To tamp down the furor over President Donald Trump’s tax returns, which the president has successfully concealed from the media, his political opponents, and the American people, Trump’s tax lawyers have released a statement that not only didn’t help but may have made things worse. Essentially. Trump has not made any money from business deals with Russians nor does he owe any Russians money, with “few exceptions.” That last caveat had many people tittering on social media, removing any beneficial impact the statement may have had.

What are the 'few exceptions?'

To be fair, the statement actually lists the “few exceptions” according to Hot Air. They include $10 million for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant held in Moscow that year, capital gains on some Florida property sold to an unnamed Russian billionaire, and Trump merchandise and rentals to hotels and resorts sold to Russians. On the face of it, the stated exceptions do not constitute any evidence that Donald Trump is in the pay of the Russians. But then another question arose.

What is a Russian?

The Hot Air article quoted a lawyer named Wendy Thurm who asked, in effect, “What is a Russian?” To most people, a Russian is a citizen of the Russian Federation or, at least, someone who was born there.

But the term “Russian” has certain legal definitions. Thurm raises the possibility that Trump had dealings with shell companies financed by Russians. She also raises the possibility that Trump owed Russians money at one time that has been subsequently paid off.

What is a Manchurian Candidate?

The upshot is that the statement is not going to satisfy anyone who thinks that Donald Trump is Vladimir Putin’s Manchurian Candidate.

Indeed, one wonders if the release of the tax returns would serve to tamp down the rampant conspiracy theories that have been swirling about. When MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow breathlessly revealed a copy of Trump’s return for a particular year, all they proved was that the president made a lot of money and paid a lot of taxes. This performance was too much, even for Trump hating Stephen Colbert, who left off slamming the president to mercilessly mock the cable news talking head.

This leaves us with the horrible realization that Trump cannot prove that he is not Putin’s slave, but his accusers cannot demonstrate that he is. The matter has become like the faked moon landing, 9/11 being an inside job, and Obama being born in Kenya, a conspiracy theory that cannot die. Of course, some enterprising soul might walk up to the president and say, “Donald, why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?” If his eyes glaze over and he reaches for a deck of cards, we have him.