President Donald Trump’s desperate quest to keep his tax returns hidden from the American public, even as House Democrats invoke federal law to demand the Treasury turn them over is failing, said MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday evening.
“We got another crack in the dam in another part of the Trump Administration,” said Maddow. “This happened last night when someone leaked to the Washington Post the internal legal guidance that had been prepared at the IRS, making sure that the IRS itself knows that under law it must hand over President Trump’s tax returns to the Ways and Means Committee. The IRS’ own legal analysis says this is not a discretionary thing. This is not a judgment call for the treasury secretary or for anyone else. There is no wiggle room here. This is mandatory.”
Maddow noted that the memo “has not yet resulted in the IRS actually handing over the president’s tax returns, as required by law,” but “the IRS and the Treasury Department are now defying a subpoena to hand over those tax returns. That means their defiance of that subpoena will soon land them in court. It will not help them in court that the agency itself turns out to have put in writing that they know they need to hand over those tax returns. I mean, incidentally it will not help them that there are people inside the IRS who are willing to provide that kind of utterly damning material to reporters in order to blow the whistle on their own bosses.”
“And meanwhile, the dam is still cracking, including in new and exciting places,” said Maddow. “Today in Albany, New York, the state legislature in the state where the president lived his whole life and where he headquartered his business interests, today the state legislature in New York voted that they would provide the president’s state tax returns to Congress if the tax-related committees in Congress believe they need to see them.”
“Now there is no sign yet that the Democrats in Congress will take up this offer from New York state, which is offering to give them the president’s state tax returns,” Maddow continued. “But if the Democrats in Congress do ultimately decide to go that route, it is expected that those state tax returns would likely contain much of the same information as the president’s federal tax returns, which he is fighting so hard to keep secret.”
“And all that has happened in less than two weeks,” Maddow added. “And it’s just the start.”
Trump fears his base will turn on him if he flips and calls for nationwide mask guidelines: CNN
On CNN Saturday, analyst Ron Brownstein outlined the key reason President Donald Trump is struggling to adapt his message to proper public health guidance on the coronavirus pandemic.
"Ron, there is a retail trade group that has asked President Trump to institute federal, nationwide mask guidelines at stores across the country as the country continues to re-open," said anchor Alex Marquardt. "Experts are saying that masks could save thousands of lives in the coming months. Do you see a scenario in which — any chance in which he would issue that?"
"I think the short answer is no, and for a revealing reason," said Brownstein. "He is in a trap of his own construction. On coronavirus, we talk all the time about how President Trump's base is bonded to him, immovably. He's also bonded to the base in the other direction, that he is very reluctant to get out crosswise with a base that includes the kind of people that showed up at the Michigan capital to protest lockdown without wearing masks and waving Confederate flags and carrying automatic weapons."
Trump and the GOP have become the party of the dead
There are few morbid topics subject to greater speculation than the religious loyalty of President Donald Trump's "base." Why an alarmingly large amount of Americans refuse even to entertain any criticism of Trump deserves scrutiny from political scientists, psychologists and perhaps horror novelists working in the school of Edgar Allan Poe.
This article first appeared in Salon.
What is abundantly clear is that no matter who votes for Trump, he and the Republican Party on the national level have no interest in governing on the behalf of living human beings — with the exception of ensuring that a tiny minority of billionaires and multimillionaires enlarge their investment portfolios. Trump evinces no concern for Americans dying of the coronavirus, racist violence or any other malady or injustice. He demonstrates no regard for health care professionals courageously trying to save their patients from dying, and appears cruelly indifferent to the struggles of millions of workers whose livelihoods have been destroyed by COVID-19. Needless to say, Trump also shows contempt for Black Lives Matter, immigrants and anyone who opposes his re-election, which at this moment (and throughout his presidency) is more than half of the American public.
As coronavirus seizes the state, Florida hospitals are in panic mode
This article first appeared in Salon.
There are 47,663 hospital beds in the state right now with 11,782 available (meaning a remaining capacity of 19.82 percent) and a total staffed bed capacity of 59,445, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration's Hospital Bed Capacity Dashboard. The state Department of Health also reported on Friday that, out of 95,300 individuals who received coronavirus test results over the course of the previous day, 11,433 tested positive for COVID-19 (all but 90 of whom were Florida residents), meaning that more than 12 percent of the new cases had positive test results. The state also reported 93 new deaths due to COVID-19. (Salon reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment on this story.)