Attorney General Bill Barr told the House Appropriations Committee that he would be in a position to release special counsel Robert Mueller’s report “within a week,” and that it would be color-coded and contain explanatory notes for redactions, Axios reports.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), “whose $18 million fund-raising haul has solidified his status as a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, said that he would release 10 years of tax returns by Tax Day on Monday and acknowledged that he has joined the ranks of the millionaires he has denounced for years,” the New York Times reports.
Explained Sanders: “I wrote a best-selling book. If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.”
Good. I have criticized him mercilessly for not releasing them for years, and thus I will now credit him for doing it. And Bernie, no one cares if you are a millionaire. Just so long as you are not cheating on your taxes, or receiving compensation from Goldman Sachs (just because that would be rich, pun intended). To all the other candidates in this race who have not yet released their returns (I think Harris, Gillibrand and Warren have released some), snap to it.
I still have some problems with Bernie though, namely his Magic Wand theory….
“The White House is working on plans to make it harder for immigrants at the border to receive asylum by forcing them to do more to prove they have a credible fear of returning home and putting border agents in charge of the interview process,” NBC News reports.
“The strategy is part of an overall crackdown on asylum-seekers that is designed to grant fewer of them access to the United States. The administration has already tried to make it harder for asylum-seekers through a variety of measures, most of which have been stopped by courts.”
President personally told border agents in California last week not let migrants in, CNN reports. Said Trump: “Tell them we don’t have the capacity. If judges give you trouble, say, ‘Sorry, judge, I can’t do it. We don’t have the room.’”
“After the President left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the President said they would take on personal liability. You have to follow the law, they were told.”
“Herman Cain is in deep trouble. And he hasn’t even been formally nominated to the Federal Reserve yet,” Politico reports. “Senate Republicans are warning the White House that the 2012 presidential candidate will face one of the most difficult confirmation fights of Donald Trump’s presidency and are making a behind-the-scenes play to get the president to back off.”
President Trump recently told senior adviser Stephen Miller that he’s “in charge” of his administration’s immigration policy, the Wall Street Journal reports. Trump and Miller reportedly want to reinstate the zero-tolerance policy, which received immense backlash last year. Miller reportedly told officials to “get in line” with the president’s policy vision.
Associated Press: “During a meeting with senior aides on the last Thursday in March, Trump demanded drastic action to make good on the threat he’d tweeted that morning: Shut the southern border. Curbing illegal immigration was his signature issue, he railed. Why couldn’t he deliver?”
“Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen urged the president to reconsider. Her agency had already diverted hundreds of border agents away from certain crossings to process migrant families elsewhere, creating what would soon become considerable bottlenecks. Closing ports completely, she reasoned, would only encourage migrants to cross elsewhere — illegally.”
“Trump wasn’t having it. Shut the ports at El Paso, Texas, at noon tomorrow, he ordered. End of meeting.”
“The directive set off a frantic behind-the scenes push to get Trump to change his mind, and he ultimately relented. But the episode launched a turbulent 12-day stretch that would lead to the eventual resignation of Nielsen, the potential dismissal of much of her agency’s top leadership and the beginning of a new phase in which immigration hard-liners at the White House are determined to wield considerably more influence over Homeland Security.”
New York Times: “Facing growing questions about its employment of undocumented workers, the Trump Organization has quietly begun to take steps to eliminate any remaining undocumented workers from its labor pool in South Florida.”
“In March, seven veteran maintenance workers at Trump National Jupiter… were informed that the work force was being reorganized. Workers had until March 22 to provide proof that they were legally eligible to work in the United States, they were told. One by one, the workers — from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico — began to depart. Only one of the seven was a legal resident.”
Dana Millbank: “Nobody debased herself quite as often as Nielsen did in her quest to keep the job, defending Trump after the ‘shithole countries’ and Charlottesville scandals, enduring frequent rebukes from Trump and leaks about her imminent firing, embracing his incendiary language and enduring his extralegal instincts, swallowing her moral misgivings to embrace the family-separation policy (while denying any such policy existed), and implausibly claiming that children weren’t being put in cages.”
Michael Gerson: “The ouster of Nielsen — the implementer of some of the most unjust immigration policies since the internment of citizens and noncitizens of Japanese descent during World War II — is further proof of President Trump’s ratchet-wrench theory of loyalty.”
“But the separation of crying migrant children from their parents as a deterrent, and the housing of children in prisonlike conditions, will be some of the most enduring political images of the Trump era. It says something about Nielsen that she took part in such practices. It says something about Trump that such actions were apparently too moderate and restrained for his taste.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Congress that Treasury Department lawyers “consulted with the White House general counsel’s office about the potential release of President Trump’s tax returns before House Democrats formally requested the records,” the Washington Postreports.
“Mnuchin had not previously revealed that the White House was playing any official role in the Treasury Department’s decision on releasing Trump’s tax returns… The process is designed to be walled off from White House interference, in part because of corruption that took place during the Teapot Dome scandal in the 1920s.”
Larry Summers: “The appropriate response of the treasury secretary is very clear: Under a long-standing delegation order, the secretary does not get involved in taxpayer-specific matters and has delegated to the IRS commissioner… So for the secretary to seek to decide whether to pass on the president’s tax return to Congress would surely be inappropriate and probably illegal.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) signaled that he won’t help Michael Cohen delay the start of his three-year prison sentence, even after the president’s former lawyer claimed he discovered troves of new records that could be useful to investigators, CNN reports.
Said Schiff: “I don’t get involved in sentencing matters as a practice. I never have in Congress and that’s been my policy.”
“One of the GOP senators from Kris Kobach’s home state said Tuesday that the Senate would not be able to confirm the Kansas Republican if President Trump tapped him for a cabinet post,” the Kansas City Starreports.
“Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state, has been mentioned as a potential candidate for an array of immigration-related positions after President Trump pulled his nominee for the director of Immigration Customs Enforcement and announced the departure of his secretary of Homeland Security.”
Said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS): “Don’t go there. We can’t confirm him.”
CBS News: “With less than a week of tax season to go, plenty of taxpayers are still sorting through the new regulations signed into law by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. But middle-class homeowners who live in high-tax areas are finding themselves particularly hard-hit. Many owe thousands this year, rather than the refunds they usually received.”
“Their problem sits with the new deduction cap on state and local taxes, which the law caps at $10,000. Before 2018, taxpayers were allowed to deduct their total combined state and local taxes from their federal taxes, softening the blow of high property and income taxes in states like New Jersey and California.”
“A California judge on Monday blocked President Trump’s efforts to force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are adjudicated by the immigration courts — a practice that immigration advocates called inhumane and illegal,” the New York Times reports.
“Judge Richard Seeborg of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California found that existing law did not give the Trump administration the power to enforce the policy, known as ‘migrant protection protocols,’ which were introduced in San Diego and expanded to other parts of California and Texas.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has said he would throw his weight behind an attempt to obtain what may be some of the president’s most sensitive secrets: those that could be buried in President Trump’s state tax returns, the New York Times reports.
Cuomo’s office said that it would back a new bill that would permit the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to release any state tax return — including the president’s — if it were requested by leaders of three congressional committees for any “specified and legitimate legislative purpose.”