U.S. Politics

Rachel Maddow Releases Part Of Trump’s 2005 Tax Returns

Trump holds healthcare meeting at the White House in Washington

Kevin LaMarque/Reuters


The White House bashed the MSNBC host, and said the president paid $38 million in income tax that year.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow discussed parts of a copy of President Donald Trump’s federal income tax returns from 2005 on her show late on Tuesday.

She teased the news an hour before she went live on air, where she was later joined by Trump biographer and investigative journalist David Cay Johnston, who obtained the returns.

The returns showed that Trump “earned more than $150 million in the year 2005—and paid just a small percentage of that in regular federal income taxes,” according to the Daily Beast:

Daily Beast contributor David Cay Johnston has obtained what appear to be the first two pages of Trump’s 2005 federal income tax return, and published an analysis of those pages on his website, DCReport.org. The Daily Beast could not independently verify these documents.

The documents show Trump and his wife Melania paying $5.3 million in regular federal income tax—a rate of less than 4%. However, the Trumps paid an additional $31 million in the so-called “alternative minimum tax,” or AMT. Trump has previously called for the elimination of this tax.

“This document has been made available,” Maddow said. “That may be the most important part of this story.” Maddow also stressed that the release raises questions about the president’s argument that he can’t release his tax returns because he is under audit. In a response to Maddow’s announcement before her show, the White House released a statement saying that in 2005 Trump had paid $38 million in tax on an income of $150 million, and adding that Trump had a responsibility to “pay no more tax than legally required.”

The president’s tax history has been under scrutiny since the real estate mogul launched his campaign from the lobby of his Fifth Avenue skyscraper in 2015. Democrats, some fellow Republicans and more than a million petitioners demanded to see the documents, which presidents from the previous four decades had released during their campaigns.

Trump eluded them all, and just two days after his inauguration, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said the president was “not going to release his tax returns” because “people didn’t care.”

Such an abrupt refusal followed months of Trump dancing around the issue, saying he couldn’t share his tax returns because they were under audit by the Internal Revenue Service (although the IRS said there was nothing prohibiting their release) and later pledging to do so if his rival, Hillary Clinton, released emails related to her private email account.

In October 2016, the New York Times reported that it had obtained three pages from then-candidate Trump’s 1995 personal tax return. That partial return showed that Trump took a $916 million loss that year, a move that experts who reviewed the filing for the Times said may have allowed him to avoid paying personal income taxes for almost two decades.

Trump admitted that he had taken the massive deduction in a debate with Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton a week after the Times report. “The write-off is a wonderful thing,” Trump said, but not before insisting, “I pay taxes.”

After that debate, Trump’s son Eric said his dad “pays a tremendous amount of tax.” However, he went on to cite instances of the Trump Organization paying taxes as a business, not personal income taxes.

At the first presidential debate, Clinton accused Trump of not releasing his tax returns because they would show how little taxes he paid. “That makes me smart,” Trump replied.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates. 

U.S. Politics

Trump Decides To Gut United Nations Funding By 50 Percent, Embarrassing And Endangering America On The World Stage

Trump Decides To Gut United Nations Funding By 50 Percent, Embarrassing And Endangering America On The World Stage



By Stephen D Foster Jr

Donald Trump has decided to go through with his threat to defund the United Nations in retaliation for making a decision he didn’t like.

America has been the foremost leader on the international stage ever since World War II. After the war, the United States led the way in creating a more united and cooperative world by founding the United Nations to serve as a peacekeeping and humanitarian organization.

The United Nations headquarters in located in New York and America has veto power and a seat on the prestigious United Nations Security Council.

But now Donald Trump is preparing to slash funding to the United Nations by 50 percent, a move that would be a major blow against international cooperation and our reputation around the globe.

Not only will the United Nations be cut by $5 billion, Trump’s plan also makes a 37 percent cut to the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development budgets.

And it’s all in an effort by Trump to increase the already bloated military budget.

United Nations expert Richard Gowan warned that cutting the funding would cause chaos and could cause agencies and programs within the United Nations to implode as other countries struggle to fill the gaps.

