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Old 05-07-2019, 08:10 PM
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Why Does Congress Pussyfoot Around With Trump's Taxes?


Why didn't the House subpoena Trump's taxes instantly once the Democrats took control of the House? Why do they drag this out?
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:14 PM
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They did when they had a good damn reason, a good justification for the request. Scratch request, it was actually a demand that the IRS follow the law that allowed them to ask.
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:37 PM
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They don't want to make Donnie mad. When he's mad, he's scawwy.

That's all I got.
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Old 05-08-2019, 10:46 AM
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Unlike Trump and his ilk many of the Democrats feel shame if they are accused of not playing by the rules (and by rules I mean US federal law and the US constitution).

Basically they are playing football against a team that has a bear on the team and insists the bear is not only a legal player who's not breaking any rules, but that it's the greatest player ever. There are refs who call out the bear for illegal tackles and such, but many of the calls are overruled by the league commissionaire.

To stop playing by the rules seems to many like the thing to do, but the Democrats want there to be a game and rules in the future, and many of the Republicans want less game and less rules, so the Democrats are in a lose-lose situation unless they can keep plodding on using the rules and hope eventually the bear will become unacceptable to a sufficient number of republicans, refs and the league commissionaire.
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:01 PM
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Why didn't the House subpoena Trump's taxes instantly once the Democrats took control of the House? Why do they drag this out?
Because the idea that the head of the House Judiciary Committee can demand to see anyone's tax returns anytime he/she likes is not as much of an open-and-shut case as Dems would have us believe.

If the House issues the subpoena, it will wind up in federal court. If the court quashes the subpoena, the Dems will appeal; if it doesn't, the GOP will appeal. Eventually it will wind up in the Supreme Court, after a year or two or three. The Dems are no more likely to succeed there as at any of the lower courts.

And, turnabout is fair play. The head of the Senate Judiciary committee is also supposedly able to request tax returns from anybody. And not just Presidential candidates and Presidents, either. For instance, donors to candidates, too.

Saying that it is a point of contention as to whether this is a ploy to embarrass the President is, IMO, putting it mildly.

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Old 05-08-2019, 12:29 PM
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No, Shodan is right. We should only enforce laws in cases where people are most likely to co-operate with them. And gosh, every effort must be made to keep from exposing Trump as a fraud and a criminal. How embarrassing would it be if that turned out to be true.
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:45 PM
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And, turnabout is fair play. The head of the Senate Judiciary committee is also supposedly able to request tax returns from anybody. And not just Presidential candidates and Presidents, either. For instance, donors to candidates, too.
Seems like a good thing to me. And even if you think it's not, do you think donors to Republican candidates who fear their tax returns might be requested are going to appreciate Republicans starting revenge requests?
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Old 05-08-2019, 01:06 PM
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Saying that it is a point of contention as to whether this is a ploy to embarrass the President is, IMO, putting it mildly.
As a thought experiment, imagine that you're a person to whom it matters whether the president of the United States is a corrupt criminal. Someone who would be extremely concerned by it, even if the president is a Republican.
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Old 05-08-2019, 01:21 PM
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As a thought experiment, imagine that you're a person to whom it matters whether the president of the United States is a corrupt criminal. Someone who would be extremely concerned by it, even if the president is a Republican.
But but but, Trump is not a criminal, because HE SAYS SO. And that's good enough.

Also, WITCH HUNT!
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Old 05-08-2019, 01:38 PM
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Also, WITCH HUNT!
Thank goodness it's all, "Finished. Over. Completed."
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  #11  
Old 05-08-2019, 04:43 PM
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But but but, Trump is not a criminal, because HE SAYS SO. And that's good enough.
But but but, Trump's a criminal, because YOU SAY SO. And that's good enough.

You know, I thought that in America you had the principle of presumption of innocence. Or doesn't that apply to people with an R after their name?

Tell me, have all the Democrat Senators and Representatives released their tax returns? If not, why not?

