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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, 12:18 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 05-08-2019, 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, 12:33 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, 12:45 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, 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, 01:06 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, 01:24 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, 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, 01:38 PM
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Also, WITCH HUNT!
Thank goodness it's all, "Finished. Over. Completed."
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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 Trumpís 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, 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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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!"
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Old 05-08-2019, 05:02 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?
Based on the low bar set by the crowd who chanted "lock her up" about a woman who has still never been charged with a thing, calling Trump a criminal based on what we know about him is the mildest of accustaions.

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That kicks in once you've been arrested and charged with a crime. Let's go there!
Yes, let's! Anyone other than a sitting president who committed the acts detailed in the Mueller report would have been hit with a dozen indictments already. I would pay good money to watch Individual #1 take the stand to defend his presumed innocence.
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Old 05-08-2019, 05:07 PM
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Jesus. You are actually defending this. Actually. Wow.
You did read my whole post, didn't you?

Anyway, a quick search would have shown you that I have a thing about presumption of innocence that long pre-dates Trump.
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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 05-08-2019, 05:31 PM
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... Can you explain why they should ignore Michael Cohen?
Well, for starters, the guy is currently in prison for lying.

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Old 05-08-2019, 05:35 PM
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Well, for starters, the guy is currently in prison for lying.
Right, if only there were some way congress could find out if he's lying.... maybe by pulling Trump's tax returns to see if they confirm what Cohen said.


This is a truly baffling defense of Trump here. Presumption of innocence does not mean people can't be investigated, and someone being a criminal has never precluded police or investigators from even considering the information they give. The world where congress can't follow up on a tip from Cohen because of either "presumption of innocence" or "Cohen lied in the past" is not not the actual world we live in. Those are not the rules we operate under. It's a non-starter.

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Old 05-08-2019, 05:45 PM
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Right, if only there were some way congress could find out if he's lying.... maybe by pulling Trump's tax returns to see if they confirm what Cohen said.


This is a truly baffling defense of Trump here. Presumption of innocence does not mean people can't be investigated, and someone being a criminal has never precluded police or investigators from even considering the information they give. The world where congress can't follow up on a tip from Cohen because of either "presumption of innocence" or "Cohen lied in the past" is not not the actual world we live in. Those are not the rules we operate under. It's a non-starter.
Exactly right.

Some here seem to think that "presumption of innocence" means "you can't investigate me", or "after the investigation, you have to ignore the report, and only listen to my lawyer", or "I'm allowed to have my people lie during the investigation ,and that's OK"
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:19 PM
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Exactly right.
Exactly wrong. As usual, you, like others, are failing to distinguish between defending Trump - which I am not - and pointing out a stupid and flawed attack. Contrast my comments on your post with my analysis of what the actual politicians are doing.
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:27 PM
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pointing out a stupid and flawed attack.
It's only a stupid and flawed attack if you're a biased and willfully ignorant hack.
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:34 PM
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Exactly wrong. As usual, you, like others, are failing to distinguish between defending Trump - which I am not - and pointing out a stupid and flawed attack. Contrast my comments on your post with my analysis of what the actual politicians are doing.
Perhaps the ongoing investigations and requests for tax returns are nothing but "a stupid and flawed attack." (I disagree, but let's just say.) What does presumption of innocence have to do with it? If presumption of innocence shielded politicians from stupid and flawed attacks, we'd have to pretty much erase the entirety of U.S. history.

Or, if your argument is that presumption of innocence is what makes these investigations nothing but "a stupid and flawed attack," that also makes no sense. As steronz pointed out, if presumption of innocence meant people couldn't be investigated, you'd never convict anybody.

Trump isn't afforded the presumption of innocence until he's actually been charged with something. Now, what's your point?
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:38 PM
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Exactly wrong. As usual, you, like others, are failing to distinguish between defending Trump - which I am not - and pointing out a stupid and flawed attack. Contrast my comments on your post with my analysis of what the actual politicians are doing.
I'm not sure what you were trying to point out then, but if you're not defending Trump then presumably you're OK with congress pulling his taxes and upset that he's blocked the IRS from doing so, which is good enough for me. Cheers.
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Old 05-08-2019, 07:03 PM
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When people here in this thread start chanting "lock him up, lock him up", THEN you can go on about "presumption of innocence.

