Politics

Supreme court temporarily blocks release of Trump’s tax returns to Congress – live


Supreme court temporarily blocks House committee from obtaining Trump’s tax returns

Supreme court chief justice John Roberts has temporarily stopped the Internal Revenue Service from turning over Donald Trump’s tax returns to a House committee, Reuters reports.

The decision comes after Trump yesterday petitioned the court to review lower court rulings that allowed the Democratic-led House ways and means committee to receive six years of the former president’s filings. According to the New York Times, Roberts, who handles petitions filed in Washington, wants the House committee to respond by Thursday:

JUST IN: Chief Justice Roberts grants Trump temporary stay on release of tax records to congressional committee. Asks for response from committee by Thursday

— Robert Barnes (@scotusreporter) November 1, 2022

Trump refused to release his tax returns as American presidents typically do, saying they were under audit. The IRS was previously expected to turn over the returns on Thursday.

Key events

Republican senator Tom Cotton used the attack on Paul Pelosi as an opportunity to push the GOP’s tough-on-crime message.

“The answer to all of these crimes is to get tough on crime and throw the book at these criminals,” including David DePape, who is accused of assaulting Pelosi, Cotton said in an interview with CBS.

“The simplest way to stop crime like this is to get tough on crime. It’s not to try to stop campaigning in the middle of a campaign, seven days before an election, on legitimate issue of public concern,” Cotton continued. He also described the attack as a “terrible crime” and wished Pelosi “the very best and a full recovery.”

Republicans have accused Democrats of being soft on crime in this year’s midterm election campaigning, and polls show voters believe the GOP is better able to handle the issue.

The former president is not alone in spreading conspiracy theories over the attack on Paul Pelosi.

Here are a few comments about the incident from fellow conservatives, as reported in the New York Times:

“Bail him out and then go ask him some questions,” conservative radio and YouTube host Charlie Kirk said of Pelosi’s alleged assailant David DePape. He added that whatever “amazing patriot” did so would become a “midterm hero.”

In a Sunday appearance on the network, Fox News contributor David Webb implied unknown motives behind the attack, but cited no evidence. “Look for what’s missing and what doesn’t add up,” he said.

Then there’s Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and, as of Thursday, the owner of Twitter. After Hillary Clinton condemned the attack in a tweet, Musk replied to her, saying “There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye.”

He later deleted the comment.

Trump has turned up on conservative personality Chris Stigall’s podcast today to spread conspiracy theories about the attack on Paul Pelosi:

Trump calls Pelosi attack a “sad situation,” shares conspiracy theory on Chris Stigall show: “Wow, it’s — weird things going on in that household in the last couple of weeks…The glass it seems was broken from the inside to the out so it wasn’t a break in, it was a break out.”

— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) November 1, 2022

The full interview can be accessed here.

Just because the supreme court issued a temporary stay on the IRS releasing Donald Trump’s tax returns doesn’t mean the justices plan to block the effort entirely, a law professor and CNN analyst says.

Here’s more from Steve Vladeck of the University of Texas school of law:

Given the impending deadline for Trump to turn over his tax returns, this administrative stay to give #SCOTUS more time is not at all surprising — or in any way predictive of how the full Court will eventually rule. https://t.co/xvRtpM6gOM

— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) November 1, 2022

To elaborate, yes, this is the third administrative stay from a Justice in the last three weeks. But it’s not clear yet IMHO whether this is a new trend, or just a coincidence that all three applications involve subpoenas — where a temporary pause might be *especially* justified. https://t.co/Jh0bvQj74X

— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) November 1, 2022

And, of course, we are not aided in any way by the absence of any explanation from any of the Justices.

One of the many problematic features of the shadow docket is how the absence of justifications enables everyone to see each potentially modest step as confirming their priors.

— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) November 1, 2022

In conservative politics these days, roads often lead to Trump, and the trend is no different for disgraced evangelist Jerry Falwell Jr. The Guardian’s David Smith reports on a new documentary that explores Falwell’s downfall, and his role in creating evangelicals’ thus far unyielding support for the former president, despite his, um, colorful personal life:

Jerry Falwell Jr once said there was nothing that then president Donald Trump could do that would endanger support from him or other Christian evangelical leaders. “When Jesus said we’re all sinners, he really meant all of us, everybody,” he told the Washington Post in January 2019.

Falwell knew whereof he spoke. A year and a half later, he would resign in disgrace from Liberty University, the evangelical college his father founded in Lynchburg, Virginia, after a series of personal scandals that would have made even Trump blush.

Among them was the allegation that Giancarlo Granda, a Miami pool boy, had a seven-year affair with Falwell’s wife, Becki, sometimes with Falwell looking on and masturbating during their sexual encounters. Granda also became entangled with the couple’s business affairs in a web that ultimately led them all to Trump.

The sorry and tawdry saga is told in God Forbid: The Sex Scandal That Brought Down a Dynasty, streaming on Hulu starting Tuesday. It is a “dynasty” because Falwell’s father, Jerry Falwell Sr, was a homophobic televangelist whose endorsement helped Ronald Reagan (a divorced former Hollywood actor) beat Jimmy Carter (a Baptist Sunday school teacher) in the 1980 presidential contest and launch a conservative project that culminated in the demise of the constitutional right to abortion.