The view from 4000 miles away is that they're just playing politics, keeping the issue bubbling. They don't want push to come to shove. It's win-win for them as they keep the issue bubbling and they follow the adage of never stopping your opponent when he's making a mistake. Quite clever, really.
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:48 PM
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..
You know, I thought that in America you had the principle of presumption of innocence. ...
That kicks in once you've been arrested and charged with a crime. Let's go there!

Last edited by bobot; 05-08-2019 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:55 PM
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But but but, Trump's a criminal, because YOU SAY SO. And that's good enough.

You know, I thought that in America you had the principle of presumption of innocence. Or doesn't that apply to people with an R after their name?

Tell me, have all the Democrat Senators and Representatives released their tax returns? If not, why not?

The view from 4000 miles away is that they're just playing politics, keeping the issue bubbling. They don't want push to come to shove. It's win-win for them as they keep the issue bubbling and they follow the adage of never stopping your opponent when he's making a mistake. Quite clever, really.
No, not just me. Hundreds, HUNDREDS of former prosecutors. From both parties. Appointed by presidents going back decades.

Not just me. The Mueller Report. Not the Barr memo that "totally exonerated him". The actual report, which did NOT.

But hey - let's pretend this is "just my opinion, some dude on the internet". Good arguing tactic there.

Have senators EVER released tax returns? No. But presidents have. For decades. But not our special Mr. Trump. Oh no. Dear Leader does not do that. Dear Leader does whatever he wants. Dear Leader has nothing to hide, so you can't see anything.

Sure, the "view from 4000 miles away." This is also known as "the view by people who are not in full grasp of the facts, and get their news from memes on the internet" It's the view from the uneducated, the ill-informed and authoritarians who love Dear Leader.

And now we have a case where Dear Leader Trump has claimed executive privilege into a report about HIS OWN CONDUCT, and his instructing HIS OWN APPOINTEE to refuse to cooperate with Congress. Dear Leader Trump is innocent, so you can't see the investigation - just trust the guy Trump hired to spike the investigation.

Jesus. You are actually defending this. Actually. Wow.

Presumption of Innocence? Really? So this now involves burying the investigation, and refusing to release details to congress? Really?

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  #14  
Old 05-08-2019, 05:26 PM
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But but but, Trump's a criminal, because YOU SAY SO. And that's good enough.

You know, I thought that in America you had the principle of presumption of innocence. Or doesn't that apply to people with an R after their name?
As has been pointed out... in this thread.... Michael Cohen also said so. Trump's own lawyer told congress to pull his tax returns to find evidence of criminal acts. I can't imagine why they wouldn't actually, you know, follow up on that bombshell of a tip. Can you explain why they should ignore Michael Cohen?
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Old 05-09-2019, 12:03 AM
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But but but, Trump's a criminal, because YOU SAY SO. And that's good enough.
Jesus, is reading that difficult? His OWN LAWYER says so. THAT'S why Congress is looking for his taxes.
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Old 05-09-2019, 04:56 PM
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But but but, Trump's a criminal, because YOU SAY SO. And that's good enough.

You know, I thought that in America you had the principle of presumption of innocence. Or doesn't that apply to people with an R after their name?

Tell me, have all the Democrat Senators and Representatives released their tax returns? If not, why not?

The view from 4000 miles away is that they're just playing politics, keeping the issue bubbling. They don't want push to come to shove. It's win-win for them as they keep the issue bubbling and they follow the adage of never stopping your opponent when he's making a mistake. Quite clever, really.
Don't you know the difference between presumption of innocence and presumption that there is something to investigate. The law on tax returns says that the congressional committees can look at anybody's tax return, not anybody except someone with an "r" in their name. And it was passed at a time that the president was directly in their cross-hairs.

Another point. They are not asking him to release his returns; only to allow them to look at them, in accordance with an explicit law. They would remain a closely guarded secret. Unless they became a basis for impeachment.
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Old 05-08-2019, 01:26 PM
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As a thought experiment, imagine that you're a person to whom it matters whether the president of the United States is a corrupt criminal. Someone who would be extremely concerned by it, even if the president is a Republican.
And he put criminal evidence in his tax return? Which he probably barely saw, delegating that to staff. Who also know what's there. And are remarkably silent in this age of anonymous tips.
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:44 PM
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And he put criminal evidence in his tax return? Which he probably barely saw, delegating that to staff. Who also know what's there. And are remarkably silent in this age of anonymous tips.
Yeah, you're right. Unless he listed "illegal bribes" on his Schedule A and "money laundering" on line 21, there's probably nothing useful to be learned.

