Treasury Department officials are planning ways to keep President Donald Trump’s personal tax returns away from Democratic lawmakers.
A handful of top political appointees and lawyers are developing a strategy to counter Democratic subpoenas and prevent the IRS from turning over those documents, four sources told Politico.
Officials will accuse Democrats of seeking the documents to then leak to the public, which would be a felony, and then argue that Trump’s opponents cannot be trusted enough to see the documents in the first place.
“We are worried about leaks,” one source told the website. “Once we share it with any member of Congress, we assume it becomes a public document.”
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will review any request for the returns, which administration officials have been expecting since Democrats took over the House last month, and could potentially reject them and plunge the executive and legislative branches into an extended and unprecedented legal fight.
“What happens if the Treasury secretary just doesn’t answer or sends back a note saying we refuse to do what you are saying?” said George Yin, a former chief of staff on the House Joint Committee on Taxation. “To my knowledge, that has never happened … We are essentially in uncharted territory if he refuses.”
Presidential candidates typically release their tax information during campaigns, but Trump has cited an ongoing IRS audit and shielded his returns from public view.
The Internal Revenue Code gives the three congressional committees responsible for taxes the authority to request returns for any individual or business, but the contents of those documents must remain private.
Federal employees who reveal that information can face felony charges punishable for up to five years in prison.
However, the House Ways and Means Committee could vote to make the returns public, which would then require a full vote in the House.
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White House Bans Fauci From Testifying Before Congress
The White House has informed an Appropriations subcommittee that Dr. Anthony Fauci is not allowed to deliver testify before Congress. Fauci is the most-recognizable medical expert leading the administration’s efforts to battle the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has taken more than 65,000 American lives.
House Democrats “have been informed by an administration official that the White House has blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying,” a spokesperson for the House committee, Evan Hollander, said on Friday, as The Hill reports.
The Committee is investigating President Donald Trump’s and his administration’s response to the pandemic.
The White House later announced it believes it would be “counter-productive” for Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to testify before Congress.
“While the Trump Administration continues its whole-of-government response to COVID-19, including safely opening up America again and expediting vaccine development, it is counter-productive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at Congressional hearings,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement. “We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time.”
Fauci was expected to testify next week.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.
‘Known Liar’: Trump’s Acting National Intelligence Chief Blasted for ‘Attempt to Smear CNN for Purely Political Ends’
President Donald Trump’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) on Thursday posted a statement via Twitter attacking a CNN report by claiming “this story contains inaccurate information.” It did not specify what the “inaccurate” information was.
The ODNI is headed by the Acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, a Trump loyalist who has come under scrutiny for being unqualified to hold that position.
The story the ODNI is attacking is a bombshell that destroys President Donald Trump’s claim that no one could have predicted the impending coronavirus pandemic, along with other administration falsehoods. It says: “US intelligence agencies started tracking coronavirus outbreak in China as early as November.”
As we told CNN earlier today, this story contains inaccurate information. https://t.co/cFb2q1Cvr4
— Office of the DNI (@ODNIgov) April 9, 2020
The CNN report also exposes the Trump administration’s horrific mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic. Recent news reports have shown Trump had 70 days to take action to protect America from the coronavirus but instead chose to wage a PR campaign falsely claiming the nation was not at risk, and that everything was under control. The CNN report extends that timeline by over a month, meaning Trump and his administration had more than three months to take decisive action but did not.
But CNN was not the first to report that US Intel was aware of what would become known as the COVID-19 outbreak in November. ABC News first broke the story one day prior to CNN’s report – noting that U.S. Intelligence officials had briefed the White House as far back as November.
“cataclysmic event” briefed “multiple times” to Defense Intelligence Agency, Joint Staff and White House in 2019 https://t.co/gedbavXcR0
— GeorgeStephanopoulos (@GStephanopoulos) April 8, 2020
Former Pentagon Press Secretary and former CIA Spokesman George Little weighed in, accusing the ODNI of attempting to smear CNN for political purposes.
— George Little (@georgelittledc) April 10, 2020
Politico’s Cybersecurity reporter Eric Geller adds:
the really remarkable thing about the tweet is that it’s intentionally obtuse, designed to cast doubt without having to get into the potentially embarrassing details
— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) April 10, 2020
Economist David Rothschild blasted Grenell as a “partisan hack & known liar.”
I am not fan of @CNN (leaders in false equivalency, a hard-core pro-Republican bias), but they are much more reliable source than the Director of National Intelligence, who is partisan hack & known liar. https://t.co/F8hbQwynEC
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) April 10, 2020
UPDATE: 10:20 AM ET –
MSNBC’s Ken Dilanian just reported out the same story that ABC and CNN have reported as well.
Trump’s Alleged ‘Checkup’ at Walter Reed Was ‘Non-Routine and Scheduled Last Minute’: Report
President Donald Trump’s unexpected trip to Walter Reed medical center did not follow “routine” protocols for a presidential medical exam, CNN’s Jeremy Diamond reported on Sunday.
A source familiar with Trump’s visit to the hospital told Diamond that staff was not notified prior to the president’s visit.
President Donald Trump’s visit to Walter Reed on Saturday did not follow the protocol of a routine presidential medical exam, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Medical staff at Walter Reed did not get a staff-wide notice about a presidential visit to the medical center in Bethesda, Maryland, ahead of Trump’s arrival, according to that source.
During normal circumstances, medical center staff would have received instructions about a “VIP” visit ahead of time.
“That did not happen this time, indicating the visit was a non-routine visit and scheduled last minute,” Diamond reported.
A second source also told CNN that the trip to Walter Reed was “abnormal.”
The White House is on record insisting that the visit was part of the president’s annual “routine” physical exam.
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