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"Seeking liberty and truth above suppression and mendacity!"
"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech," said Benjamin Franklin.
Everyone has an opinion and the right to speak that opinion our forefathers granted us that right it's called the First Amendment. Read it then discuss it in the Forums. Find out about Donald J. Trump’s time in the white house. Donald J. Trump is a crook, a con man and liar who uses alternative facts and projects himself on to other.

By Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak, CNN
Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump's visit to Tokyo this weekend kicks off a summer of global jet-setting that takes him to five separate countries -- and confines him to the presidential aircraft for more than 80 hours flying overseas. Not always an eager traveler, Trump has complained in the past about the pace of his foreign travel or the accommodations arranged for him abroad. It's his aides, however, who sometimes dread boarding Air Force One for a lengthy flight overseas, knowing full well the boss will make little use of the bed wedged into the nose of the plane. "It's like being held captive," one official said of traveling with the President on Air Force One. Current and former officials have described White House trips as grueling endeavors accompanied by long hours, but several privately said the flights overseas are easily the worst. The duration can stretch nearly 20 hours. Sleeping space is limited. The televisions are streaming Fox News constantly. And if the headlines flashing across the bottom of the screen are unfavorable to their boss, aides know it's time to buckle up for a turbulent ride.

By Barrett Holmes Pitner
Of course Trump prefers Andrew Jackson. But this episode forces contemplation of the worst possibility of all: Trump himself on our currency. Earlier this week, to almost no one’s surprise, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that the Harriet Tubman $20 bill would be delayed until President Donald Trump leaves office. So if anyone wanted to know who’s to blame for Tubman’s absence and Andrew Jackson’s offensive presence on our greenbacks, Mnuchin clearly wants you to know it’s the guy throwing temper tantrums in the Oval Office. I have no idea what Mnuchin’s opinion is on the Tubman situation because he always dodges the question, but honestly Mnuchin’s opinion never mattered. Trump has such a long history of racist statements and praising Andrew Jackson that we all expected him to never let Tubman appear on our currency—and especially not at the expense of his idol Jackson. Trump has been known to not want black accountants for his businesses because he did not want “black people handling his money,” instead preferring “guys with yarmulkes.” So if he despised the idea of black people touching his money, just think about how enraged he would become if black people were on his money.

By Morgan Gstalter
A former Republican congressman who served for nearly two decades in the House slammed President Trump on Friday as an "illegitimate president" and called for his impeachment. "I'm calling for impeachment now because the Mueller report is out, and in it [special counsel Robert Mueller] describes 10 obstructions of justice charges that he could not bring because of a Department of Justice rule and regulation that says you can't indict a sitting president. That's number one," former Rep. Tom Coleman (R-Mo.) told CNN’s Erin Burnett. The longtime GOP lawmaker, who left the House in 1993, said his other reason for calling for the president to be removed was because Trump "welcomed help and influence" from Russians during his campaign. Coleman pointed to how Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with a Russian associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, in New York in August 2016 and discussed the campaign’s strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states. "It's wrong, and it needs to be handled and looked at by the Congress because I believe it's an impeachable offense," Coleman concluded. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has clashed with Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) this week over calls for Trump’s impeachment, which Pelosi has resisted.

By Sonam Sheth
President Donald Trump's decision to grant vast authority to Attorney General William Barr to declassify intelligence as he investigates the origins of the Russia investigation stunned national-security veterans and has the Justice Department hurtling toward a clash with the US intelligence community. Trump announced on Twitter that at Barr's request, he "directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate" with an internal investigation into " surveillance activities" that took place during the 2016 US election. The move marks another flashpoint in Trump's ongoing attack on the FBI and US intelligence community.  The president, Barr, and their loyalists argue the inquiry constitutes a legitimate look at whether the US government abused its authority for political motives. But detractors say the move is another partisan attempt by the president to thwart his own intelligence community and weaponize the Justice Department against his perceived enemies. Robert Deitz, a former top lawyer at the CIA and the National Security Agency, characterized Trump's order as a "direct insult to the leadership of the intel community." Typically, in such an investigation, Barr would prepare a report on the matter and ask senior leaders at the NSA, CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and other agencies to declassify specific documents without harming the intelligence-gathering process.

By Priscilla Alvarez, CNN
Washington (CNN) - A federal judge on Friday night blocked President Donald Trump from tapping into Defense Department funds to build parts of his US-Mexico border wall. In a 56-page ruling, Judge Haywood Gilliam of the Northern District of California blocked the administration from moving forward with specific projects in Texas and Arizona, saying Trump couldn't disburse the funds without congressional approval. The lawsuit that prompted the ruling was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the plaintiffs, the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition. Although Friday's ruling does not prevent the Trump administration from using funds from other sources to build the projects, it's a setback for the President on a signature agenda item that has consistently been thwarted by Democrats in Congress. Construction on the projects affected by the ruling could have begun as early as Saturday, according to the ruling. "The position that when Congress declines the Executive's request to appropriate funds, the Executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds 'without Congress' does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic," writes Gilliam, a Barack Obama appointee.

