable for the lesser crime of tax fraud, as both crimes are confined within quotation marks.

The second sentence was reported on right wing RealClearPolitics and was

reported by Tim Hains on February 18, 2018 with the title “Limbaugh on Russia Probe: “Obama is the Primary Person Being Protected Here.”

This sentence reads: In an interview with 'Fox News Sunday' host Chris Wallace,

syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh said the "primary" objective of the Mueller probe is to protect Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama from prosecution for their effort to "destroy Trump."

        RealClearPolitics is Limbaugh’s flagship to promote his right-wing agenda and he has no constraints as to verifiability.  Divorced from the entire script, the sentence in question uses quotation marks around “primary” and “destroy Trump” to make them stand out as the most important ideas to be taken from the sentence.  There are also single quotes around Fox News Sunday to indicate that it is an independent television show and a comma after Wallace that separates the introductory phrase, which explains where the situation took place, from the rest of the sentence that is the gist of the statement.  And, there is a period at the end of the sentence. This sentence, because of its use of quotation marks, infers that there is only one reason for the Mueller Investigation and that is to protect the leading Democrats from immanent federal prosecution that would result from their efforts to “destroy” the president.  It implies that they (Clinton and Obama) were/are involved in illegal activities that except for the probe would be prosecutable.  

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