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Trump Tax Returns Won’t Be Released Until May 6 After Another Deadline Is Missed

Erin Schaff/The New York Times WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin again delayed a decision on whether to turn over President Trump’s tax returns to Congress, telling House lawmakers late Tuesday that the Treasury and Justice Departments needed until May 6 to assess the legality of the “unprecedented” request. In a letter to Representative Richard E. Neal, the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Mnuchin said that the Treasury Department “cannot act upon your request unless and until it is determined to be consistent with law.” Mr. Mnuchin said the department expected to make a final decision by May 6 “after receiving the Justice Department’s legal conclusions.” Earlier Tuesday, Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, signaled that Mr. Trump was girding for a protracted fight over his tax returns. Mr. Trump has used the excuse of an Internal Revenue Service audit since the 2016 presidential campaign as a reason not to release his tax records, though no law prevents a taxpayer from releasing returns while under audit. The Treasury Department, which oversees the I.R.S., missed the first deadline to provide the returns, and Mr. Mnuchin previously told Mr. Neal in a letter that he needed more time to study the lawfulness of the request. being weaponized against both parties in the future. Mr. Mnuchin, in his most recent letter, appeared to be laying the groundwork for the legal rationale to deny the request, listing several “legal concerns” that have prompted the Treasury Department to consult with the Justice Department. Those included “constitutional limits” on gaining access to private tax returns and the “asserted purpose” for seeking the records. Mr. Mnuchin made the argument that Mr. Neal’s request represented “exposure for the sake of exposure” of Mr. Trump’s tax returns and said it was different than traditional requests for taxpayer information, which tend to be used for statistical purposes to aid legislation. Mr. Neal issued a terse statement on Tuesday but did not indicate his next move, which could include a subpoena or a lawsuit. He gave the Treasury Department until Tuesday to comply and said that failing to do so would be “interpreted as a denial of my request.” In his letter, Mr. Mnuchin said that the delay was not a failure to comply with the request and that portraying it as such would be “a misinterpretation.” “The committee’s request has not been denied or granted at this time,” he said.

Reaction to Mueller Report Divides Along Partisan Lines

Erin Schaff/The New York Times WASHINGTON — House Democrats vowed on Friday to pursue the revelations in the special counsel’s report on President Trump but drew little Republican support in a nation still deeply polarized over the investigation that has dogged the White House for two years. “Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, challenged the credibility of Mr. McGahn’s account later on Friday. “It can’t be taken at face value,” he said in an interview. “It’s a mystery why Rudy Giuliani feels the need to relitigate incidents the attorney general and deputy attorney general have concluded were not obstruction,” said the lawyer, William A. Burck. “But they are accurately described in the report.” On the campaign trail, Democratic presidential candidates condemned the president’s conduct and called for action against him. Mr. Trump’s critics called it a devastating indictment of a candidate willing to profit from the help of a foreign power and a president who repeatedly sought to disrupt or end the investigation even if he was not charged with violating the law. The subpoena issued on Friday by Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, escalated a fight with Mr. Barr over what material Congress is entitled to see from the investigation even as Democrats continued to pummel the attorney general for effectively serving as the president’s defense lawyer. “The department will continue to work with Congress to accommodate its legitimate requests consistent with the law and long-recognized executive branch interests.” Mr. Barr redacted about 10 percent of the report, blacking out information that would divulge secret grand jury evidence, expose classified intelligence, compromise continuing investigations, or invade the privacy or damage the reputation of “peripheral third parties.” Democratic leaders on Friday rejected Mr. Barr’s offer to show just select leaders a version with only the grand jury material redacted. “The attorney general stands ready to testify before our committee and to have the special counsel do the same.