And whoever heard of a career criminal being taken down for tax fraud, anyway? Trump is untouchable!
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:54 PM
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And he put criminal evidence in his tax return? Which he probably barely saw, delegating that to staff. Who also know what's there. And are remarkably silent in this age of anonymous tips.
That's already been answered - Michael Cohen, Fixer Extraordinaire, has said, under oath, that there are crimes in his tax returns. I know things move fast, but it's been months.

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And whoever heard of a career criminal being taken down for tax fraud, anyway? Trump is untouchable!
Well played, if mildly inaccurate.
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:18 PM
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Because the idea that the head of the House Judiciary Committee can demand to see anyone's tax returns anytime he/she likes is not as much of an open-and-shut case as Dems would have us believe.
"This is not an issue on which there is any possibility of reasonable disagreement. Any well-informed person who disagrees either that the Ways and Means Committee has an obligation to demand Trump’s tax returns as part of fulfilling its oversight duties or that Trump is legally obliged to turn them over is either a partisan hack or contemptuous of the rule of law."
- Daniel Shaviro, law professor, New York University

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vox...-legal-experts

The degree to which this is not an open-and-shut case is the degree to which our judiciary is hopelessly compromised to partisan ends. It is perhaps telling that Shodan doesn't actually make an argument as to why this might not be an open-and-shut case. Then again, it's not his job to think up sophistic arguments to defend the indefensible to cover for republicans, so I'll let it slide. (That's Bret Kavanaugh's job.)
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:18 PM
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Hey, Shodan!. Ever hear of Teapot Dome? Read a book or google it or something. It was quite the thing, back in the day!
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:23 AM
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Hey, Shodan!. Ever hear of Teapot Dome? Read a book or google it or something. It was quite the thing, back in the day!
I fully support your efforts to see Warren G. Harding's tax returns. It could be the break the Eugene V. Debs campaign needs!

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:32 AM
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I fully support your efforts to see Warren G. Harding's tax returns. It could be the break the Eugene V. Debs campaign needs!

Regards,
Shodan
It's good to finally see you supporting presidential accountability. What brought you around?
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Old 05-09-2019, 12:15 PM
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It's good to finally see you supporting presidential accountability. What brought you around?
He is laboring under the impression that Harding was a Democrat.
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:33 PM
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Pft, it's not like Congress has sworn testimony from Trump's lawyer that he's been playing loose with a number of people, and his tax returns would show exactly that.

Y'know, the same lawyer that's currently in prison for illegally paying hush money to a pornstar to keep quiet an affair he had just after his son was born. Because demanding morality from our politicians is only well and good when they're Democrats, or something. It's not like cheating is a Commandment or something.

But yeah, it's just a chance to smear Trump. With crimes. Like a criminal.
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:55 PM
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Pft, it's not like Congress has sworn testimony from Trump's lawyer that he's been playing loose with a number of people, and his tax returns would show exactly that.

...
You know, if I had a nickel for every time I've pointed out this very thing on this board, I'd probably have 20, 25 cents by now. But this point goes right through Trump supporter's heads with no understanding.
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Old 05-08-2019, 01:24 PM
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And Trump has been completely and fully exonerated, according to the person who Trump appointed to exonerate him. Just because the report specifically said that Trump was not exonerated is not proof of anything.

Also, it's good if nobody sees the full report except the guy Trump hired to exonerate him. Because WITCH HUNT. Trump is not a criminal because the president cannot be indicted for criminal acts. QED

You see, this all makes sense to Trump supporters. You have to realize that trying to make him see it any other way is pointless.
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Old 05-08-2019, 04:58 PM
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Dude with crack pipe to cop:

"Hey, I"m entitled to presumption of innocence, so you are not allowed to give your report to the DA!"
  #29  
Old 05-09-2019, 06:21 AM
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The reason the IRS hasn't released Trump's tax returns is that it would be illegal for them to do so, as Congress has no legitimate reason for asking for them.

