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Watergate prosecutor explains ‘direct parallels’ between Trump and Nixon’s hidden tax returns

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MSNBC’s Ari Melber welcomed Watergate prosecutor Nick Ackerman to “The Point” on Sunday to talk about how President Donald Trump is not the first president in modern history to attempt to conceal his tax returns from the public. With a special counsel appointed to dig deeper into the murk around Trump’s team and the Russian government, the matter of his tax returns becomes even more of an issue.

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“Historians note Nixon had questionable tax practices like the million dollar deduction he took for transferring presidential papers to the federal government’s national archives,” Melber said. “But that deduction actually expired when Nixon took office in ’69, which meant he couldn’t take it under the current law at the time. So, he tried to take it under the old law by having a lawyer falsify the records so it looked like he had made the donation earlier.”

“A secretive approach to taxes certainly rings a bell today,” he said, before asking Ackerman for his views on the similarities and differences between Trump’s and Nixon’s situations.

“All presidents from Harry Truman up had taken advantage of the fact that you could deduct a gift of papers,” Ackerman said. “And what he did differently was, in 1969 Congress changed that law, and not only did he back-date the deed, but he also lobbied pretty heavily to try and keep the law the way it was so he could continue to take that tax deduction.”

He continued, “I think there’s some direct parallels here in the sense that, look, Nixon was to minimize paying as little tax as possible. One of the ways to do that was to make these contributions of papers, and the one way around all that, ironically, was that by putting in place a taping system in the White House, you could donate tapes, not papers, but tapes. That was an exception to the ’69 Tax Reform Act.”

Melber said that he had never realized that about the tape system at the White House, that it was Nixon’s desire to pay less income tax that induced him to tape every word spoken in the Oval Office.

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Furthermore, Ackerman said, Trump is aping Nixon’s actions by attacking leakers and the press by making whistleblowing a prosecutable offense. Nixon sued the New York Times in an effort to keep the paper from publishing the Pentagon Papers.

Last week, it came to light that Pres. Trump spoke with now-former FBI Director James Comey about trying to jail journalists who published leaked documents.

Watch the video, embedded below:

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AG Bill Barr will ‘try to interfere’ in the 2020 election to re-elect Trump: MSNBC national affairs analyst

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Attorney General William Barr will use the Department of Justice to "try to interfere" in the 2020 presidential election to re-elect Donald Trump, MSNBC's national affairs analyst predicted on Tuesday.

John Heilemann was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC's "The Last Word."

"The attorney general, from the moment he walked into this job, has behaved in a -- as a ruthless, relentless political hack and a thug and who has behaved not as attorney general of the United States," Heilemann said.

"He made a travesty of the Mueller report and continues to lie on Donald Trump's behalf at every opportunity," he added.

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Trump welcomed Russia’s Sergey Lavrov to the White House — to humiliate us all

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Despite the fact that President Donald Trump still refuses to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Washington for an officials meeting — a topic at the center of the scandal driving Trump’s impeachment — the White House hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday.

And while Lavrov was honored with his second private Oval Office meeting (the first one was a cataclysmic disaster) and a press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the foreign minister took his opportunity here to repeatedly humiliate the United States.

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United States, Mexico, Canada finalize Donald Trump’s USMCA trade deal

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The United States, Mexico and Canada signed a deal Tuesday to finalize their new trade agreement, paving the way to ratification after more than two years of arduous negotiations.

However, the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the US Senate would likely delay Congressional ratification of the agreement until next year, said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

In reality, it is the second time the three countries have triumphantly announced the conclusion of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the deal meant to replace the 25-year-old NAFTA, which President Donald Trump complains has been "a disaster" for the US.

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