“Cutting the U.S. contribution would leave a gaping hole that other big donors would struggle to fill,” Gowan said. “Multiply that across other humanitarian agencies, like the World Food Program, and you are basically talking about the breakdown of the international humanitarian system as we know it.”

Indeed, the budget cuts could be devastating to the United Nations and threaten to bury international cooperation as we know it.

Republicans have even drafted a bill directing Trump to withdraw the United States from the organization entirely.

That means the United States would also be withdrawing from the World Bank, the International Court of Justice, the World Health Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the International Atomic Energy Agency, among many others.

And because the United States is cutting funding, the United Nations may look to China or Russia to replace the funding, which could pave the way for a new power structure as the United States withdraws support.

It’s not only a serious blow to humanitarian efforts and global peacekeeping efforts, it’s a serious rejection of international diplomacy and cooperation.

And it’s all because Trump and Republicans did not like that the United Nations passed a resolution condemning the continued building of Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory even though such resolutions have passed before.

Trump is literally defunding the United Nations because they didn’t comply with his demands despite the fact that President Obama was still in office at the time.

This is absolutely humiliating for the United States and it should horrify the American people that Trump is withdrawing our country from the international community. Our influence and respect throughout the world will wane because of this decision and it will be difficult to regain it.

America is once again becoming an isolationist nation, and the last time we ignored the world around us over 100 million people were killed in two world wars. By ignoring the world again and the growing humanitarian crisis, we are paving the way for World War III. And make no mistake, such a war today will make the first two world wars look like minor skirmishes.

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: March 14, 2017

Timothy A. Clary/Getty Images


1. CBO: GOP health plan would leave 24 million more uninsured
The House Republican plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare would reduce the number of Americans with health insurance by 24 million over 10 years, according to a review released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Monday. The bill, however, would save the government $337 billion over the same period. The savings for the government pleased conservatives, but the expected swelling of the ranks of the uninsured cast fresh doubts on President Trump’s promise that the GOP plan would provide “insurance for everybody.” The CBO said that 14 million people would lose coverage in the first year. Premiums would be 15 to 20 percent higher than under the Affordable Care Act next year, but 10 percent lower after 2026. The White House’s internal review projected even steeper losses, with 26 million fewer covered.

Source: The Washington Post, Politico

2. U.K. Parliament clears government to start Brexit process
The U.K.’s Parliament on Monday gave the government of Prime Minister Theresa May authority to start formal negotiations on the country’s departure from the European Union, with no further input from lawmakers. Voters approved the move in a 2016 referendum. David Davis, the Cabinet minister responsible for negotiating Brexit, said lawmakers agreed “to get on with the job of leaving the EU and negotiating a positive new partnership with its remaining member states. … We are now on the threshold of the most important negotiation for our country in a generation.” The unelected House of Lords had passed two amendments calling for guarantees that EU residents in the U.K. could remain, and giving Parliament the right to approve the final Brexit deal. The elected House of Commons overturned the amendments, clearing the government to proceed. May says she wants to start the process by March 31.

Source: The New York Times

3. Flights, school canceled as winter storm hits Northeast
Airlines canceled thousands of flights on Monday as the Northeast braced for a fast-moving winter storm expected to hit parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut with up to two feet of snow by early Wednesday. The storm, Stella, began hitting the East Coast from Washington, D.C., to New York with ice and heavy snow early Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to drop to 15 to 30 degrees below normal for this time of year. Many local governments ordered schools to close on Tuesday, as areas that are home to 50 million people fell under storm or blizzard warnings or watches issued by the National Weather Service.

Source: Reuters

4. Justice Department asks for more time on wiretap evidence
The Justice Department, facing a Monday deadline, asked for more time to provide lawmakers with evidence supporting President Trump’s claim that former President Barack Obama had New York City’s Trump Tower wiretapped during last year’s election campaign. The House intelligence committee agreed to give the Justice Department another week to comply, moving the deadline to March 20, the day of the committee’s first open hearing on alleged Russian election interference. The committee leadership said it might use its subpoena power to get any available information if the White House doesn’t provide it. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump did not mean to accuse Obama specifically, and that in the tweets in which Trump made the explosive allegations he put the word wiretap in quotes, “to mean broadly surveillance” but not necessarily the bugging of Trump’s phones.

