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.

“As I understand it, the president is pretty clear, once he’s out of audit, he’ll think about doing it, but he is not inclined to do so at this time,” Mr. Gidley said on Fox News.

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.

This month, Mr. Neal formally requested from the Internal Revenue Service six years’ worth of the president’s personal and business tax returns. 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.

Mr. Mnuchin expressed concern that the request was being made for political purposes and was a violation…

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.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena demanding that the Justice Department hand over an unredacted copy of Robert S. Mueller III’s report along with underlying evidence by May 1 and promised “major hearings” into its findings. And Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts became the most prominent Democrat to call for impeachment.

But most Republican lawmakers remained silent on the report, meaning any effort to force Mr. Trump from office faced long odds barring an unexpected change of political circumstances. The months to come may see more fireworks over the report, including a constitutional clash in court over releasing it in full, but privately some Democrats have concluded that the president’s fate will probably be decided at the ballot box next year.

[Rudolph W. Giuliani attacked the credibility of the former White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II.]

While Mr. Trump had initially greeted the report as an exoneration, he spent at least part of the day in Florida stewing about disloyal aides who talked with investigators and sounded more defensive than celebratory. He expressed particular unhappiness over the report’s inclusion of granular accounts of his efforts to derail the investigation based on F.B.I. interviews and notes of his own advisers.

“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. “Watch out for people that take so-called ‘notes,’ when the notes never existed until needed.”

“Because I never agreed to testify, it was not necessary for me to respond to statements made in the ‘Report’ about me, some of which are total bullshit & only given to make the other person look good (or me to look bad),” he went on. “This was an Illegally Started Hoax that never should have happened, a…”

At that point he stopped and did not finish the thought until eight hours later: “…big, fat waste of time, energy and money.” He went on to vow to go after his pursuers, whom he called “some very sick and dangerous people who have committed very serious crimes, perhaps even Spying or Treason.”

The mention of notes appeared to refer to his former White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, who told investigators that the president pressed him to have Mr. Mueller fired and complained when he took notes. 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 could be the product of an inaccurate recollection or could be the product of something else.”

But Mr. McGahn had no motive to lie, according to Mr. Mueller, and he rebutted Mr. Giuliani through his own lawyer. “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.

“The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty,” said Ms. Warren, who is seeking the Democratic nomination. “That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States.”

In an era of deep polarization, Mr. Mueller’s 448-page report quickly became yet another case study in the disparate realities of American politics as each camp interpreted it through its own lens and sought to weaponize it against the other side.

The president’s defenders insisted he was cleared because even though Mr. Mueller confirmed a wide-ranging Russian effort to interfere in the…

How Michael Cohen Turned Against President Trump

T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Michael D. Cohen was at a breaking point. He told friends he was suicidal. He insisted to lawyers he would never go to jail. Most of all, he feared that President Trump, his longtime boss, had forsaken him.

“Basically he needs a little loving and respect booster,” one of Mr. Cohen’s legal advisers at the time, Robert J. Costello, wrote in a text message to Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s lead lawyer. “He is not thinking clearly because he feels abandoned.”

That was last June. The “booster” from Mr. Trump never arrived. And by August, Mr. Cohen’s relationship with him had gone from fraught to hostile, casting a shadow on the Trump presidency and helping drive multiple criminal investigations into the president’s inner circle, including some that continued after the special counsel’s work ended.

In the biggest blow to the president personally, federal prosecutors in Manhattan effectively characterized Mr. Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal case against Mr. Cohen involving hush money payments to a pornographic film actress. Mr. Cohen, and evidence gathered by prosecutors, implicated the president.

Now, as Mr. Cohen prepares to head to prison in two weeks, dozens of previously unreported emails, text messages and other confidential documents reviewed by The New York Times suggest that his falling out with Mr. Trump may have been avoidable.

