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Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
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House Democrats prepare case to request Trump tax returns

House Democrats prepare case to request Trump tax returns
Democrats are crafting a request to send to the IRS and say they will "take all necessary steps" to obtain the president's returns.
March 1, 2019, 4:52 PM EST
By Heidi Przybyla

WASHINGTON — The top tax-writing committee in the House is readying a request for years of President Donald Trump’s personal tax returns that is expected to land at the Internal Revenue Service as early as the next few weeks, according to congressional aides involved in the process. And Democrats are prepared to "take all necessary steps," including litigation, in order to obtain them.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., has asked the committee’s attorneys to prepare the request, according to two aides involved in the process. Neal has also contacted the chairs of several other House investigative committees, including Oversight and Government Reform, Financial Services, Intelligence and Judiciary, asking them to provide detailed arguments for why they need the president’s tax returns to conduct their probes.

"Every day the American people and Congress learn more about President Trump’s improprieties, from conflicts of interest to influence peddling, potential tax evasion and violations of the Constitution — all roads leading back to President Trump’s finances," said Ashley Etienne, spokeswoman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"These improprieties, and the lack of transparency around them, give the House legitimate legislative, oversight and legal reasons to review the President’s tax returns. We will take all necessary steps, including litigation, if necessary, to obtain them." Etienne confirmed that the committees are working together to "ensure the House is able to present the strongest possible case."

Ways and Means is the only congressional committee with the authority to directly make the request for Trump’s returns. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose department has authority over the IRS, will decide whether or not to grant the request.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 1, 2019, 07:08 PM (2 replies)

Here's what Allen Weisselberg, the Trump family's longtime money man, could tell Congress


Here’s what Allen Weisselberg, the Trump family’s longtime money man, could tell Congress
According to Michael Cohen, Weisselberg knows where the bodies are buried.
Danielle McLean
Mar 1, 2019, 3:09 pm


Weisselberg likely knows Trump’s business practices better than anyone: He started as an accountant for Trump’s father, Fred Trump, a real estate developer, in the 1970s and has held financial roles within the Trump family’s inner circle since. Weisselberg helped run Trump’s failed casino in Atlantic City in the early 2000s. He was also treasurer of the president’s charitable organization, the Trump Foundation, which dissolved in 2018 after prosecutors found it was used to fatten Trump’s business and campaign coffers.

The office of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating the foundation for receiving improper donations from foreigners, and lawmakers, including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), have signaled they want to initiate an investigation after Cohen’s Oversight Committee testimony. Cohen said Trump used foundation funds to improperly purchase a portrait of himself and inflate its selling price.

The Trump Organization and its finances are also under investigation by the Southern District of New York. Prosecutors are looking into whether company executives may have violated campaign finance laws, the New York Times reported. Weisselberg has reportedly been a focus of that inquiry.

Weisselberg, according to Cohen, signed some of the checks that reimbursed Cohen for hush-money payments
made to women who claimed they had affairs with the president. Cohen also said the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and President Trump himself signed such checks.

Cohen was sentenced in December to three years in jail after pleading guilty to what the judge described as “veritable smorgasbord of criminal conduct” — including tax dodging, lying to banks, and campaign-finance violations related to those hush-money payments. Weisselberg was granted immunity for his cooperation in that case.

Cohen made other claims about illegal business practices by Trump through the Trump Foundation and Trump Organization, which Weisselberg could have insight into.

Cohen claimed Trump directed the Trump Foundation to refund a fake bidder he paid to purchase a portrait of himself at an auction in the Hamptons in 2013. He also claimed that Trump inflated his net worth to lenders, inflated property values to insurers, and deflated property values for tax dodging purposes.

Weisselberg, along with Eric Trump and Don Jr., has also managed Trump’s private trust.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 1, 2019, 06:37 PM (4 replies)

Chris Wallace Rips Trump: 'Why on Earth Would You Side With Kim Jong Un Over the Warmbier Family?'

Chris Wallace Rips Trump: ‘Why on Earth Would You Side With Kim Jong Un Over the Warmbier Family?’
by Julio Rosas | Mar 1st, 2019, 12:15 pm 2479

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace expressed his confusion and dismay at President Donald Trump saying he believes North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un did not know about the torture of Otto Warmbier.