Lawmakers from both parties criticized the move, with Democrats calling it an abuse of presidential power. By Dan De Luce. The Trump administration on Friday cited a national security "emergency" allegedly caused by Iran to bypass Congress and rush through arms sales worth billions of dollars to Saudi Arabia and other Middle East allies, in a move that drew condemnation from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Citing a rarely used provision of arms control law, the administration informed lawmakers it was declaring a national security emergency, allowing it to go ahead with the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan without congressional approval, according to administration letters sent to senators and obtained by NBC News. "I have determined that an emergency exists which requires the proposed sale in the national security interest of the United States, and, thus, waives the congressional review requirements," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote in a letter to Sen. James Risch, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The decision affected various arms packages worth roughly $8 billion, including deals for precision-guided bombs and related gear for Saudi Arabia and the UAE, according to the documents and congressional aides.

Trump contradicts himself on Huawei in a single sentence, saying the firm is a huge security threat but could also be a bargaining chip in the China trade war
By Jake Kanter
US President Donald Trump has made his first meaningful remarks on the Huawei firestorm since his administration blacklisted the Chinese tech giant last week. Trump was speaking at a news conference announcing a $16 billion aid package for farmers caught up in the US-China trade war when he addressed Huawei, the Chinese company that has been placed on a list mandating that US firms get the US government's permission to do business with it. Trump started out by saying Huawei posed a huge security threat to the US. American officials have long floated suspicions that Huawei could act as a conduit for Chinese surveillance. "Huawei is something that's very dangerous," Trump told reporters. "You look at what they've done from a security standpoint, from a military standpoint, it's very dangerous."  He immediately switched gears, however, to suggest that Huawei could form part of a trade deal between the US and China. "So it's possible that Huawei even would be included in some kind of a trade deal," he said. "If we made a deal, I could imagine Huawei being possibly included in some form."

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says it likely won’t happen until after Trump leaves office.
By Gaby Del Valle
The first $20 bills featuring Harriet Tubman were supposed to be unveiled in 2020, but on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the bill won’t be released next year after all — and most likely won’t be in circulation until 2026 at the earliest. “It’s not a decision that is likely to come until way past my term, even if I serve the second term for the president. So I’m not focused on that for the moment,” Mnuchin reportedly said at a hearing before the House Committee on Financial Services. Instead, Mnuchin claimed, he’ll focus on beefing up anti-counterfeiting measures. “It is my responsibility now to focus on what is the issue of counterfeiting and the security features,” he said. “The ultimate decision on the redesign will most likely be another secretary down the road.” In 2016, then-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that Tubman, an abolitionist who helped free enslaved people before the Civil War, would be on the $20 bill. She was slated to be the first woman on US paper currency since the 19th century, the New York Times reported at the time. The redesign was supposed to be unveiled in 2020 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, though the bills wouldn’t have entered circulation until later. (It’s worth noting that given the spate of anti-black voter suppression laws that were implemented across the country after the Civil War, it’s likely that Tubman would not have been able to vote in 1920.) The $20 bill redesign was part of a larger project to reimagine US currency by adding women and civil rights leaders to paper bills. But now, according to the Times, senior Treasury officials think Mnuchin is pushing back the redesign to help President Trump, who has criticized the plan in the past, save face. Mnuchin decided to delay the redesign until Trump was out of office, sources told the paper.

By Jordan Weissmann
When Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he would provide $16 billion in aid to help farmers whose sales have suffered thanks to his trade war with China, he immediately assured Americans that they would not really be footing the bill. The bailout package, the president said, would be funded with money collected from his tariffs, which he insisted were being paid by the Chinese themselves. “It all comes from China,” he said. “We’ll be taking in over a period of time hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs and charges to China. And our farmers will be greatly helped.” Minutes later, he repeated himself. “Just so you understand, these tariffs are paid for largely by China. A lot of people like to say by us,” he said. Trump drops versions of this talking point constantly, and it is absolute nonsense. Some Chinese exporters may be losing business thanks to Trump’s levies, as their U.S. customers have started buying elsewhere. But the tariffs themselves are being paid by Americans. That’s true in the legal sense (importers are the ones who actually pay the tax when Chinese goods arrive on our shores) and the economic sense (so far, researchers have concluded that the full cost of the tariff really is being passed on to consumers and companies stateside; Chinese factories didn’t eat the cost by lowering their prices, at least last year).

