The White House said Tuesday that President Donald Trump made more than $150 million in income in 2005 and paid $38 million in income taxes that year.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said she obtained two pages of Trump’s 2005 tax forms, and discussed the document on her Tuesday night show.
The records have become highly sought-after because Trump refused to release his returns during the campaign, breaking a decades-long tradition. He claimed he was under audit by the Internal Revenue Service and said his attorneys had advised against it — though experts and IRS officials said such audits don’t bar taxpayers from releasing their returns.
The White House pushed back pre-emptively Tuesday night, saying that publishing those returns would be illegal.
“You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago,” the White House said in a statement.
The unauthorized release of federal tax returns is a criminal offense. But Maddow argued that MSNBC was exercising its First Amendment right to publish information in the public interest.
Trump long insisted the American public wasn’t interested in his returns and said little could be learned from them. But Trump’s full returns would contain key details about things like his charitable giving and how much he made each year.
During the campaign, the issue provided a major point of attack to rival Hillary Clinton, who suggested Trump had something to hide.
The White House has not said whether the president plans to release his returns while he’s in office. More than 1 million people have signed a White House petition urging the president to release them.
Health plan pushed anew
Undaunted by fellow Republicans’ defiance, Trump and GOP leaders redoubled their efforts Tuesday to muscle legislation overhauling America’s health care system through Congress.
Trump, whose strong Election Day showing in GOP regions makes him the party’s ultimate Capitol Hill vote wrangler, discussed the legislation by phone with the House’s two top Republicans. He also dispatched Vice President Mike Pence and health secretary Tom Price to hear GOP senators’ concerns.
On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office said the Republican legislation would reduce the ranks of the insured by 24 million in a decade, largely by cutting Medicaid recipients and people buying individual policies. That would be more than the 20 million who’ve gained coverage under Obama’s overhaul — and attach a big number to a problem haunting GOP governors and members of Congress whose states have benefited from “Obamacare.”
Changes in the measure seemed all but certain. Trump’s spokesman acknowledged they were open to revisions to win support.
“This has never been a take it or leave it,” said press secretary Sean Spicer.
The GOP bill is the party’s response to seven years of promising to repeal President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care overhaul. It would undo that law’s individual mandate, which requires most people to have coverage, by ending the tax penalty on those who don’t.
It would also provide age-based tax credits instead of the subsidies geared to income in Obama’s statute, end that law’s expansion of Medicaid and curb its future spending, and let insurers boost rates for seniors.
“I plan to vote NO” on the GOP bill, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., tweeted Tuesday. “As written the plan leaves too many from my (hash)SoFla district uninsured.”
“Of course you can have savings if you cut off millions of people from access to health care,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. She said the measure’s shift of billions of dollars from lower- to higher-earning families actually would effectively transfer money from GOP to Democratic regions, and, seemingly taunting Republicans, she added, “Explain that to your constituents.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., all but acknowledged the widespread assumption that the measure will be reshaped, saying, “It will be open to amendment in the Senate.” Emerging from the senators’ lunch, which included two House committee chairmen as well as Pence and Price, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said, “All four of them are open to suggestions and change.”
Fuel rules rolling back
Trump will travel to Michigan today, where he is expected to roll back federal fuel-economy requirements that would have forced automakers to significantly increase the efficiency of cars and trucks built in the next decade.
The fuel-economy standards were a key part of Obama’s strategy to combat global warming.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt are expected to join Trump on the visit to Ypsilanti, Michigan, a Detroit suburb.
Ban back in court
Trump’s revised travel ban will be scrutinized in federal courtrooms across the country today — the day before it is supposed to go into effect.
More than a half-dozen states are trying to derail the executive order affecting travelers from six Muslim-majority nations.
Hawaii’s lawsuit is heading to federal court in Honolulu, while Washington state, which successfully sued to block the original ban, wants its own hearing before a federal judge in Seattle. Five other states have joined Washington’s challenge.
In Maryland, a U.S. judge will hear arguments from the American Civil Liberties Union and others who want to stop the new order.
Trump firm on wiretaps
Trump is “extremely confident” that the Justice Department will produce evidence backing up his claim that his predecessor wiretapped his New York skyscraper during the election.
The House intelligence committee gave the department an extension — until Monday, the first day of its hearings on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible contacts between Trump advisers and Russians — to produce evidence supporting Trump’s allegations.
Spicer says the president is confident that information yet to be released will “vindicate him.”
Trump accused Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the campaign. Obama has denied the allegations and there has been no evidence backing up Trump’s claims.
Drug test rules to expand
The Senate on Tuesday sent Trump a measure to expand the number of applicants for jobless benefits who can be drug-tested.
The White House has said Trump will sign the measure into law as a cancellation of “unnecessary regulations.”
Lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Congress have complained that under Obama, the government placed too many limits on states for deciding which unemployment applicants can be drug-tested. The Labor Department’s regulation meant that states could only test applicants for unemployment benefits who do jobs that require drug testing. The resolution passed by the House and approved by the Senate 51-48 on Tuesday would cancel those limits.