“This strikes me as a completely unforced error by the president and the White House. Why on an issue like this, there’s no question that Otto Warmbier was brutally tortured, basically killed by the North Koreans. Why on Earth would you side with Kim Jong Un over the Warmbier family and the sense of outrage,” he asked.

“First of all, there is a real question whether the captivity and the incarceration of an American is something that the dictator of North Korea wouldn’t know about,” Wallace continued. “But even if that’s true why would you want to get into this fight? The fact is the North Korean regime was responsible. You’re getting pushback from the Warmbier family. You’re getting pushback from the president’s former U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley.”

“I just don’t understand why you would even get into this and make it sound like in any way you are siding with Kim and saying that he is somehow to be held blameless for what happened to Otto Warmbier,” he concluded.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 1, 2019, 04:49 PM (11 replies)

Frank Rich: Are Foreign Countries Benefiting From Jared Kushner's Security Clearance?

the national circus 1:38 P.M.
Are Foreign Countries Benefiting From Jared Kushner’s Security Clearance?
By Frank Rich
Most weeks, New York Magazine writer-at-large Frank Rich speaks with contributor Alex Carp about the biggest stories in politics and culture. Today, new revelations about Jared Kushner’s security clearance, the fallout from the Michael Cohen hearing, and Mark Meadows’s birtherism.

According to a report in the New York Times, Jared Kushner received his top-secret security clearance because of an “order” by Donald Trump, spurring the White House counsel and chief of staff to compose memos at the time outlining their concerns. In previous interviews with the press where they had been asked about this directly, Trump and Ivanka both seem to have lied. Should Kushner be forced to resign?

Surely you are not suggesting that Jared resign before he unveils his Middle East peace plan! In any case, there may be no way to force any of these grifters out of the White House short of handcuffs. It has long been my contention that Jared’s subconscious ambition is to follow his father, Charles, into prison. Every revelation brings him closer to his goal, starting as far back as his attempt to set up a secret communications back channel between the Trump transition and the Russians to circumvent America’s intelligence agencies. His and the Kushner family’s international dealings to secure financing for their struggling real-estate ventures since Inauguration Day have repeatedly raised the question of which country he is actually serving from his perch in the White House. Russia? Saudi Arabia? Qatar? China? Certainly there is nothing in Kushner’s record to suggest that he is loyal to the United States of America.

This latest bombshell raises a whole bunch of ancillary questions. Indeed, why did Ivanka and Jared’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, appear to lie about his devious path to his security clearance? And what about John Kelly, that good soldier who was widely praised in Washington as the “adult” in the Trump circle? We’ve already learned that he is a racist and a nativist from various incidents during his craven tenure in the administration, but now we have to wonder if he, Michael Flynn–style, betrayed his country by facilitating Jared’s access to intelligence at Trump’s insistence. He could have protested more forcibly at the time, and even now, in disgrace and retirement, he still remains silent. If Jared is a mole for a foreign power who damaged American interests, Kelly will bear partial responsibility for activating him. A plea that he was just following the boss’s orders will not get him off the hook.

But let’s not let this episode distract from the bigger picture of what Jared has been doing while armed with classified secrets and his White House role as de facto chief of staff. The three most bizarre and mysterious man-crushes in American history may be his for Mohammed bin Salman, and his father-in-law’s for Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin. We don’t know if MBS has written Jared love letters as Kim has Trump (or vice versa), but this week he had another furtive assignation with the Saudi prince, as if the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi never happened. Exactly what business — whether Kushner’s or America’s — is on the table when they canoodle? In a similar vein, the president, despite being embarrassed by the collapse of the Hanoi nuclear talks that were supposed to secure his Nobel Peace Prize, still went weirdly out his way to clear Kim of any responsibility for the brutal murder of the American student Otto Warmbier, who had been imprisoned and tortured in North Korea. Along with the other ways that the Trump operation resembles a gangster enterprise, we must always include the reality that its criminal allies are piling up corpses as surely as associates of the Gotti family once did.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 1, 2019, 04:44 PM (4 replies)

House Democrats Immediately Demand All Records On Kushner Security Clearance


Posted on Fri, Mar 1st, 2019 by Jason Easley
House Democrats Immediately Demand All Records On Kushner Security Clearance

House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has demanded that Trump immediately turn over all records related to Jared Kushner’s security clearance.

