1/ A federal appeals court ruled that Trump’s accounting firm must comply with a congressional subpoena for eight years of Trump’s tax returns. The U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. voted 8-3 to reject Trump’s arguments that Congress didn’t have the authority to request his business records because the House Oversight and Reform Committee only needed them to determine whether Trump broke existing laws – not whether to enact a new law. The House committee subpoenaed Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, in March demanding a broad set of Trump’s financial records. (Reuters / NPR / Washington Post / New York Times / Politico)
2/ Trump asked the Supreme Court to block Mazars USA from turning over eight years of his tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors, who are investigating hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. Trump has argued he has “temporary presidential immunity” not just from prosecution, but also from investigation while in office. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)
📌 Day 1019: Trump’s accounting firm must turn over eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors. A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court Appeals unanimously ruled that Trump is not immune from investigative steps taken by state prosecutors. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance subpoenaed the documents from Mazars USA as part of an investigation into the pre-election payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. Trump then sued the DA’s office to block the subpoena, arguing that as president he is immune not only from prosecution but from investigations. A district judge dismissed the argument in October, which Trump then appealed. Today, the appeals court said because Trump’s accounting firm – not Trump himself – was subpoenaed for the documents, it didn’t matter whether presidents have immunity. Trump’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said Trump would ask the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / CNN / NBC News / Associated Press / BuzzFeed News / CNBC)
📌Day 970: The Manhattan District Attorney subpoenaed eight years of Trump’s “personal and corporate tax returns” as part of its investigation into hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election. Trump and his company reimbursed Michael Cohen for the $130,000 Cohen he paid Stormy Daniels just before the election to buy her silence about an affair she had with Trump. Cyrus Vance’s office is exploring whether the reimbursements violated New York state laws and whether the Trump Organization falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense. The subpoena was served last month to Mazars USA, which prepares Trump’s tax returns. (New York Times / NBC News / CNBC / Axios)
3/ A second U.S. official overheard the July 26 phone call between Trump and the ambassador to the European Union discussing the need for Ukrainian “investigations.” Suriya Jayanti, a U.S. foreign service officer based in Kiev, was sitting at the table in a Ukraine restaurant when Sondland called Trump to tell him that “the Ukrainians were ready to move forward” on the investigations. Yesterday, Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified that one of his staffers, David Holmes, could hear Trump on the phone asking Sondland about “the investigations.” Trump, meanwhile, claimed he doesn’t recall the July 26 conversation – “not even a little bit.” (Associated Press)
- 📌 Day 1028: The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine testified that Trump asked about “the investigations” during a call with the U.S. ambassador to the European Union on July 26 – the day after Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son while he was holding U.S. military aid from Ukraine. Bill Taylor told the House Intelligence Committee that a member of his staff overheard Trump mention “the investigations” to Sondland, and that “Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.” Taylor called Trump’s decision to withhold “security assistance in exchange for help” with investigations to benefit his personal political interests both “alarming” and “crazy,” because Ukraine is a “strategic partner” and supporting them against Russian aggression is “clearly in our national interest.” Taylor also testified that “Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden” than Ukraine. The staffer who heard the conversation, David Holmes, will testify behind closed doors Friday in the House’s impeachment probe. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / NBC News)
4/ The Trump International Hotel in Washington’s sales pitch to investors suggests that new owners could “capitalize on government related business.” The Trump Organization has claimed that its refusal to solicit foreign business has cost it more than $9 million, though they project hotel to have operating revenues of $67.7 million next year – a 65% jump from 2018 to 2020. The hotel is also subject to multiple lawsuits accusing Trump of violating the emoluments clause by using the property to profit off his presidency. The company hopes to sell the hotel for more than $500 million. (CNN)
- 📌 Day 967: A federal appeals court revived a previously-dismissed lawsuit that accused Trump of violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause. The lawsuit claimed that Trump’s “vast, complicated and secret” business arrangements violate the Emoluments Clause, which bars presidents from accepting gifts from foreign governments without the permission of Congress. The case was originally dismissed by a lower-level federal judge in December 2017. Earlier this year, Trump won a separate emoluments suit by the Democratic attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia when the case was dismissed by another federal appeals court’s. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / Politico / CNN / Axios)
5/ Trump suggested classifying all migrants who enter the U.S. without permission as “enemy combatants” and sending them to Guantanamo Bay, according to a forthcoming book by an anonymous senior Trump administration official. Trump proposed changing the classification as a way of deterring them from coming to the U.S. The book says Trump’s idea was quickly and quietly opposed “Before the president could make a public case for the concept.” (The Guardian)
6/ Lindsey Graham blocked a resolution in the Senate that would have formally recognized the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire hours after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey does not recognize the killing of 1.5 million Armenians. The resolution passed the House in a 405-11 vote. Graham claimed the bill was an attempt to “sugarcoat history or try to rewrite it.” (The Hill / Fox News / BBC)
7/ Trump made 67 false claims last week – 27 of them related to Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. (CNN)
poll/ 47% of Americans believe it’s difficult to identify true and factual information, compared with 31% who find it easy to do so. 50% of WTFJHT readers love WTFJHT 100% of the time. (Associated Press)
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