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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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Incel blew his hand off — and may have been planning for suicide bomber attack on ‘hot’ cheerleaders: report

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A young man in Virginia was photographed for his mugshot with extensive facial injuries.

"A 23-year-old Virginia man who appeared to be planning an incel bomb attack on "hot cheerleaders" accidentally blew off his hand with explosives, authorities say," BuzzFeed News reported Saturday. "Cole Carini was charged in federal court on Friday connection with the plot after he allegedly lied to FBI agents by saying his extensive injuries were the result of a lawnmower accident."

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Big turnout for protest in Texas town known as a ‘haven’ for the Ku Klux Klan

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Protesters gathered in Vidor, Texas on Saturday for a rally against racism and police violence.

https://twitter.com/JordanJamesTV/status/1269366486189080576

The East Texas town has long had a reputation for racism.

Vidor is a small city of about 11,000 people near the Texas Gulf Coast, not too far from the Louisiana border. Despite the fact that Beaumont, a much bigger city just 10 minutes away, is quite integrated, Vidor is not. There are very few blacks there; it's mostly white. That is in large part because of a history of racism in Vidor, a past that continues to haunt the present," Keith Oppenheim reported for CNN in 2006.

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BUSTED: Key Trump aide caught pushing racist vigilantism on social media

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Video of a chainsaw-wielding Texas man threatening protesters while shouting the n-word went viral on Friday.

While many people were shocked by the video, one of President Donald Trump's top advisors supported the racism and vigilantism in documented in the video, according to a new report.

"President Donald Trump and his allies for years have amplified racist messages on Twitter while simultaneously reaching out to black and Hispanic voters, a dissonant balancing act that’s now rocking the GOP amid nationwide racial-justice protests," Politico reported Saturday. "The two competing forces collided Saturday on the Twitter feed of Trump campaign senior adviser Mercedes Schlapp, when she boosted a tweet that lauded a man in Texas in a viral video as he yelled the n-word and wielded a chainsaw to chase away anti-racism demonstrators."

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