By Gina Heeb
US President Donald Trump on Thursday again falsely claimed that foreign companies pay for tariffs. American consumers and businesses pay the cost of tariffs on Chinese products. All this came hours after the Trump administration announced a $16 billion bailout package for farmers. US President Donald Trump on Thursday once again pushed what has emerged as a central message in his yearlong trade dispute with China, falsely claiming that foreign companies pay for tariffs. Speaking to farmers and ranchers in the Roosevelt Room, Trump touted a $16 billion bailout package for the agricultural sector that his administration unveiled hours earlier. He claimed its funding "all comes from China," even though study after study has found that Americans bear the costs of tariffs.

By Jeremy Diamond, Dana Bash and Lauren Fox, CNN
Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump ratcheted up his feud with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday, turning an event organized to announce a multibillion-dollar aid package to farmers into a nearly half-hour-long diatribe against his Democratic rivals. Rejecting Pelosi's characterization of his decision to scrap a meeting Wednesday with Democrats because of their continued investigations as a "temper tantrum," Trump accused Democratic officials of being "bad people," referred to Pelosi as "crazy Nancy" and enlisted several White House officials to publicly corroborate his account that he had addressed Democrats calmly -- and not in anger -- the previous day. "They're a do-nothing group of people. The Democrats have done nothing other than to obstruct. They're obstructing this country," Trump said Thursday. "The Democrats have done nothing in the House, they've done absolutely nothing -- I mean other than investigate. They want to investigate." As for himself, Trump once again proclaimed: "I'm an extremely stable genius." Trump's anger at House Democrats' investigations had been steadily mounting for weeks, but Pelosi's accusation that the President had engaged in a "cover-up" sent him over the edge, prompting him to swear off policy talks with Democrats and shine a spotlight on what he considers Democrats' "phony investigations." Now the President's advisers and allies are worrying about the fallout of his display of anger and Trump is signaling that he is prepared to dig in, multiple sources close to him told CNN.

By Laura Jarrett, Evan Perez and Steve Brusk, CNN
(CNN) - President Donald Trump has ordered all major US intelligence agencies to assist Attorney General William Barr in his review of surveillance issues surrounding Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, delegating significant authority to Barr to declassify intelligence materials as the attorney general sees fit. The formal memorandum released by the White House late Thursday evening, directing the heads of each agency to "promptly provide" information as Barr requests, illustrates how the White House is seeking to forge full steam ahead with an effort Trump has long demanded. "Today's action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

John Fritze, Michael Collins and Alan Gomez, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump took another step Thursday to crack down on legal immigration, instructing agencies to enforce a 23-year-old law that requires sponsors of green card holders to reimburse the government for welfare benefits. Trump approved a memorandum Thursday to enforce a pair of provisions signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, the White House said. The move comes as Trump has sought to overhaul legal immigration despite congressional resistance. "To protect benefits for American citizens, immigrants must be financially self-sufficient," Trump said in an announcement of the plan. Critics have said that such moves unfairly punish low-income immigrants, who sometimes need assistance to get started in the U.S. But the White House counters that too many immigrants take advantage of U.S. generosity, pointing out that 58% of all households headed by a non-citizen use at least one welfare program. Immigration advocates Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, and Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy, denounced Trump's "brutal, reckless, dangerous, inhumane agenda." “Trump will do anything to send immigrant families the message that if you’re not white and wealthy, you’re not welcome — or even safe — here," the two advocates, who are also co-chairs of the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign, said in a statement. "And he doesn’t care that children and entire families will be harmed in the process."

He claims Nancy Pelosi has ‘lost it,’ while he remains an ‘extremely stable genius.’
By Asawin Suebsaeng, Sam Stein
Accused of having a temper tantrum at the White House the day before, President Donald Trump did what anyone trying to prove their serenity would do: He put together a press conference during which he asked five aides to attest to his calmness. On Thursday afternoon, Trump hosted a group of American farmers at the White House to tout his administration’s $16 billion aid plan for farmers afflicted by his ongoing trade war. But after singing their praises and promising relief to come, he quickly turned to the matter most clearly on his mind—reports that he’d lost his cool at a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the day before. “Because I know they will always say that [I was angry]... I was so calm... I walked into the Cabinet Room, you had the group, Cryin' Chuck, Crazy Nancy... She’s lost it,” the president insisted on Thursday. For good measure, he later reiterated that he was an “extremely stable genius.”