If Congress starts holding people in contempt for not breaking the law on their behalf, they would be acting no better than Trump.
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Old 05-09-2019, 06:26 AM
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The reason the IRS hasn't released Trump's tax returns is that it would be illegal for them to do so, as Congress has no legitimate reason for asking for them.

If Congress starts holding people in contempt for not breaking the law on their behalf, they would be acting no better than Trump.
The House of Representatives has a Constitutional responsibility of oversight. The branches of government were created co-equally - at least on paper anyway. There's a 1924 Act that was signed into law precisely in response to the fact that, at the time, Congress didn't have the power to access tax records. The Congress, with the president's signature, gave itself that power, and it really doesn't need much of a reason other than oversight.

Of course, like all things, the president could litigate, and he's obviously doing that. But he will most likely lose that court battle. The problem for Democrats is, it could take a while to get through the court system. The other problem is, there has to be a mechanism that forces Steve Mnuchin or one of his agents to physically release those documents, which isn't easy when an administration frequently ignores the law.

Last edited by asahi; 05-09-2019 at 06:27 AM.
  #31  
Old 05-09-2019, 06:43 AM
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The reason the IRS hasn't released Trump's tax returns is that it would be illegal for them to do so, as Congress has no legitimate reason for asking for them.
Got a citation that isn't Steve Mnuchin covering for his boss? Or are you still somehow laboring under the constantly-refuted delusion that when someone from the Trump administration says something, they aren't most likely lying?

The idea that congressional oversight is not a "legitimate legislative purpose" is such bald-faced bullshit that I cannot believe anyone takes it seriously. It is literally the reason the law was crafted in the first place - it was a response to the Teapot Dome scandal.
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:10 AM
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Got a citation that isn't Steve Mnuchin covering for his boss? Or are you still somehow laboring under the constantly-refuted delusion that when someone from the Trump administration says something, they aren't most likely lying?
I doubt he's lying that the DOJ has given that advice. It's not impossible, but unlikely, as there's no good reason to think the DOJ wouldn't do so.

Quote:
The idea that congressional oversight is not a "legitimate legislative purpose" is such bald-faced bullshit that I cannot believe anyone takes it seriously. It is literally the reason the law was crafted in the first place - it was a response to the Teapot Dome scandal.
What pending legislation will seeing Trump's tax returns affect? If this law is meant to allow Congress to investigate and oversee the Executive, it seems that only allowing it for legislative purposes is a bad way of doing it.
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:16 AM
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The illegal thing here is the refusal to comply with the law that allows the demand.
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:25 AM
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The illegal thing here is the refusal to comply with the law that allows the demand.
That's what one side claim. The other side claim that the law does not allow that demand, and the side that make the latter claim is the Department of Justice. This will probably end up in the Supreme Court in a few years, and that Court will probably side with the DOJ.

The Democrats in Congress may well be able to make Trump look bad for hiding behind lawyers and courts to keep his tax returns private (if it's even possible to make him look worse) - but attempting to hold people in contempt for following legal advice should not be acceptable.
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:17 AM
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I doubt he's lying that the DOJ has given that advice. It's not impossible, but unlikely, as there's no good reason to think the DOJ wouldn't do so.
What could possibly lead you to believe this, considering how frequently and blatantly members of this administration have lied? Barr lied openly about the Mueller report, even presumably knowing his lies would be exposed in a matter of days.
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:29 AM
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What could possibly lead you to believe this, considering how frequently and blatantly members of this administration have lied? Barr lied openly about the Mueller report, even presumably knowing his lies would be exposed in a matter of days.
I believe that the DOJ probably did give this advice, as they are as invested in protecting Trump as the rest of the executive. I further believe that they will stand behind that position all the way to the Supreme Court, and will win.

