Last night, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow set Twitter afire after she announced that she’d gotten her hands on the first two pages of the Form 1040 of President Trump’s 2005 tax returns. The details: Trump paid an effective tax rate of 24 percent, which is far below the top individual tax rate of 35 percent. These documents show that Trump himself would likely significantly benefit from his campaign plans to cut taxes for the wealthy, including cuts to the Alternative Minimum Tax, the tax that makes sure wealthy people pay their fair share in taxes.
This taste of Trump’s taxes does help Trump distract people from the terrible CBO score on Trumpcare, but it doesn’t really tell us much. We still don’t have enough information to get a full picture of Trump’s business decisions (including his many bankruptcies), his financial ties to Russia, or his conflicts of interest. That means we also don’t have enough information to know how President Trump can use the Oval Office to line his own wallet at the expense of everyday Americans. The only way to know anything is to get Trump’s complete returns on over the last three decades of his career.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#ReleaseTheReturns. Two things in life are certain: death and Donald Trump not wanting to release his taxes. But without Trump’s full tax returns it is impossible to get an accurate picture of his businesses, his ties to Russia, and his many conflicts of interest. And we need those answers to know whether he is using the presidency for profit at the expense of everyday Americans. Share this graphic to demand Trump #ReleaseTheReturns.
Hearings. Today three hearings are taking place to challenge the constitutionality of Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0. The newest executive order was supposed to be the Trump Administration’s attempt to make a working “travel ban” that responded to concerns raised with the original order, released at the end of January and blocked by a nation-wide injunction. But even Trump adviser Steven Miller admitted that this new version is the same as the first. And so advocates have taken it back to court. The first of the hearings, out of Maryland, seeks a nation-wide injunction and challenges the 50,000 cap on refugee resettlement in the United States. The second hearing, being held in Hawaii, also seeks an injunction on the order nationally and claims the ban will hurt it’s Muslim population, tourism and foreign students. The third hearing, brought by the Seattle judge who blocked the first order, also seeks a nationwide block to the ban, which is set to take effect at 12:01 am tonight.
Skinny Budget. Tomorrow, President Trump is expected to release his first budget proposal. This budget likely won’t provide much detail about Trump’s actual budget plans—hence the name “skinny budget”—but it will give a sense of Trump’s policy priorities. Trump’s skinny budget reportedly proposes a $54 billion increase in defense spending, to be paid for by cutting nondefense programs. Here are five things to look for in the skinny budget.
Putin’s Playbook. Make no mistake: Russian interference in the 2016 election was neither an isolated incident nor an ad hoc attempt at electoral mischief. It was part of a deliberate campaign to undermine the legitimacy of Western democracies and advance Russian foreign and domestic policy objectives—one that’s being deployed to support far-right political parties across Western Europe. Check out CAP’s new report on Russia’s “5th Column” in Europe for all the details.
UNDER THE RADAR
Equality Act. Congressional Democrats are planning on reintroducing the Equality Act, a comprehensive nondiscrimination bill that would ban LGBT discrimination nationwide. There is still no federal law explicitly banning anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, education, housing, and public accommodations. The Equality Act would clearly establish essential civil rights protections for LGBT people across the country, because your civil rights should never depend on your zip code.
Memes. Even Uncle Joe loves them. And now we finally know which Obama-Biden meme is his favorite.