Source: The Associated Press

5. Diplomatic fight between Turkey and the Netherlands escalates
Turkey suspended high-level diplomatic relations with the Netherlands on Monday, escalating a dispute that began when Turkey’s foreign minister was denied permission to visit the Netherlands for a political rally. Turkey said it would not permit the return of the Dutch ambassador to Turkey, and Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, demanded to know why the Dutch government refused to let him fly to Rotterdam for the event. “Why this time am I a terrorist?” he said in a Monday interview with CNN. “Are the Turks living in this country terrorists?”

Source: CNN

6. Poland seeks Minnesota man’s arrest on WWII war crime allegations
Polish prosecutors said Monday that they were seeking the arrest of a Minnesota man, Michael Karkoc, accusing him of ordering the killing of 44 civilians as a Nazi commander in World War II. Prosecutor Robert Janicki said evidence collected during an investigation that spanned years confirmed Karkoc’s identity “100 percent,” although the 98-year-old’s family denied he had ever committed war crimes, calling the allegations “evil, fabricated, intolerable, and malicious.” German authorities investigated Karkoc in 2013 after an Associated Press report identified him as a former Nazi commander in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, which allegedly burned villages and killed civilians in Poland. The German investigation was dropped due to medical documentation showing Karkoc, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, unfit to stand trial.

Source: BBC News

7. Scottish leader seeks second independence referendum
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced Monday that she would seek a second referendum on Scotland’s independence from the United Kingdom. Sturgeon plans to ask the Scottish Parliament for permission next week, as Britain gears up to leave the European Union following last year’s Brexit vote. Unlike Britain, Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, and Sturgeon said she wanted to ensure Scottish citizens “have a choice at the end of this process.” Though Scottish voters decided against leaving the U.K. in a 2014 referendum, Sturgeon said there’s since been “a material change of circumstances.” Sturgeon hopes for a vote as early as fall 2018 or spring 2019, but Scotland first must get permission from British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Source: The Associated Press

8. Puerto Rico oversight board approves governor’s turnaround plan
Puerto Rico’s federal oversight board voted unanimously on Monday to back Gov. Ricardo Rossello’s turnaround plan. The decision clears the way for the government to start negotiations with bond holders to reduce the island’s debt. The board said that the government could avoid austerity measures, which Puerto Ricans have protested, if it comes up with other ways to save money by April 30. The board demanded a number of painful conditions, including furloughs for government employees, deeper pension-spending cuts, and possibly cutting Christmas bonuses. Board members last week rejected Rossello’s plan, saying it relied on “overly optimistic” economic projections, but signed off when he submitted a revised version with new economic and spending forecasts.

Source: Bloomberg, Reuters

9. Pirates hijack oil tanker off Somalia
Pirates hijacked an oil tanker off Somalia’s coast in the first such attack on a large commercial ship since 2012, Somali officials said Tuesday. The vessel, Aris 13, was carrying fuel from Djibouti to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, when it reported on Monday that it was being approached by two skiffs. An official in the semiautonomous state of Puntland said more than two dozen men boarded the vessel, which had eight Sri Lankan crew members on board. The ship later moved closer to the coast.

Source: The Associated Press

10. Lawyers counter documentary’s Ferguson claims
Prosecutors and a lawyer for a Ferguson, Missouri, convenience store on Monday disputed claims in a documentary released over the weekend that security footage proved that Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, did not rob the store shortly before he was shot by a white police officer in 2014. Jason Pollock, who made the film Stranger Fruit, said the video showed Brown giving store employees marijuana in exchange for cigarillos, then leaving the cigarillos behind the counter for safekeeping. Pollock said Brown returned hours later to pick up the cigarillos, not to rob the store as police have said. Shortly after leaving the store, Brown was fatally shot, touching off weeks of unrest. The store lawyer released unedited footage he said disproved Pollock’s claim, and the county’s chief prosecutor called the film misleading and “pathetic.”

Source: The New York Times