Conservative group pledged to secrecy influenced Trump's tax reform -- then bungled the cover-up: report
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According to a report from the Guardian -- based on recordings that were mistakenly posted online -- a secretive conservative group conspired together and directed former President Donald Trump's decisions on a tax plan that, in the end, benefitted the super-rich.

The Guardian's Jason Wilson writes that the Council for National Policy (CNP), whose members include conservative activist Dennis Prager, TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk and Donald Trump nominee to the Federal Reserve Stephen Moore got together for a confab to discuss what tax rates would be acceptable to them -- with an emphasis on protecting the wealthy.

"[The] panel discussion at CNP's February 2019 meeting suggests that Trump decided one of his most far-reaching economic policies on very limited evidence – on the basis of a personal conversation," with close Trump advisers who sat him down and walked him through where they felt those tax rates should be.

According to the report, "The panelists offered a favorable assessment of the Trump administration's economic performance, but also used the platform to claim credit for pushing the administration in the direction of radical free-market policies. Moore claimed that he, together with Larry Kudlow, Trump's director of the National Economic Council from 2018, had persuaded the then-president to offer unprecedented corporate tax cuts."

Moore recalled that he and Kudlow presented their suggestions using colorful charts because "Donald Trump likes to look at pictures, he doesn't like to read."

"Trump looked at this and he said: 'No, I don't want to do that,'" instead proposing 'not 20%. I want 15%,"'Moore explained with Wilson adding, "with the number coming back to an effective 20% rate only after Senate negotiations."

The secretive discussion -- despite being recorded -- was supposed to remain that way only to be made available to the Guardian by mistake.

As Wilson reports, "CNP conference director, Mary Margaret Hathaway, enjoined participants to secrecy, reminding them to 'not record any speaker remarks'."

She added, "CNP meetings are off-limits to the press. So please be aware of who you're talking to. Don't grant any interviews and if you run into a reporter asking questions about the event, please let a member of the CNP staff or leadership team know."

But, as the report states, "Despite her warnings, the organization itself made the recordings obtained by the Guardian, and uploaded them on their website in a manner that made them accessible to any internet user," adding, "Other recordings obtained by the Guardian include talks at 2018 and 2019 meetings by senior Republicans including Senator Tom Cotton and the US congressman Steve Scalise; and former governors including Scott Walker and Sam Brownback."

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