How Michael Cohen Turned Against President Trump

“Are we going to meet Thursday or Friday?” Mr. Costello texted Mr. Giuliani on a Monday. Mr. Costello told prosecutors in a recent meeting that the pardon discussion had been initiated by Mr. Cohen and rejected by Mr. Giuliani. When Mr. Giuliani was hired by the president a few days later, Mr. Costello emailed Mr. Cohen: “I told you my relationship with Rudy which could be very very useful for you.” “Great news,” Mr. Cohen replied. The next day, after speaking to Mr. Giuliani by phone, Mr. Costello wrote in an email to Mr. Citron that the president’s lead lawyer had been “thrilled that I reached out to him about Cohen.” He added that Mr. Giuliani was “calling the president tonight.” Mr. Costello also shared his upbeat assessment with Mr. Cohen. Under an information-sharing agreement among the lawyers, Mr. Ryan had discussed with Mr. Giuliani that the Trumps had reimbursed Mr. Cohen for the hush money he paid to the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels. As the president’s lead lawyer continued to publicly discuss the hush-money scheme in the days and weeks that followed, Mr. Cohen told associates that Mr. Giuliani was “blowing this whole thing.” ‘Keep on Punching’ Days after Mr. Giuliani appeared on Fox News, Mr. Costello confided to Mr. Citron, his partner, about his mounting concerns that Mr. Cohen was stringing them along. “Does Cohen really want a friend of Comey as his lawyer?” he asked in a text message. In the interview with The Times, Mr. Giuliani said that he was new to the issue of the legal fees at the time, having just been hired by Mr. Trump a couple of months earlier. “The idea that the Trump Organization should have paid his legal fees and expenses is a total crock.” Distrust between the two sides only grew in June when the comedian Tom Arnold tweeted a selfie with Mr. Cohen and later claimed that they were teaming up to take down the president. Mr. Davis said that he asked Mr. Cohen at the time why he wanted to hire him.

Week In Politics: The Redacted Mueller Report Is Out

NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with David Brooks of The New York Times and E.J. He laid out a very good case on obstruction but felt he couldn't charge him because of the Justice Department rule that says you can't indict a president. CORNISH: Let me let David jump in here because you looked at this existentially, that there are a broadly kind of three-pronged threat, looking at Russia being one of them, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks another and then the White House itself, Donald Trump. He's always trying to interfere with investigations, do things that are against the rules. And so that undermines our sort of governmental infrastructure. The Russians are undermining our informational infrastructure by introducing falsehoods into the public debate. CORNISH: I want to go back to the attorney general's press conference. BROOKS: Well, I'd given him faith that he was being accurate in what was in the report. There have been some more moves among Senate Republicans. DIONNE: Well, yeah, that's two, right, exactly - maybe David, too.

Mueller Reveals Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Russian Inquiry in Highly Anticipated Report

Todd Heisler/The New York Times WASHINGTON — Robert S. Mueller III revealed the scope of a historic Russian campaign to sabotage the 2016 presidential election in a much-anticipated report made public on Thursday, and he detailed a frantic monthslong effort by President Trump to thwart a federal investigation that imperiled his presidency from the start. Then, after federal investigators opened an inquiry into the extraordinary Russian campaign, the president repeatedly tried to undermine it. “The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the president sought to use his official power outside of usual channels,” the report said. But on Thursday, top Democratic lawmakers seized on the report’s findings and suggested that the issue of impeachment was not settled. When Mr. Mueller began his work, there were still prominent voices at both ends of the political spectrum openly debating whether the hacking and leaking of emails — and the fake news that spread like a wildfire on social media in the months before the election — was the work of Russia, China, stateless hackers or, as Mr. Trump once liked to say, “someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.” Even last summer, standing next to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia after a summit meeting in Finland, Mr. Trump refused to accept that the Russians had carried out the election sabotage. The indictments gave exquisite details about the entirety of the Russian operation — how Russians paid unsuspecting Americans to stage pro-Trump rallies in battleground states, how Russian hackers penetrated the personal email account of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman and how a pair of Russian women took a scouting trip to the United States two years before the election to gather information for the planned assault. Mr. Mueller’s team found that the evidence was “not sufficient.” Some of the meetings with Russians were a mélange of business and politics, and Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors wrapped up their inquiry still puzzled about their purpose. In the end, the special counsel’s team “did not resolve the apparent conflicts in the accounts,” according to the report. He was a god to them until he said ‘no collusion.’ They don’t like him so much now.” Even so, the revelations in Mr. Barr’s letter did not produce a noticeable bump in Mr. Trump’s approval rating, and polls taken in the weeks since Mr. Barr’s letter have shown that many Americans were reserving judgment until they had a fuller picture of Mr. Mueller’s conclusions. So far, only two of those have officially been made public.