Missed cues, clashing egos, veiled threats and unaddressed money worries all contributed to Mr. Cohen’s halting decision to turn on a man he had long idolized and even once vowed to take a bullet for, according to the documents and interviews with people close to the events. Some of the documents have been turned over to the prosecutors in Manhattan, and a small number were mentioned in the special counsel’s report released on Thursday, which dealt extensively with Mr. Cohen and referred to him more than 800 times.

Mr. Cohen held out hope for a different outcome until the very end, when he pleaded guilty and confessed to paying the illegal hush money to avert a potential sex scandal during the presidential campaign. Just hours earlier, wracked with indecision, he was still seeking guidance, looking, as one informal adviser put it, “for another way out.”

Mr. Cohen’s anxiety, on display in the documents, played a role in the undoing of his relationship with Mr. Trump, as did Mr. Costello’s lack of success in serving as a bridge to the White House. But also looming large were Mr. Giuliani’s and Mr. Trump’s failures to understand the threat that Mr. Cohen posed, and their inability — or unwillingness — to put his financial and emotional insecurities to rest.

After the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Mr. Cohen’s home, office and hotel room last April, two of Mr. Cohen’s advisers explored whether the president might be open to a pardon, but Mr. Giuliani offered no assurances.

In June, Mr. Costello proposed that he and Mr. Giuliani, who have been friends for decades, meet urgently with Mr. Cohen to address his grievances and ease his anxieties. “Are we going to meet Thursday or Friday?” Mr. Costello texted Mr. Giuliani on a Monday. “I would like to get back to Michael with a response.”

But Mr. Giuliani did not respond. And when Mr. Costello followed up, “Can I get a response on the possible meeting?” Mr. Giuliani hesitated, replying, “Not yet because haven’t talked to President,” who was out of the country.

The next day, Mr. Cohen’s private admission to friends that he was open to cooperating with prosecutors suddenly appeared in the news. And Mr. Cohen relayed his growing displeasure with the Trump camp to Mr. Costello, sending the lawyer an article that suggested the president and his allies intended “to discredit Michael Cohen” and commenting in the email that “they are again on a bad path.” He also complained to Mr. Costello that the president had stopped covering his legal expenses.

Mr. Costello, who spoke with The Times after Mr. Cohen waived attorney-client privilege in February, said that without Mr. Cohen’s team and the president’s lawyers in sync, it was impossible to navigate the tumultuous relationship.

“What we had here was a failure to communicate,” said Mr. Costello, who was never formally retained by Mr. Cohen. “My mission was to get everyone tuned in to the same channel. My thought was a face-to-face meeting among all the lawyers together with Cohen would put everyone on the same channel. The meeting never happened, and the rest is history.”

In an interview, Mr. Giuliani acknowledged that the Trump team had pulled back from Mr. Cohen, saying it did so because prosecutors might have viewed friendly overtures as witness tampering, and because Mr. Cohen’s legal problems extended beyond his relationship with the president.

“It seemed like an unfortunate but sensible decision,” he said of the Trump team’s reticence toward Mr. Cohen. “The more I look back at it, the more I wonder if it was inevitable that Michael was going to crack.”

Mr. Cohen declined to comment, but his spokesman, Lanny Davis, suggested that the Trump team had initially tried to keep Mr. Cohen in “the liar’s club” of people covering for the president.

After pleading guilty in August, and hoping to reduce his three-year prison sentence, Mr. Cohen told federal prosecutors about Mr. Trump’s role in the hush-money scheme, as well as other aspects of the president’s company, where he had worked for a decade. He also suggested Mr. Trump’s team had dangled a pardon to keep him loyal, according to Mr. Davis, who described the effort as more an attempt “to keep Cohen in the tent of those lying and protecting Trump than anything else.”

Mr. Giuliani denied that a pardon had been offered. Mr. Costello told prosecutors in a recent meeting that the pardon discussion had been initiated by Mr. Cohen and rejected by Mr. Giuliani.

Unencumbered by the restraints on the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, the prosecutors are now scrutinizing a wider swath of the president’s associates. About a dozen investigations are underway, including an inquiry into the Trump inaugural committee, which Mr. Cohen had assisted. Mr. Cohen also delivered congressional testimony that accused Mr. Trump of being a racist and a “con man.”

