The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled President Donald Trump’s taxes must be handed over to the Manhattan District Attorney, in a 7-2 ruling in Trump v. Vance. The Court has ordered the case sent back to the lower court to give Trump an opportunity to try to block portions of his records, but ultimately he must hand over some records.
Separately, also in a 7-2 decision, the court ruled in favor of Congress and against the President. But the court ruled the case should also be sent to a lower court to debate the “significant separation of powers concerns.”
CNN adds, “House subpoenas for President Trump’s financial documents will remain blocked the Supreme Court said.”
The court had consolidated the cases of Trump v. Mazars USA and Trump v. Deutsche Bank, in an attempt to block subpoenas from the House Financial Services, Intelligence, and Oversight Committees.
The rulings are a strong indictment and rebuke of Trump’s attempt to gain unprecedented powers.
But MSNBC’s Pete Williams warns these cases may not be fully resolved until after the election, and that Trump could appeal to the Supreme Court again if he does not win in the lower courts.
MSNBC’s Joyce Vance (no relation to the case) suggests the court has protected the rule of law.
The opinions are both wins for people who believe the expansive view of presidential power promoted by this administration are unwarranted. They are pro-democracy rulings. Anyone who was looking for a quick political shot in the arm ahead of the election will be disappointed.
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) July 9, 2020
Former federal prosecutor Renatto Mariotti puts it all in focus:
1/ It's fair to say that, despite today's rulings, Trump will continue to be able to litigate and "run out the clock" until after the election.
It was hard to imagine a result that would have foreclosed that possibility. Even the Manhattan DA conceded that he could do so.
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) July 9, 2020
3/ The Congressional subpoenas decision is less sweeping, but that was expected, given that Congress is a political body that can use subpoenas as a political tool.
This isn't a dramatic result, but the 7-2 decisions against Trump's absurd arguments are good for the nation. /end
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) July 9, 2020
Trump lost six earlier rulings in attempts to block release of his taxes, which early on he promised to release as soon as a supposed IRS audit had been completed. That promise long ago disappeared. He became the first president since Richard Nixon to not release their taxes before the election.
Before the court ruled economist and political commentator David Rothschild cautioned it “would be disastrous for US” if Congress lost:
In short: If Congress cannot get President to turn over documents. we no longer have checks & balances, we no longer have a republic, we have a King.
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) July 9, 2020
As far back as 2011 Trump had promised to release his taxes if he ever ran for office. His broken promises have been the subject of countless rebukes.
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.
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Burn Bags and Use of Personal Email: Justices’ Security Practices Even Worse Than Leak Investigation Showed
Multiple sources familiar with the court’s operations told CNN that justices often used personal email accounts for sensitive communications, employees used printers that didn’t produce logs and “burn bags” to collect sensitive materials for destruction were often left open and unattended in hallways.
“This has been going on for years,” one former employee said.
Some justices were slow to adopt email technology — they were “not masters of information security protocol,” according to one source — and court employees were afraid to confront them over the security risks.
Supreme Court marshal Gail Curley in her investigative report noted that printer logs intended to track document production were insufficient, but a former employee said employees who had VPN access could print documents from any computer, and remote work during COVID-19 shutdowns and otherwise meant draft opinions could have been taken from the building in violation of court guidelines.
Curley’s report noted that court methods for destroying sensitive documents should be improved, but three employees said striped burn bags supplied to chambers were often left sitting out unattended, and each justice had their own protocols for disposing of court documents.
A source familiar with court security practices said some colleagues stapled burn bags shut, while others filled them to capacity and left them near their desks, and others simply left them sitting in hallways where anyone with access to non-public areas could have taken sensitive materials.
Ethics Complaint Against Sinema Urges Investigation Into Staffers’ Duties and Her Possible ‘Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’
If you are hired to work in Senator Kyrsten Sinema‘s office on Capitol Hill there is a 37-page memo you’ll want to read detailing all the responsibilities her staffers are required to perform, from getting her groceries, calling Verizon and going to her D.C. home to wait for a repair person if the internet goes out, scheduling massages, and ensuring her very detailed airplane requirements are met.
“It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible on each flight,” the memo says, as The Daily Beast first reported in December.
But now a group of 13 non-profit organizations have joined to file an ethics complaint against Senator Sinema (I-AZ), a new Daily Beast report reveals Friday, including details from that 37-page memo which the newly-independent lawmaker directed to be drawn up. Dated Thursday, the complaint is titled: “Letter to Senate Ethics Committee Regarding Reports of Sinema Abusing Taxpayer Dollars.”
“Senate Ethics guidelines stipulate that staff should not be asked to perform personal errands for members. This is an unambiguous ethical boundary,” the group’s complaint reads.
It also points to that 37-page memo, which it says, “indicates that staff are required, as a condition of their jobs, to carry out numerous tasks that are outside the scope of public employment, including doing personal errands for the Senator, carrying out household tasks at her private residence, and advancing their own funds for her personal purchases. It makes unreasonably precise scheduling demands, and former staff have confirmed some of the allegations.”
The allegations continue.
“And, most troubling, it calls on staff members, who are employed and paid by the public and explicitly barred from campaign activity, to schedule and facilitate political fundraisers and meetings with campaign donors, presumably during the workday while they are on the clock and physically on federal property.”
“Senate staff are prohibited under your guidelines from engaging in political activity ‘on Senate time, using Senate equipment or facilities.’ While you have not prohibited campaign activity outside work hours, the plain language of the memo clearly implies that Sen. Sinema expects her staff to carry out these scheduling tasks during the workday. And these tasks may separately violate Senate Rule 41.1, which explicitly prohibits Senate employees from ‘solicit[ing]’ campaign funds.”
The complaint also alleges that “Sen. Sinema required her staff to schedule three physical therapy and massage sessions a week related to her training for athletic competitions, and to tightly manage her dietary schedule — while allotting only a 30-minute period on Wednesdays for meetings with the constituents she represents.”
The carefully-worded complaint adds, “the allegations paint a picture of a Senator who is not only unresponsive to her constituents, but also disrespectful and even abusive to her employees and wholly unconcerned about her obligations under the law.”
The Daily Beast has posted a copy of the complaint here.
You can read The Beast’s full report here.
Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report
When he left for Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. George Santos also appears to have left a string of unpaid traffic violation fines and fees in two states, including red light, double parking, and overtime parking citations totaling thousands of dollars.
The embattled serial liar and freshman New York GOP lawmaker “may owe more than $3,400 in unpaid citations, according to records from New York City and Florida,” CBS News reports.
Included in that total is $1,299.10 from Florida for toll violations that “racked up late fees and were ultimately sent to collections agencies.”
It appears that in November of 2016, as soon as he got his New York driver’s license after having one in Florida, a car previously ticketed via a red light camera whose plates match one registered to Santos “began piling up citations in New York City — 29 in the next two and a half years, according to city government records, which do not identify the drivers of vehicles being ticketed.”
“More than $1,800 in payments were made for 17 citations, but another 12 remain unpaid, with $2,142.61 still due, according to city records.”
CBS News also points to a New York Post report from January revealing “a Nissan Rogue driven frequently by Santos in recent months had been issued speeding tickets at least five times since he was elected on Nov. 8, ‘including four times in school zones.'”
Santos is under numerous state and federal investigations that span the gamut from campaign finance to allegedly stolen charity funds donated to save the life of a veteran’s service dog. The dog died after the vet could not afford to pay for the operation.
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