In a letter to the White House, Cummings wrote, “I am now writing a final time to request your voluntary cooperation with this investigation. I ask that you begin producing all responsive documents immediately, and I request that you begin scheduling transcribed interviews with each witness identified by the Committee. Please provide your response to the Committee by March 4, 2019.”

Read the full letter @ link~

Cummings has been trying to get the documents and all related correspondence about Kushner’s security clearance for nearly two months. The White House has continually stonewalled him, and it is clear that he has had enough.

Rep. Cummings wants to know why the officials did not want to give Kushner a security clearance, “Today, I am writing in light of grave new reports that—just eight days after the Committee launched this investigation—President Trump may have falsely claimed that he played no role in the security clearance process. If true, these new reports raise grave questions about what derogatory information career officials obtained about Mr. Kushner to recommend denying him access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets, why President Trump concealed his role in overruling that recommendation, why General Kelly and Mr. McGahn both felt compelled to document these actions, and why your office is continuing to withhold key documents and witnesses from this Committee. ”

Democrats are dropping the hammer on Trump

The country has been returned to the two eternal questions that dominate this White House. What is Trump hiding, and why is the president lying? The Republican-controlled House turned a blind eye to the national security risk posed by Jared Kushner. Democrats aren’t going to let Trump get away with jeopardizing the nation. House Democrats want answers, and the best news of all is that they now have the power to get them.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 1, 2019, 04:32 PM (19 replies)

Hanoi Summit Failed Because Trump Refuses to Prep

Hanoi Summit Failed Because Trump Refuses to Prep
Trump hates to prepare and likes to negotiate from the gut. The Hanoi humiliation with Kim Jong Un was the direct result.
Samantha Vinograd
02.28.19 10:37 AM ET

Nothing about the Hanoi summit’s outcome is a surprise. The writing was on the wall, the president just refused to read it.

President Donald Trump’s failure to engage in the most basic preparatory work for this summit—and his longstanding penchant for putting personal convictions ahead of his experts’ opinions—meant that there was no way that he could have come out of this summit with a denuclearization deal.

I helped prep President Barack Obama for high-level meetings, and President Trump’s failure to engage in the first step of any presidential meeting prep was a strong indicator that this summit was doomed to fail.

Typically, summit prep begins with the president and his intelligence community agreeing on a baseline assessment of the state-of-play, in this case the status of North Korea’s nuclear program and Kim Jong Un’s intentions. The intelligence community’s assessment that North Korea will not denuclearize, the open-source analysis that Pyongyang is still proliferating weapons of mass destruction, and reporting that North Korea is taking extra steps to disburse its arsenal seemingly fell on deaf ears.

In January President Trump said that his intelligence community was wrong on North Korea and there’s reporting that he put more faith in Vladimir Putin’s North Korea analysis (which is never unbiased) underplaying North Korea’s missile threat than he did in the U.S. intelligence community’s analysis.

Without presidential agreement on a baseline assessment on North Korea’s program and Kim’s intentions, it was clear that President Trump couldn’t have been fully prepping with his own, home team. Absent an agreed upon assessment, there was no way to identify a realistic goal for the summit or a strategy to achieve it.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 1, 2019, 06:57 AM (22 replies)

Brian Williams Could Replace Chris Matthews on MSNBC: Report


Brian Williams Could Replace Chris Matthews on MSNBC: Report

According to a new report from Page Six, Brian Williams could be up for a big promotion at MSNBC in the near future. The former NBC Nightly News anchor, who was removed from that position following a scandal surrounding his exaggerated memories of experiencing combat in Iraq, has spent the past few years hosting 11th Hour with Brian Williams. In that late-night time slot, he consistently gets more viewers than both Fox News and CNN. That ratings success has led to new talk that Williams could end up replacing veteran host Chris Matthews in the 7 p.m. hour on MSNBC. This February, Matthews’ Hardball rated last in the coveted 25-54 news demo behind Fox and CNN. Along with Rachel Maddow, Williams is expected to lead the network’s 2020 coverage, as he did on Election Night in 2016 and 2018.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 1, 2019, 06:51 AM (5 replies)
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