It’s April, which means the deadline for all Americans to file their tax returns is fast approaching. President Donald Trump, however, is facing another, much more daunting deadline: The day his taxes must be turned over not to the IRS, but from the IRS to Democrats in Congress.
Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, has instructed the IRS to hand over six years of the president’s taxes, as well as that of eight of his business entities, by April 10.
And as the deadline approaches, the president is clearly getting desperate.
Initially, he told reporters that he is “not inclined” to hand over his taxes, citing his bogus excuse that he doesn’t want to release them while he’s under audit. Then, on Friday, an administration official told CNN that the committee’s demands will be fought all the way to the Supreme Court, saying, “”This is a hill and people would be willing to die on it.” (It’s not clear why the official was granted anonymity to defend the president on this matter.)
And then Trump’s lawyer sent a letter to the Treasury Department, saying:
If the IRS acquiesces to Chairman Neal’s request, it would set a dangerous precedent. As Secretary Mnuchin recently told Congress, he is “not aware that there has ever been a request for an elected official’s tax returns.” For good reason. It would be a gross abuse of power for the majority party to use tax returns as a weapon to attack, harass, and intimidate their political opponents. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, the ensuing tit-for-tat will do lasting damage to our nation.
“Our firm welcomes the opportunity to represent President Trump in his capacity as a taxpayer,” said lawyer William Consovoy, who is handling the matter for the president. “The requests for his private tax information are not consistent with governing law, do not advance any proper legislative purpose, and threaten to interfere with the ordinary conduct of audits. We are confident that this misguided attempt to politicize the administration of the tax laws will not succeed.”
It was a ridiculous argument on many grounds. First, the chair sent the instructions to the IRS, and the law is clear that that the agency must comply. Second, one of the main reasons this is an unusual step is that, since President Richard Nixon, every president has released their taxes during the campaign. And third, Trump already promised to release his taxes but then he reneged and provided a transparently false excuse. And he compounded this betrayal by keeping stakes in his sprawling business interests, raising a disturbing specter of his conflicts of interest in foreign policy and beyond.
Congress undoubtedly has a legitimate interest in conducting oversight of these matters. But Neal’s request was even more specific — he said he wants the returns to as a part of his committee’s evaluation of presidential audits.
“There’s unconditional black letter law that says the committee can request any tax returns it wants in writing and the Treasury Dept ‘shall furnish’ them (in closed executive session unless the taxpayer otherwise consents), but hey go off anyway new counsel,” noted legal analyst Luppe Luppen.
Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance noted: “The request went from Congress to the IRS. Trump is not a party to that proceeding & should have no more opportunity to intervene than any other private citizen. But, this does demonstrate the lengths he’ll go to to keep you from seeing his taxes.”
It’s clear Trump is desperate not to have his taxes released. It’s not clear if that’s because there’s something truly damaging in them, something humiliating, or simply that he relishes a fight that can waste his opponents’ time and energy. But at some point, we are likely to find out.
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Madison Cawthorn Retains High-Powered GOP Attorney for Case Seeking to Disqualify Him as an Insurrectionist
U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is facing several six challengers to his seat in the House of Representatives this year. Two Democrats will face off, with one becoming their party’s nominee. Four Republicans are primarying the far-right freshman lawmaker, one of those five will go on to face the Democratic challenger.
But Congressman Cawthorn is facing an even great challenge, and he’s taking it seriously.
A group of attorneys is looking at both the 14 Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and North Carolina law, in an attempt to have him declared an insurrectionist and therefore unfit to serve.
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress,” the 14th Amendment reads, “who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress…shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
The New York Times Tuesday night reports “Mr. Cawthorn, 26, who is in his first term in Congress, has denounced the case as an egregious misreading of the 14th Amendment, but he has retained James Bopp Jr., one of the most prominent conservative campaign lawyers in the country, as counsel.”
Bopp, known as being one of the attorneys who won the democracy-damning Citizens United case at the Supreme Court, flooding American politics with millions (billions?) in dark money. He’s also been a vice-chair of the RNC, and is recognized as a top conservative lawyer.
The Times adds that “North Carolina’s election statute offers challengers a remarkably low bar to question a candidate’s constitutional qualifications for office. Once someone establishes a ‘reasonable suspicion or belief’ that a candidate is not qualified, the burden shifts to the officeseeker to prove otherwise.”
Other Republicans are likely worried, which should have some wondering who’s footing the bill for Bopp.
“If Mr. Cawthorn is labeled an ‘insurrectionist,’ that could have broader ramifications. Other Republican House members, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, face similar accusations, but their state’s election laws present higher hurdles for challenges to their candidate qualifications. If one of their colleagues is disqualified for his role in encouraging the rioters, those hurdles might become easier to clear.”
Read the entire Times report here.
Chasten Buttigieg Slams Florida GOP’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill for ‘Pushing LGBTQ Families Back Into the Closet’
Former school teacher Chasten Buttigieg is slamming Florida legislation dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would ban discussion of LGBTQ issues in public schools under the guise of “parental rights,” saying it will “kill kids.”
Appearing on CNN Buttigieg asked, “what kind of country we’re building, or in Florida, what kind of state are you building where you’re essentially pushing kids back into the closet, you’re saying we can’t talk about you? We can’t even talk about your families.”
“And you know, as a kid who grew up for 18 years, being told, ‘you don’t belong, something about you is wrong.’ Sometimes you take that trauma to heart and unfortunately there are a lot of kids in this country who do the worst because we tell them, ‘something about you is twisted and you don’t belong here.'”
Buttigieg railed against the bill over the weekend, posting a tweet pointing to a Trevor Project study that he says found “42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide last year.”
This will kill kids, @RonDeSantisFL. You are purposefully making your state a harder place for LGBTQ kids to survive in. In a national survey (@TrevorProject), 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide last year. Now they can’t talk to their teachers? https://t.co/VtfFLPlsn3
— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chasten) January 20, 2022
The bill, sponsored by freshman Republican state Rep. Joe Harding, in part reads: “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
Buttigieg, who is married to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, said, “if kids come into the classroom Monday morning, and they’re all talking about their weekends, and hypothetically a kid like mine says, ‘I had the best weekend with my dad. We went to the zoo, we went and got ice cream,’ is the teacher supposed to say, ‘hey, we don’t talk about things like that in this classroom’? You know, and not only what does that do to kids like mine, but also do to a kid in the classroom [who is] starting to realize that they’re different.”
JUST NOW: “”What kind of state are you building where you’re essentially pushing kids back into the closet and saying we can’t talk about you? … [Kids] take that trauma to heart.”@Chasten on what is being called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in FL.pic.twitter.com/M1Qiz9Zt9f
— John Berman (@JohnBerman) January 25, 2022
Image by Pete for America via Flickr
Psaki Schools Doocy on Trump’s Infamous Twitter Tantrums After He Whines About ‘Hashtag’ Diplomacy
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded to a question from Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy on Tuesday by reminding him that former President Donald Trump had a history of conducting diplomacy through tantrums on Twitter.
At a White House press briefing, Doocy asked why Secretary of State Antony Blinken had expressed support for Ukraine on Twitter with the hashtag “#IStandWithUkraine.”
“Has that ever worked in stopping an authoritarian regime from doing anything, a hashtag?” Doocy wondered.
“I will have to say that, unlike the last administration, we don’t think Twitter is the only means of engaging or negotiating or discussing important topics,” Psaki replied. “But it is important for us to convey to the Ukrainian people who do view commentary through a range of forums.”
Watch the video below from Fox News.
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