“This documentary at its core is the story of a 50-year multigenerational evangelical dynasty and their outsized power in presidential politics and policy,” director Billy Corben says by phone from New York. “You have the man who is now the black sheep of the Falwell family – and excommunicated – who was able to deliver on the core political promise of his father and Reagan when the evangelicals first got involved in politics.”

It’s a busy week for Donald Trump’s lawyers. As Edward Helmore reports, the trial of his Trump Organization on fraud charges kicked off on Monday in New York, where prosecutors are trying to prove the business avoided taxes:

For years, as Donald Trump was soaring from reality TV star to the White House, his real estate empire was bankrolling big luxury perks for some of his top executives.

Now Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, is on trial for criminal tax fraud – on the hook for what prosecutors say was a 15-year scheme by his most trusted lieutenant to avoid paying taxes on those fringe benefits.

The seminal trial in New York got truly under way on Monday with prosecutors arguing that the company fraudulently evaded tax by paying a key executive $1.76m through such perks as a free apartment, a leased Mercedes and tuition fees for his grandchildren.

The case could land the Trump Organization’s sprawl of 500 business entities with a criminal conviction that will make it harder for the former president’s company to do business. It could also be hit with $1m in fines.

“This case is about greed and cheating – cheating on taxes,” prosecutor Susan Hoffinger said during an opening statement, as the Manhattan district attorney’s office began to build its case. The court will hear from key former executive and prosecution witness Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer at the Trump Organization, who has separately already pleaded guilty to 15 counts of tax fraud.

Supreme court temporarily blocks House committee from obtaining Trump’s tax returns

Supreme court chief justice John Roberts has temporarily stopped the Internal Revenue Service from turning over Donald Trump’s tax returns to a House committee, Reuters reports.

The decision comes after Trump yesterday petitioned the court to review lower court rulings that allowed the Democratic-led House ways and means committee to receive six years of the former president’s filings. According to the New York Times, Roberts, who handles petitions filed in Washington, wants the House committee to respond by Thursday:

JUST IN: Chief Justice Roberts grants Trump temporary stay on release of tax records to congressional committee. Asks for response from committee by Thursday

— Robert Barnes (@scotusreporter) November 1, 2022

Trump refused to release his tax returns as American presidents typically do, saying they were under audit. The IRS was previously expected to turn over the returns on Thursday.

Historian Joshua Zeitz published a similar warning about the trajectory of American political violence over the weekend, comparing our current period to the 1850s – when tensions over slavery began boiling over into armed confrontation.

Much of his piece is a history lesson on the lesser-known bloodshed that occurred in the years before the American civil war. But he also brings up the period around 1970, when the United States faced a wave of bombings and threats from far-left extremists. Here’s how he compares that period with today, from Politico:

In 1970, liberal members of the Senate didn’t march alongside members of the Weather Underground, pump their fists in the air and egg them on. They didn’t align themselves with violent extremists — court their votes, grant interviews to their underground newspapers, appear at their conferences. That’s the stuff of the 1850s, when mainstream Democrats turned away from democracy and openly embraced violence, vigilantism and treason to protect a world they saw at risk of disappearing.

The decision of so many American conservatives to embrace political violence, or the language and symbolism of political violence, is a troubling reality. We can’t have a functioning democracy if one side refuses to accept its norms and rules.

But history suggests we might have more to worry about.

Democratic violence in the 1850s ultimately led a majority of Republicans, who represented the political majority, to draw a line in the sand and enforce it by violence when necessary. If history is a guidepost, we are on the precipice of dangerous future in which politics devolves into a contest of force rather than ideas. That’s a future everyone should want to avoid.

In a New York Times column, historian Matthew Dallek of George Washington University considers the attack on Paul Pelosi in the context of Republicans’ continued embrace of extreme ideologies.

The biggest change the party has made is that it is now tolerating and integrating conspiracy theories and extremism into its governing coalition, Dallek finds, reversing the stance of previous leaders who may have courted voters that held those views, but saw no space for them on their platform.

Here’s what Dallek believes are the consequences of that embrace:

“Until the acceptance of fringe ideas and extremist language and individuals becomes politically costly, and until a set of cultural democratic norms – including the peaceful transfer of power and a healthy tolerance for ideological differences – are restored, we can expect those inspiring political warfare to gain rhetorical strength,” Dallek warns.

“We may be entering an even uglier phase in which assaults on lawmakers and their families become routine, and the ‘apostles’ of violence and bigotry gain power.”

Pelosi attack may be sign of worse to come, historian warns

Good morning, US politics blog readers. The attack last Friday on Democratic speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband may have been shocking, but it wasn’t an aberration, a George Washington University historian warns. In a column published in the New York Times yesterday, Matthew Dallek traces the assault on Paul Pelosi to the wider erosion of democratic norms in the country, such as the acceptance of extremism by conservatives and the Republican party. He warns that until political leaders seek to purge these voices from their parties, such violence may repeat itself.

Here’s what is on the agenda for today:

  • Joe Biden is heading to Florida to prop up the flagging prospects of Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist and Senate candidate Val Demings.

  • This time next week polls will have opened in the midterm elections, and we will soon find out whether Americans want to give Democrats more time controlling Congress.

  • For all the hubbub, Americans are less fired up about these midterm elections than in 2018, a Gallup poll finds, though enthusiasm is about average for such races in general.





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