‘Blowing This Whole Thing’

The relationship between Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump was looking up, at least for a brief period, last April.

Just days after F.B.I. agents searched his hotel room on Park Avenue, Mr. Cohen received a phone call from the president. “Stay strong,” Mr. Trump told him, according to the Mueller report and a person with knowledge of the call.

Mr. Cohen thanked Mr. Trump repeatedly, and later told people the message was clear: The president, who had a history of treating Mr. Cohen poorly, wanted to keep him on his team.

As federal prosecutors in Manhattan built a criminal case against Mr. Cohen, he set out to find a lawyer who had experience with the Manhattan United States attorney’s office, known as the Southern District of New York. That’s when an acquaintance at a local law firm emailed him to pitch the services of his colleague Mr. Costello. The firm was eager to become associated with such a high-profile case, and quickly embraced Mr. Cohen.

“I am really sorry to read about your troubles,” the acquaintance, Jeffrey Citron, wrote. “My partner Bob Costello was formerly the deputy chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District.” He said that if Mr. Cohen wanted to connect with Mr. Costello and obtain “his insight into your situation, it would be my pleasure to arrange.”

Mr. Cohen jumped at the offer: “I do. Can you connect me to him?”

Mr. Cohen met that day with Mr. Citron and Mr. Costello in a conference room at the Loews Regency Hotel, where he had been staying while his home underwent renovations. After drawing the curtains, Mr. Cohen revealed the depths of his despair.

“I was up on the roof. I was thinking of jumping,” Mr. Cohen told the two men, according to Mr. Costello.

Over the course of the two-hour meeting, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Costello discussed options for digging out of the mess, including possibly seeking immunity from prosecution in exchange for cooperation. They also talked about whether state prosecutors…

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. Dionne of the Brookings Institution and The Washington Post about the release of the redacted Mueller Report.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It’s time for our regular week in politics segment, and this week we’re joined by our regulars David Brooks of The New York Times – hey there, David…

DAVID BROOKS, BYLINE: Hello.

CORNISH: …And E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution. Welcome back, E.J.

E J DIONNE, BYLINE: Happy Passover, and Happy Easter. Good to be here.

CORNISH: OK, so we want to follow up on the conversation we just heard with Ryan. And E.J., I want to start with you because you argue that the findings detailed in the report put the president and Congress on a collision course. And as we just heard, you know, if there is Mueller testifying and things like that, how does this collision course play out after that?

DIONNE: You know, it’s very odd. There are two sentences essentially that Trump can hang hit hat on because he wasn’t charged with conspiracy. And Mueller didn’t let him off the hook at all on obstruction. 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. The rest of the report is a – just an unholy mess for Trump. It’s about lies and chaos and an out-of-control president, pressure on aides to obstruct who kind of helped him sometimes by simply not following his orders, dozen a half Trump campaign officials meeting with Russians. So this is devastating.

And I think from the Democrats’ point of view, they could have what I would regard as a really stupid argument. Impeach now or not. I think that the better path is the one Pelosi is going to talk to them about on Monday, I think, from what I know, which is one step at a time, which is, don’t rule out impeachment because impeachment will be very important among other things for getting documents. But don’t rush into it ’cause you don’t have to. Investigate.

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. Can you talk about why you think these things are somehow working in concert?

BROOKS: Yeah. Even for those of us used to the Trump world, this was still an amazing level of brazenness that – I think it was even shocking to those of us who’ve been paying attention. But it struck me that it’s really about the infrastructure of our society that Trump with his lies and with his gangsterish activity runs roughshod over the systems of government we have. 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. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks undermined privacy and our organizational infrastructure that organizations need to deliberate. And so it was interesting to see these three forces intertwining in this debate, sometimes colluding, sometimes just sort of recognizing they’re all sort of the great big project of creating disorder and chaos at the – really the foundations of our society.

CORNISH: I want to go…

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.

Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, laid out how his team of prosecutors wrestled with whether Mr. Trump’s actions added up to a criminal obstruction-of-justice offense. They ultimately chose not to charge Mr. Trump, citing numerous legal and factual constraints, but pointedly declined to exonerate him and suggested that it might be the role of Congress to settle the matter.

The report laid bare that Mr. Trump was elected with the help of a foreign power, and cataloged numerous meetings between Mr. Trump’s advisers and Russians seeking to influence the campaign and the presidential transition team — encounters set up in pursuit of business deals, policy initiatives and political dirt about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president.

The special counsel concluded that there was “insufficient evidence” to determine that the president or his aides had engaged in a criminal conspiracy with the Russians, even though the Trump campaign welcomed the Kremlin sabotage effort and “expected it would benefit electorally” from the hacks and leaks of Democratic emails.

Then, after federal investigators opened an inquiry into the extraordinary Russian campaign, the president repeatedly tried to undermine it.

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” Mr. Mueller’s investigators wrote. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

Fevered speculation, now put to rest, arose in some circles that Mr. Trump and his immediate family might be in legal peril from Mr. Mueller’s investigation. At the same time, the report offered reams of evidence of a climate of deceit — and a base impulse for self-preservation — among a president and his top aides not seen since the days of Richard M. Nixon.

That impulse prompted some presidential advisers to try to block Mr. Trump’s demands that they take steps to protect him from federal investigators. Some feared getting wrapped up in the widening inquiry.

“The president’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” the report said.

The special counsel found that Mr. Trump had the authority to make many of his most controversial decisions, including the firing of James B. Comey as the F.B.I. director, by virtue of the powers the Constitution grants him. At the same time, it is a far more damning portrayal of his behavior than the one presented last month in a four-page letter released by Attorney General William P. Barr.

“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. “These actions ranged from efforts to remove the special counsel and to reverse the effect of the attorney general’s recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony. Viewing the acts collectively can help to illuminate their significance.”

In his letter, Mr. Barr announced that while Mr. Mueller had made no judgment about whether Mr. Trump had obstructed justice, he had stepped in to decide that the president had not.

Mr. Barr defended his decision in a news conference on Thursday and said that some of the president’s actions were understandable given the “context” of his situation.

“There is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks,” Mr. Barr said.

The Mueller report is a sometimes gripping account of a presidency consumed by a sprawling investigation, and of a president seized by paranoia about what it might unearth.

The Daily Poster

Immediately after learning that a special counsel had been appointed to lead the Russia investigation, the report said, Mr. Trump became distraught and slumped in his chair.

“Oh, my God. This is terrible,” he said. “This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

Mr. Trump had long denounced the inquiry as a politically motivated “witch hunt.” But since it began, a half-dozen former Trump aides have been indicted or convicted of crimes, most of them for lying to Congress or federal investigators.

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

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Not all of Robert S. Mueller III’s findings will be news to President Trump when they are released Thursday.

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. The talks have aided the president’s legal team as it prepares a rebuttal to the report and strategizes for the coming public war over its findings.

A sense of paranoia was taking hold among some of Mr. Trump’s aides, some of whom fear his backlash more than the findings themselves, the people said. The report might make clear which of Mr. Trump’s current and former advisers spoke to the special counsel, how much they said and how much damage they did to the president — providing a kind of road map for retaliation.

The discussions between Justice Department officials and White House lawyers have also added to questions about the propriety of the decisions by Attorney General William P. Barr since he received Mr. Mueller’s findings late last month.

Mr. Barr and his deputy, Rod J. Rosenstein, determined that Mr. Trump did not illegally obstruct justice and said the special counsel found no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia’s 2016 election interference. Mr. Barr told lawmakers that officials were “spying” on the Trump campaign, raised ominous historical parallels with the illegal surveillance of Vietnam War protesters and pointedly declined to rebut charges that Mr. Mueller’s investigators were engaged in a “witch hunt.”

Spokespeople for the White House and the Justice Department declined to comment. 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.