None of which has anything to do with the intentions of the writers of the law, or the morality of Trump hiding his tax returns.
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:42 AM
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What pending legislation will seeing Trump's tax returns affect? If this law is meant to allow Congress to investigate and oversee the Executive, it seems that only allowing it for legislative purposes is a bad way of doing it.
The part that your missing is that the law doesn't "only allow it for legislative purposes." That's the part that Mnuchin and the DOJ are pulling out of thin air. The law makes no mention of any purpose, need, requirement or whatever. It just says congress can ask, and the treasury department shall deliver, full stop. And if you read up on the history of the law, the debates that were had, the language that was considered, you'll realize that the fact that it doesn't require any reason was entirely intentional.

What Sec Mnuchin (and apparently the DOJ) are going to argue, here, is that the law is unconstitutional because congress shouldn't have such broad powers to view tax information, and hope that SCOTUS throws it out. I don't see how they'll get past a plain reading of the text but I'm not a lawyer. But if you're going to continue to argue in favor the Trump administration here, you need to understand two things -- one, congress has the upper hand because of the plain language of the law, and two, the administration's defense is a hail mary pass straight to SCOTUS, because the law is not on their side.

Last edited by steronz; 05-09-2019 at 07:43 AM.
  #38  
Old 05-09-2019, 08:03 AM
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I doubt he's lying
Why?

Seriously, stop giving these people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to honesty. They lie constantly, intentionally, shamelessly, and knowingly. They lie to the press. They lie to the public. They lie when they know their lies will be revealed days later. They lie about trivially observable reality. They lie and lie and lie and lie and keep fucking lying.

Why would you doubt that he's lying?

When you say "I doubt <insert Trump administratino figure here> is lying", I read that the same way as, "I doubt the sun will rise in the morning" - you'd better offer a damn good reason, or your pattern recognition skills have failed you quite thoroughly.

Last edited by Budget Player Cadet; 05-09-2019 at 08:08 AM.
  #39  
Old 05-09-2019, 11:31 AM
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They lie constantly, intentionally, shamelessly, and knowingly. They lie to the press. They lie to the public. They lie when they know their lies will be revealed days later. They lie about trivially observable reality. They lie and lie and lie and lie and keep fucking lying.
A parody of "Rainy Day Women ♯12 & 35" is in there somewhere...
  #40  
Old 05-09-2019, 06:44 AM
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The reason the IRS hasn't released Trump's tax returns is that it would be illegal for them to do so, as Congress has no legitimate reason for asking for them.

If Congress starts holding people in contempt for not breaking the law on their behalf, they would be acting no better than Trump.
This is not an accurate interpretation of the law based on everything I've read that wasn't from those in Trump's thrall.
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:02 AM
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This is not an accurate interpretation of the law based on everything I've read that wasn't from those in Trump's thrall.
We'll find out the answer to that if and when it reaches the Supreme Court. However, as the official response is that the DOJ says it would be illegal to release the returns, it would be hugely wrong for Congress to hold anyone in contempt for following that advice.

Precedent may well be important here. Under what circumstances have Congress subpoenad tax returns in the past?
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:13 AM
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We'll find out the answer to that if and when it reaches the Supreme Court. However, as the official response is that the DOJ says it would be illegal to release the returns, it would be hugely wrong for Congress to hold anyone in contempt for following that advice.

Precedent may well be important here. Under what circumstances have Congress subpoenad tax returns in the past?
Without exception, they have subpoenaed the returns of every president who refused to release them in the past 46 or so years.
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:15 AM
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Precedent may well be important here.
Unless I'm missing something, the IRS or Treasury Department has never before denied a request from Congress to see tax documents. It's the Trump administration that is violating precedent, not Congress.
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:36 AM
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Unless I'm missing something, the IRS or Treasury Department has never before denied a request from Congress to see tax documents. It's the Trump administration that is violating precedent, not Congress.
Well, that's what I'm asking. How often, and for what stated purpose, are these requests made? Is this a theoretical power that's never been tested, one that's used uncontroversially on a regular basis, one that's been used occasionally in exceptional circumstances, or something else?