White House and Justice Dept. Officials Discussed Mueller Report Before Release

Justice Department officials have had numerous conversations with White House lawyers about the conclusions made by Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, in recent days, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. Mr. Barr, who plans to hold a news conference at 9:30 a.m. Thursday to discuss the special counsel’s report, refused to answer questions from lawmakers last week about whether the department had given the White House a preview of Mr. Mueller’s findings. Much is at stake for Mr. Barr in Thursday’s expected release, especially if the report presents a far more damning portrayal of the president’s behavior — and of his campaign’s dealings with Russians — than the attorney general indicated in the four-page letter he wrote in March. Justice Department rules do not require Mr. Barr to make the special counsel’s report public, and the attorney general’s defenders say he will fulfill pledges of transparency he made during his confirmation hearings to make as much of the document public as possible. The information that Justice Department officials have provided to the White House could potentially be valuable for Mr. Trump’s legal team as it finalizes a rebuttal to the Mueller report — expected to be released not long after the department makes the special counsel’s findings public. Advisers to Mr. Trump insist that they still do not know many details about Mr. Mueller’s conclusions. The House Judiciary Committee has already authorized a subpoena for its chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, to try to force Mr. Barr to hand that material over to Congress. “On the assumption that it’s heavily redacted, we will most certainly issue the subpoenas in very short order,” Mr. Nadler said Wednesday evening at a hastily called news conference in New York. Promising more transparency, the government said it would let a select group of lawmakers see some of the material related to the case against Roger J. in 2016 that prompted law enforcement officials to open the Russia investigation.

‘Stop Sanders’ Democrats Are Agonizing Over His Momentum

Democrats are likely to go into their convention next summer without having settled on a presidential nominee, said Ms. Daughtry, who ran her party’s conventions in 2008 and 2016, the last two times the nomination was contested. And he is well positioned to benefit from a historically large field of candidates that would splinter the vote: If he wins a substantial number of primaries and caucuses and comes in second in others, thanks to his deeply loyal base of voters across many states, he would pick up formidable numbers of delegates. And for many Sanders supporters, the anxieties of establishment Democrats are not a concern. On Saturday his campaign sent a blistering letter to the Center for American Progress, a Clinton-aligned liberal think tank, accusing them of abetting Mr. Trump’s attacks, of playing a “destructive” role in Democratic politics, and of being beholden to “the corporate money” they receive. [Read more: The blowup between the Center for American Progress and Mr. Sanders’s campaign reflects ideological divisions among Democrats.] But it is hardly only Mr. Sanders’s critics who believe the structure of this race could lead to a 50-state contest and require deal-cutting to determine a nominee before or at the convention. Unlike Republicans, who used a winner-take-all primary format, Democrats use a proportional system, so candidates only need to garner 15 percent of the vote in a primary or caucus to pick up delegates. And even if a candidate fails to capture 15 percent statewide, he or she could still win delegates by meeting that vote threshold in individual congressional districts. The specter of superdelegates deciding the nomination, particularly if Mr. Sanders is a finalist, is highly unappetizing to party officials. That may not happen should Mr. Sanders, sustained by his online fund-raising network, remain in the primary but fail to win a majority of delegates after the last states vote in June.