The Justice Department plans to turn the report over to Congress between 11 a.m. and noon on CDs, and it will be posted on the special counsel’s website sometime after, according to a senior department official. Though the delivery method might sound outdated, it is not unusual for lawmakers to receive large tranches of government information on the discs.

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. That letter generated anger among some members of Mr. Mueller’s team, who believed it failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and have told associates that the report was more troubling for Mr. Trump than Mr. Barr indicated.

His plans to black out sensitive information in the report have drawn complaints, particularly from Democrats who have demanded the document’s full text.

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.

A significant portion of the report will be readable, a government official said. Still, any redaction, no matter how minuscule, could omit information crucial to understanding what investigators uncovered.

Even a redacted report is likely to answer some of the outstanding questions about Russia’s attempts to sabotage the election; contacts between Kremlin intermediaries and the Trump campaign; and the president’s efforts to derail the investigation.

Mr. Mueller’s report examines each episode that was part of the president’s attempts to undermine the investigation, Mr. Barr wrote in his letter.

Investigators focused on whether the president used his position atop the executive branch to impede…

‘Stop Sanders’ Democrats Are Agonizing Over His Momentum

Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — When Leah Daughtry, a former Democratic Party official, addressed a closed-door gathering of about 100 wealthy liberal donors in San Francisco last month, all it took was a review of the 2020 primary rules to throw a scare in them.

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 Senator Bernie Sanders is well positioned to be one of the last candidates standing, she noted.

“I think I freaked them out,” Ms. Daughtry recalled with a chuckle, an assessment that was confirmed by three other attendees. They are hardly alone.

From canapé-filled fund-raisers on the coasts to the cloakrooms of Washington, mainstream Democrats are increasingly worried that their effort to defeat President Trump in 2020 could be complicated by Mr. Sanders, in a political scenario all too reminiscent of how Mr. Trump himself seized the Republican nomination in 2016.

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How, some Democrats are beginning to ask, do they thwart a 70-something candidate from outside the party structure who is immune to intimidation or incentive and wields support from an unwavering base, without simply reinforcing his “the establishment is out to get me’’ message — the same grievance Mr. Trump used to great effect?

But stopping Mr. Sanders, or at least preventing a contentious convention, could prove difficult for Democrats.

He has enormous financial advantages — already substantially outraising his Democratic rivals — that can sustain a major campaign through the primaries. 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.

To a not-insignificant number of Democrats, of course, Mr. Sanders’s populist agenda is exactly what the country needs. And he has proved his mettle, having emerged from the margins to mount a surprisingly strong challenge to Hillary Clinton, earning 13 million votes and capturing 23 primaries or caucuses.

His strength on the left gives him a real prospect of winning the Democratic nomination and could make him competitive for the presidency if his economic justice message resonates in the Midwest as much as Mr. Trump’s appeals to hard-edge nationalism did in 2016. And for many Sanders supporters, the anxieties of establishment Democrats are not a concern.

That prospect is spooking establishment-aligned Democrats, some of whom are worried that his nomination could lure a third-party centrist into the field. And it is also creating tensions about what, if anything, should be done to halt Mr. Sanders.

Some in the party still harbor anger over the 2016 race, when he ran against Mrs. Clinton, and his ongoing resistance to becoming a Democrat. But his critics are chiefly motivated by a fear that nominating an avowed socialist would all but ensure Mr. Trump a second term.

“There’s a growing realization that Sanders could end up winning this thing, or certainly that he stays in so long that he damages the actual winner,” said David Brock, the liberal organizer, who said he has had discussions with other operatives about an anti-Sanders campaign and believes it should commence “sooner rather than later.”

But to some veterans of the still-raw 2016 primary, a heavy-handed intervention may only embolden him and his fervent supporters.

R.T. Rybak, the former Minneapolis mayor who was vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2016, complained bitterly about the party’s tilt toward Mrs. Clinton back then, and warned that it would backfire if his fellow mainstream Democrats “start with the idea that you’re trying to stop somebody.”