I'm asking this because I don't know, and a very quick Google search hasn't answered the question.
  #45  
Old 05-09-2019, 07:54 AM
ElvisL1ves is offline
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Originally Posted by Steophan View Post
The reason the IRS hasn't released Trump's tax returns is that it would be illegal for them to do so, as Congress has no legitimate reason for asking for them.
Emoluments. Deutsche Bank. Russia.

There is no legitimate reason to withhold them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Budget Player Cadet View Post
Are you aware that Trump's lawyer testified under oath to congress that Trump almost certainly committed tax fraud?
Never mind that; he himself just confessed to it with his tweet calling it "sport".

Last edited by ElvisL1ves; 05-09-2019 at 07:56 AM.
  #46  
Old 05-09-2019, 07:57 AM
steronz is online now
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Originally Posted by Steophan View Post
The reason the IRS hasn't released Trump's tax returns is that it would be illegal for them to do so, as Congress has no legitimate reason for asking for them.

If Congress starts holding people in contempt for not breaking the law on their behalf, they would be acting no better than Trump.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steophan View Post
In short, the legal situation is not as clear cut as people are making out, and will almost certainly need to be decided by the courts. Which, with the current Supreme Court, means it will be decided in Trump's favour.
Having trouble squaring the confidence of your first post here with the caveat in your last.
  #47  
Old 05-09-2019, 09:15 AM
Steophan is online now
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Having trouble squaring the confidence of your first post here with the caveat in your last.
I should probably have said in the first post that the reason they were giving is that it's illegal. Point being, they are not simply ignoring Congress's demand but claiming that they may not legally fulfil that demand.

I still think it's extremely likely that the Supremes will side with Trump and the DOJ, and the demand will, in fact, turn out to be illegal.
  #48  
Old 05-09-2019, 09:28 AM
steronz is online now
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I should probably have said in the first post that the reason they were giving is that it's illegal. Point being, they are not simply ignoring Congress's demand but claiming that they may not legally fulfil that demand.
Yes, you probably should have. But of course, if all you're doing is relaying what Mnuchin has said, then that doesn't really add much to the conversation that we couldn't all read for ourselves in pretty much any news coverage of the topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steophan View Post
I still think it's extremely likely that the Supremes will side with Trump and the DOJ, and the demand will, in fact, turn out to be illegal.
That's all well and good, obviously others disagree. At best, we've got a president who claims he did nothing wrong, but refuses to release exculpatory evidence to the oversight committee in violation of an apparently lawful request, and is prepared to take this refusal all the way to the supreme court in order to avoid having to clear his name. How Trump comes out of this looking better than congress is beyond me.
  #49  
Old 05-09-2019, 10:02 AM
Ravenman is online now
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Originally Posted by Steophan View Post
I still think it's extremely likely that the Supremes will side with Trump and the DOJ, and the demand will, in fact, turn out to be illegal.
Are you aware that the Supreme Court found that forcing Americans to testify before the House Un-American Affairs Committee to interrogate them about possible Communist sympathies was found to be a "legitimate legislative purpose?"

On your scale of legitimate purposes, where does routine oversight of tax laws as they apply to the President rank in relation to a witch hunt for Communists? It sounds like lower, but I just want to be sure.
  #50  
Old 05-09-2019, 09:53 AM
Euphonious Polemic is offline
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Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves View Post
Emoluments. Deutsche Bank. Russia.

There is no legitimate reason to withhold them.

Never mind that; he himself just confessed to it with his tweet calling it "sport".
Indeed. From an analyst after the questioning of Cohen about Trump's creative valuation of his properties:

"“Fundamentally, this is a question of Trump’s attitude toward taxes,” says Steve Rosenthal, senior fellow for the Urban–Brookings Tax Policy Center. “Does he believe that taxes are a shared responsibility? Or does he believe that taxes are a game of hide and seek?”

And now we know the answer to that question, directly from Trump himself. Paying taxes is "a sport", one that presumably you can cheat to win at, just like Trump does with golf.

Last edited by Euphonious Polemic; 05-09-2019 at 09:54 AM.
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