Trump Lawyer Urges Treasury Not to Release His Tax Returns

Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times WASHINGTON — President Trump’s personal lawyer on Monday urged the Treasury Department not to hand over Mr. Trump’s tax returns to House Democrats, warning that releasing the documents to lawmakers he accused of having a “radical view of unchecked congressional power” would turn the Internal Revenue Service into a political weapon. Mr. Neal on Saturday gave the Internal Revenue Service until April 23 to provide him with the tax returns after Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said last week that he could not meet an earlier deadline because he needed to study the lawfulness of the request. Mr. Neal used an obscure provision of the tax code to request the returns, which he said his committee needs in order to evaluate the policy of automatic audits of presidential tax returns. Mr. Neal argued in his letter on Saturday that the administration has no authority to question how the committee would handle the information or the validity of its legislative purpose. Mr. Trump’s lawyer, William S. Consovoy, said on Monday that the legal rationale behind Mr. Neal’s dismissal of the Treasury Department’s concerns was wrong. But Mr. Consovoy, echoing an argument that Trump administration officials have made privately, said that in this case the intent of the law is more important than the letter of the law. “Congress’s motives do matter under the Constitution,” Mr. Consovoy wrote, arguing that the request for Mr. Trump’s tax information does not serve any legislative purpose. “This isn’t an issue just about the president’s tax returns and congressional oversight,” Mr. Mnuchin said on the Fox Business Network on Monday. “This is an issue about protecting Americans.” He added: “I want to make sure that the I.R.S. was weaponized.”

Bernie Sanders Released His Tax Returns. He’s Part of the 1%.

Erin Schaff/The New York Times WASHINGTON — Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, disclosed 10 years of tax returns on Monday, providing a more detailed look at his finances than what he offered when he ran for the White House in 2016. He and his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, reported income that topped $1 million in 2016 and 2017, lifted by proceeds from his books. Mr. Sanders had about $393,000 in book income last year, and he and his wife reported giving nearly $19,000 to charity. “These tax returns show that our family has been fortunate,” Mr. Sanders said in a statement. At the time, Mr. Sanders said his wife did their taxes. “You’ll excuse us.” In that campaign, Mr. Sanders disclosed his tax return for only one year, 2014, which showed that he and his wife had an adjusted gross income of $205,271, largely from his Senate salary and Social Security benefits. (The editor in chief of ThinkProgress said in a statement that the site was an “editorially independent journalistic entity.”) [On Fox News, Mr. Sanders rejected the idea that his wealth was proof of the “American dream.”] Tax returns released by other Democratic presidential candidates have shown that they also earned more than a vast majority of American households in recent years. Their 2018 return indicated it was self-prepared. Mr. Sanders reported receiving about $840,000 in book income in 2016 and about $856,000 in 2017. “If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.”

Emboldened by His Attorney General, Trump Confronts Mueller Report Head-On

Erin Schaff/The New York Times WASHINGTON — The case was closed for President Trump on March 24, the day Attorney General William P. Barr delivered to Congress his four-page summary of the special counsel’s 300-plus page report. “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that day. People close to Mr. Trump said they have noticed an increase in his confidence after he spent months feeling weighed down by a loss of control. Now, as Mr. Barr prepares to submit a redacted version of the report, Mr. Trump’s plan of attack, aides said, is to act as if the report itself is extraneous to Mr. Barr’s brief letter. “The bottom line: The result is no collusion, no obstruction, and that’s the way it is,” the president told reporters on Thursday. “The facts are that there was no collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia, no obstruction of justice and President Trump has been fully vindicated,” said Boris Epshteyn, a former White House aide who now serves as the chief political commentator for Sinclair Broadcast Group. “And because Trump claimed total exoneration from the report, he created massive public pressure for the full report to be released.” Inside the White House, there is only a bare-bones plan in place for how to handle the release of the redacted report, people familiar with the matter said. The White House has not asked to read the report in advance, and aides are planning to speed read. Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, would not disclose how the legal team plans to address the report, but he said it would be similar to how the White House responded after Mr. Barr sent his summary to Congress. “We consider this to be case closed.”