If the party fractures again, “or if we even have anybody raising an eyebrow of ‘I’m not happy about this,’ we’re going to lose and they’ll have this loss on their hands,” Mr. Rybak said of the anti-Sanders forces, pleading with them to not make him “a martyr.”

The good news for Mr. Sanders’s foes is that his polling is down significantly in early-nominating states from 2016, he is viewed more negatively among Democrats than many of his top rivals, and he has already publicly vowed to support the…

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.

It was the second such letter written on behalf of Mr. Trump since Representative Richard E. Neal, the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, formally requested six years of the president’s personal and business tax returns earlier this month. 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.

The fight over Mr. Trump’s tax returns is expected to turn into a protracted legal battle that will likely make its way to the Supreme Court. Mr. Trump, who declined to provide his tax returns while running for president, continues to cite an ongoing audit as the reason he cannot release the documents, despite no rule or law that prevents him from doing so.

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. Trump and his defenders…

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.

The returns show that Mr. Sanders’s earnings shot up after his first presidential bid, when he built up a vast national following. He and his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, reported income that topped $1 million in 2016 and 2017, lifted by proceeds from his books.

The couple had an adjusted gross income of $561,293 in 2018, according to their most recent tax return. Mr. Sanders had about $393,000 in book income last year, and he and his wife reported giving nearly $19,000 to charity.

Their federal taxes came to $145,840, for an effective federal tax rate of 26 percent.

Mr. Sanders’s higher income in recent years has created some political awkwardness for the senator, who in his 2016 presidential campaign frequently railed against “millionaires and billionaires” and their influence over the political process.

His income now puts him within the top 1 percent of taxpayers, according to data from the Internal Revenue Service.

“These tax returns show that our family has been fortunate,” Mr. Sanders said in a statement. “I am very grateful for that, as I grew up in a family that lived paycheck to paycheck and I know the stress of economic insecurity.”

The issue of tax returns has been in the spotlight because of President Trump’s refusal to release his own, a position that defies decades of tradition. House Democrats are now demanding to see his returns.

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Mr. Sanders’s handling of the issue received attention in the 2016 race, when Hillary Clinton, his main rival for the Democratic nomination, pushed him to divulge years of…

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. And in the weeks that followed, the president’s message of vindication and revenge on his political antagonists has only intensified, as he has expressed no interest in reading the full report and leveled charges of treason against Democratic lawmakers.

Mr. Barr’s letter effectively emboldened Mr. Trump, aides said, even as they prepare for new details to emerge from a redacted version of the report — expected this week — that could renew questions about the president’s fitness for office, and even as some of them cringe at Mr. Trump’s choice of the word “exonerate.” (Privately, they admit, they would prefer he use the word “vindicate.”)

But Mr. Trump’s mood has been lighter since the report was filed, people close to him said, even though neither he nor his White House lawyers have seen the full document, or at this point plan to do so before it is released to Congress and to the public. 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.

“When they began to go after people he knew personally, who had worked for him for years, I think it gnawed at him, and I think he felt helpless,” said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and a confidant of Mr. Trump’s.

But since Mr. Barr issued his letter, the president has felt liberated and has been testing his bounds. He has poked fun at Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former vice president considering a presidential run, for his handsy approach to politics, despite his own troubled history with women. He has floated the idea of a pardon for Kevin McAleenan, now his acting homeland security secretary, if he encountered any legal problems in shutting the southwestern border. And he has heightened his attacks on the press beyond his normal refrain of “fake news,” falsely claiming that journalists are “knowingly” bending the truth.

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. He said that Democrats “know it’s all a big scam, a big hoax” and that he believed what they were doing was “actually treason.” Days earlier, en route to Texas, Mr. Trump told reporters: “I don’t care about the Mueller report. I’ve been totally exonerated.”

Mr. Trump is purposefully escalating his language, people who know him said, expressly to enliven his base of supporters and to enrage his political rivals and the news media. He has revived an idea that his administration rejected — sending immigrant detainees to so-called sanctuary cities — in part, people close to him said, to distract from the report.