Background Briefing: May 22, 2019
Trump’s Tax Travails
We begin with the bad news on three fronts for Trump who has been hiding his taxes from the Congress and the public peddling the absurd lie that he is under IRS audit. Today New York State lawmakers approved a bill to clear the way for Congress to get Trump’s state returns which have copies of his federal tax returns attached and also today a federal judge blocked Trump’s attempt to block congressional subpoenas from the House Financial Services Committee and Intelligence Committee for his banking records following Monday’s rejection by another federal judge of Trump’s argument to block the release of records from his accounting firm. And in hearings today before the House Financial Services Committee, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin denied that a leaked IRS memo contradicted his reasoning for denying the House Ways and Means Committee Trump’s tax returns and he also denied that he had broken the law in not turning them over to Congress. Edward McCaffery, chair in law and a professor of law, economics and political science at the University of Southern California and the author of “Fair Not Flat: How to Make the Tax System Better and Simpler” joins us to discuss Trump’s tax travails and his tantrum today cutting short a meeting on infrastructure with Schumer and Pelosi that lasted three minutes because Nancy had said he was “engaged in a coverup”.
Trump’s Border Wall at a Billion Dollars a Mile
Then we speak with David Dayen, the Executive Editor of The American Prospect and winner of the Ida and Studs Terkel Prize about how Trump’s use of immigration as a wedge issue to throw racist red meat to his base disguises the wholesale looting of the treasury by his cronies which is made clear by recent reports that Trump has only built 1.7 miles of his border wall at a cost of $1.57 billion, meaning its costing the taxpayer roughly a billion a mile. And if it is not already clear that the Trump cabinet is a team of grifters, yesterday’s testimony by HUD Secretary Ben Carson made it glaringly obvious that he neither knew anything about the government department he oversees or cares at all about the people HUD is supposed to serve.
The Bizarre Russian Plot to Create “Blackmanistan” in the Deep South
Then finally we look into the bizarre story uncovered in documents obtained from the Russian troll factory run by Putin’s chef Prigozhin that included a blueprint “Development Strategy of a Pan-African State on U.S. Territory”. Casey Michel, who has worked as a journalist in both the U.S. and the former Soviet Union joins us to discuss this plan to recruit a group of prominent African American gang members and send them to Africa for demolition training so they could return to the U.S. to wreak mayhem and create a separate country which Michael Harriot of The Root refers to as “Blackmanistan”.