Cash-strapped cities around the nation are increasingly using heavy fines to fund basic services — in turn, sending residents into debt and bankruptcy.
This week, the ongoing feud between House Democrats and the Trump administration gained steam.
On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena to turn over the full report by special counsel Robert Mueller.
The vote came soon after President Trump asserted executive privilege over the report, following through on a threat from the Justice Department about the committee’s proceedings.
“We are now in a constitutional crisis,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) following the vote. “Our fight is not just about the Mueller report — although we must have access to the Mueller report. Our fight is about defending the rights of Congress, as an independent branch, to hold the president, any president, accountable.”
Meanwhile, the White House has coached former counsel Don McGahn to ignore a congressional subpoena for documents related to the Mueller investigation. President Trump reversed his stance on whether Mueller should testify before Congress, saying Barr should make the call. And the Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. to answer questions about the Russia investigation.
Are we facing a constitutional crisis?
We’re also following the latest on President Trump’s tax returns. The New York Times obtained IRS transcripts for the years 1985 to 1994 — the most complete picture of the president’s finances so far.
Have we learned anything new? From the Times investigation:
The numbers show that in 1985, Mr. Trump reported losses of $46.1 million from his core businesses — largely casinos, hotels and retail space in apartment buildings. They continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade.
In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, The Times found when it compared his results with detailed information the I.R.S. compiles on an annual sampling of high-income earners. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 — more than $250 million each year — were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years.
Plus, we’re watching the movement on abortion legislation around the country. On Tuesday, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill that will ban abortion after a doctor can detect “a fetal heartbeat in the womb.” And in Alabama, the Senate is poised to vote on a bill that would outlaw abortion with no exception for rape or incest — the most restrictive legislation of its kind in the country.
Are these test cases for the Supreme Court?
We cover all this and more.
Text by Kathryn Fink.
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