Hillary Clinton may be on doctor's orders to stay home this week, but she's still getting plenty of work done on Twitter. A Newsweek cover story by Kurt Eichenwald argued that Donald Trump could put U.S. national security at risk through his various international business ties and obligations. Subsequently, Clinton unleashed a 20-question tweetstorm, demanding details about Trump's alleged connections with Russian businesses and government. Eichenwald's report noted that he did not find evidence that the Trump Organization had engaged in illegal activity. However, Eichenwald otherwise seemed skeptical of Trump's ability to lead fairly:
A close examination by Newsweek of the Trump Organization, including confidential interviews with business executives and some of its international partners, reveals an enterprise with deep ties to global financiers, foreign politicians and even criminals, although there is no evidence the Trump Organization has engaged in any illegal activities. It also reveals a web of contractual entanglements that could not be just canceled. If Trump moves into the White House and his family continues to receive any benefit from the company, during or even after his presidency, almost every foreign policy decision he makes will raise serious conflicts of interest and ethical quagmires.
Neither Trump nor the Trump Organization are quoted in the article, though Eichenwald noted that they did not respond to a request for a complete list of foreign entities tied to the Trump Organization. After former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski criticized Eichenwald on CNN for allegedly failing to reach out to the Trump Organization, Eichenwald tweeted that he had an off-the-record conversation with the Trump Organization about the article.
In response to Eichenwald's assertion that Trump would be the "most conflicted president in American history," Clinton took to Twitter to demand answers from the Republican nominee. Of all of her questions, though, the most important was number three — which criticized Trump for his failure to release his tax returns.
Trump is the first candidate not to release his tax returns in over 40 years. His explanation — that he cannot release his tax returns while under IRS audit — has been proven false. To many, it only raises the question: does Trump have something to hide?
One big concern relates to how Russian hackers have been accused of attempting to influence the U.S. election, and amid Trump's jarring praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin, many speculated that Trump's tax returns might reveal the extent to which he and his organization are dependent on Russian investment. Clinton questioned Trump's connections with Russia in her tweetstorm, and the tax returns would go a long way in addressing that.
The issues raised by Clinton's tweetstorm are not limited to Russia; she also questioned his reported ties to Iran and suggested that there may be many other foreign connections of which we are still unaware. All 20 of Clinton's questions are intended to make the reader suspicious of Trump's foreign interests.
Earlier this week, I criticized the Clinton campaign for allowing its candidate's "penchant for privacy," as David Axelrod called it, to distract from its policy issues. Trump's refusal to release his tax returns is as big a distraction, if not more so.