What you can't do is say that congress cannot do their duty and ask for Trump's tax returns. or ask to look at a report into Russian influence on the election because "presumption of innocence"

This is EXACTLY what congress is supposed to do. Act as a branch of government. Checking the other branch. Making them accountable.

"You can't look at the results of an investigation because presumption of innocence"

"You can't look at a president's tax forms after credible accusations of fiddling the IRS (out of Trump's very mouth), because presumption of innocence"

Both of these are wrong, wrong wrong.
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Old 05-08-2019, 08:07 PM
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Anyway, a quick search would have shown you that I have a thing about presumption of innocence that long pre-dates Trump.
In your mind does "presumption of innocence" mean that you can't investigate crimes? If so you have a unique and interesting understanding of things, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter (which I will refuse to pay for, along with the car and house that I will steal from you).
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:06 PM
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Well, for starters, the guy is currently in prison for lying.
Is it difficult to think that lying is bad while supporting Donald Trump?
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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, 04:43 AM
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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?
Ah yes, the presumption of innocence. That magical thing that means that when you are credibly accused of criminal behavior (for example, if your personal lawyer claims that you have been committing tax fraud for a long time), not only is it unreasonable for anyone to demand you face consequences for that behavior, but even the act of investigating whether those accusations are true or not is beyond the pale.

This is totally how the presumption of innocence works. No, really, guys, stop laughing.

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The view from 4000 miles away is that they're just playing politics, keeping the issue bubbling.
Are you aware that Trump's lawyer testified under oath to congress that Trump almost certainly committed tax fraud?

If not, maybe you'd do well to stay out of a discussion you don't know the first thing about.

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Exactly wrong. As usual, you, like others, are failing to distinguish between defending Trump - which I am not - and pointing out a stupid and flawed attack. Contrast my comments on your post with my analysis of what the actual politicians are doing.
The problem is that your attempts to point out what you call a "stupid and flawed attack" are so utterly ridiculous that it's hard to read it as a good-faith defense of (nonexistent) legal principles and incredibly easy to read it as a bad-faith attempt to deflect attacks against Trump. No, the presumption of innocence does not mean that it is illegal for the authorities to investigate whether or not serious criminal allegations are accurate. That's not how any of this shit works and it boggles the mind to hear someone say something so wrong.
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Old 05-09-2019, 05:31 AM
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Well, for starters, the guy is currently in prison for lying.
Yes, we shouldn't trust him when he says Trump did something dodgy because he's in prison for lying when he said that Trump didn't do something dodgy. That makes sense.
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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.

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Old 05-09-2019, 06:33 AM
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Jesus, is reading that difficult? His OWN LAWYER says so. THAT'S why Congress is looking for his taxes.
I think that is probably the fastest way to get Trump to release his taxes, if there's any way at all (it's a long shot, IMO). But if there's a way, it would be to find people who have seen his taxes or who know intimate details about his private business, and then try to get them to testify publicly. If there are some sensational charges, then the public might actually get curious enough to want his tax returns made public.

But the other way is a collapse in public opinion brought on by a national emergency such as a major recession or a military adventure that goes awry. Donald Trump is a political emergency. The only way to defeat him is to weaken his political standing. That is most likely the only way to get him and the plutocrats out of power.

There are opportunities the Democrats have to hammer away about how things like rising rents, rising tuition, rising healthcare costs, and taxcuts for the rich are basically stealing the American dream from the middle class and Trump has done absolutely nothing to solve these problems. In fact he's done everything to make them worse. The Dems need to be focusing on that shit instead of his damn tax returns.
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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, 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, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Budget Player Cadet View Post
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, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Steophan View Post
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, 07:16 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, 07:17 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, 07:25 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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