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Nearly 20 states are on the verge of blocking Donald Trump from appearing on the 2020 ballot

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As President Donald Trump continues to refuse requests to hand over copies of his tax returns from Democrats on Capitol Hill, state lawmakers are considering making their release a condition of the 2020 presidential election.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Neary twenty states across the county have introduced legislation that would require all presidential and vice presidential candidates to release their individual tax returns in order to appear on the ballot during the presidential or general election, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

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Bills requiring prospective presidential candidates to disclose recent tax returns as a condition to appear on the ballot are currently pending in the following fourteen states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Similar legislation, introduced this year, failed in Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Virginia.

Despite a few exceptions, nearly all of the state bills that have been introduced would require candidates to post at least five years of their individual tax returns. In addition, virtually every state bill has been introduced by a Democratic lawmaker, an apparent reaction to Trump’s decision to buck decades of tradition during the 2016 election cycle when he refused to release his tax returns.

Although not required by law, every major party presidential nominee since the 1970s has chosen to publicly release his or her tax returns except for Gerald Ford, who only released a summary. Financial disclosures can help paint a fuller picture of a candidate’s business positions and interests by providing information about financial dealings, such as investments, donations, business relationships, assets and possible conflicts of interests.

Trump, who pledged to release his tax returns as a presidential candidate, appeared to become skittish about handing over the documents in February 2016. Since then, he has argued he cannot disclose his returns, because he is being audited by the IRS — even though an audit does not prevent a taxpayer from releasing his or her own tax documents.

Additionally, the president’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen told a congressional panel in February that he does not believe Trump’s taxes are under audit. Cohen said Trump expressed concern that releasing his returns would lead to an audit and IRS tax penalties.

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Several Democrats vying for the party’s presidential nomination in 2020 have already disclosed their tax returns, partly in an effort to draw a contrast with Trump.

The Trump administration on Tuesday blew past a deadline from House Democrats for six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns, which they have requested under an anti-corruption provision of the U.S. Constitution. Instead, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin informed House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., that the Treasury and Justice Departments need until May 6 to respond to his “unprecedented” request to obtain Trump’s tax returns.

The tax return bills some states are currently considering would circumvent what is likely to be a lengthy legal battle between the Trump administration and Congress — though, as CNN noted, “it isn’t clear if the risk of missing the ballot on states likely to give their Electoral College votes to a Democrat in 2020 would sway the president.” Questions also remain whether states requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the ballot would be constitutional.

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Marie Yovanovitch made a ‘mockery’ of Trump’s dismissal of the ‘deep state’ with her testimony: CNN’s David Gregory

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CNN contributor David Gregory used his time during a panel segment on the impeachment testimony of Marie Yovanovitch to hammer President Donald Trump for attacking the diplomat on Twitter as she spoke -- then said she had made a "mockery" of his [Trump's] dismissal of the "deep state."

According to Gregory, viewers might think he was naive to believe the president would not get personal and go after Yovanovitch, but that he was honestly stunned.

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Trump fumes over Roger Stone’s conviction — and demands to know when Mueller and ‘Shifty Schiff’ get prosecuted

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President Donald Trump reacted to Roger Stone's guilty verdict by threatening to jail at least 12 of his political opponents.

His longtime associate was convicted on seven counts, including lying to Congress, on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation of Russian election interference.

"So they now convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years to come," Trump tweeted. "Well, what about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Shifty Schiff, Ohr & Nellie, Steele & all of the others, including even Mueller himself? Didn’t they lie?"

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Roger Stone convicted on all seven counts on charges filed in Mueller probe

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Roger Stone was convicted Friday on multiple counts on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The longtime associate of President Donald Trump was convicted on all seven counts.

He was charged with lying to Congress, obstruction of Congress, witness tampering and other crimes.

Stone was the nexus between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks coordinating the release of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman by Russian hackers, according to investigators.

He potentially faces up to 50 years in prison under the statutes, but most likely will be sentenced to far less.

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