Background Briefing: February 18, 2021


Why Is the Supreme Court Sitting on Trump’s Tax Returns?

We begin with questions why the Supreme Court is still sitting on Trump’s tax returns having refused to act on emergency filings related to a Manhattan grand jury subpoena of Trump’s tax returns which has stalled the investigation by the Manhattan DA. This delay by the Supreme Court is leading many to assume partisan politics are embroiled in a case in which the Supreme Court decided last July to reject Trump’s claim that a sitting president is immune from criminal proceedings. Harry Litman a former United States Attorney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department who is the Executive Producer and host of the Talking Feds podcast, joins us to discuss this delay of a case with compelling public interest and his latest column at The Los Angeles Times “Biden chose well with Merrick Garland, but Garland could cause him a few headaches.”


Bills to Have the IRS Audit Rich Tax Cheats Would Raise $600 Billion a Year

Then we look into the open letter to President Biden and the Congress from 88 national organizations asking for more resources for the IRS to collect taxes on the wealthy who get away with depriving the government of at least $600 billion per year because Republicans have successively cut the IRS’s enforcement budget to the point the richest Americans escape auditing. Frank Clemente, Executive Director and co-founder of Americans For Tax Fairness joins us to discuss the bills introduced by Congressman Ro Khanna and Pete DeFazio aimed at substantially boosting IRS resources and strengthening tax enforcement on wealthy individuals and corporations. 


How Putin Has Brought Russia Back and is Reshaping the International Order

Then finally we speak with Kathryn Stoner, the Deputy Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Senior Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University about her new bookRussia Resurrected: Its Power and Purpose in a New World Order. She joins us to discuss how Putin exercises power as a disruptive force and is reshaping the international order in surprising ways.