The disclosures come as a federal judge ruled Wednesday that two other banks — Deutsche Bank and Capital One — can give financial documents to Congress.
By Leigh Ann Caldwell and Alex Moe
WASHINGTON — A key congressional committee has already gained access to President Donald Trump’s dealings with two major financial institutions, two sources familiar with the House probe tell NBC News, as a court ruling Wednesday promised to open the door for even more records to be handed over. Wells Fargo and TD Bank are the two of nine institutions that have so far complied with subpoenas issued by the House Financial Services Committee demanding information about their dealings with the Trump Organization, according to the sources. The disclosures by these two banks haven’t been previously reported. Both TD Bank and Wells Fargo declined to comment for this story. Wells Fargo provided the committee with a few thousand documents and TD Bank handed the committee a handful of documents, according to a source who has seen them. The committee, led by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., is especially interested in the president’s business relationship with Russia and other foreign entities.

By Tal Axelrod
The  U.S. Navy on Wednesday sent two ships through the Taiwan Strait,  marking its latest trip through the disputed waterway in a move likely  to anger China as Washington and Beijing ratchet up tensions in their  prolonged trade war.  A military spokesperson told Reuters that the voyage was carried out by the destroyer Preble and the Navy oil tanker Walter S. Diehl. “The  ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S.  commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Commander Clay Doss, a  spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, said in a statement. Taiwan  has long been one of several flashpoints in the relationship between  the U.S. and China, whch have included economic disputes, sanctions and  Chinese military activity in the South China Sea, where the U.S. also  sends naval patrols. The news comes as the world's two largest economies  have slapped millions of dollars of tit-for-tat tariffs on each other  in an escalating trade war. The move could be interpreted by  Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China insists is part of its territory,  as a sign of support from Washington. The Navy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

The House speaker's message to Democrats came as vocal support for impeachment rose among lawmakers in the caucus.
By Peter Alexander, Alex Moe and Rebecca Shabad
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told her Democratic colleagues Thursday that President Donald Trump “wants to be impeached” so that he can be vindicated by the Senate. Pelosi made the comments at a closed-door morning meeting, two Democratic aides told NBC News, who also said that Pelosi called Trump’s actions “villainous.” The aide said that Pelosi was implying that she will stick to her current plan to keep investigating the president and his administration without jumping to impeachment, though she didn’t explicitly address strategy in her remarks. "Let me be very clear: the president's behavior, as far as his obstruction of justice, the things that he is doing, it's in plain sight, it cannot be denied — ignoring subpoenas, obstruction of justice," Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference Thursday following the closed-door meeting.

By Eugene Kiely
President Donald Trump, in a lengthy interview on Fox News, made several statements that were false, misleading or not supported by the evidence: Trump claimed Joe Biden, as vice president, pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who “was after his son,” Hunter Biden. There’s no evidence that Biden was under investigation, although he was a board member for a company whose owner was under investigation. Trump said of North Korea: “They haven’t had any tests over the last two years — zero.” It’s true that they haven’t had any nuclear tests or long-range missile tests, but North Korea has tested short-range missiles twice this month. The president said he will provide $15 billion in assistance to U.S. farmers hurt by the trade war, because that’s “the most money that China has ever paid” for U.S. agricultural goods. But federal data show that China purchased nearly $27.2 billion in U.S. agricultural goods in 2012. Trump boasted that Honda is “coming in [to the U.S.] with $14.5 billion” in investments. A Michigan-based automotive research group says that Honda has announced $1.7 billion in U.S. vehicle manufacturing investments over the last five years. The president said he has “tremendous poll numbers now.” Trump’s average approval rating is currently below 43 percent. In a wide-ranging interview that aired May 19 on “The Next Revolution,” Trump and the show’s host, Steve Hilton, discussed foreign policy, international trade, the economy, politics and more.


Growing  Democratic pressure — and a new court ruling — suggest Trump’s plan to  run out the clock on oversight efforts may have some holes in it.
By Kurt Bardella, NBC News THINK contributor
President Donald Trump is feeling the heat. In a surprise Rose Garden speech on Wednesday, Trump railed against congressional investigations  and ongoing efforts by Democrats to examine potential misconduct by the  president, his family and his associates. "I respect the courts, I  respect Congress, but what they've done is abuse," the president told  the press, before going on to say he would refuse to work with Congress  until the investigations were concluded. Although it's  useless to speculate about what motivates this particular chief  executive, it seems likely that his outburst was influenced by several  recent political setbacks. The first was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  saying Trump engaged in a "cover-up."  The second was an important legal decision that has clear implications  for numerous legal showdowns expected between the executive branch and  the legislative branch. On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta ruled in favor  of the legislative branch, reaffirming the importance of congressional  oversight authority. The judge’s decision previews what Trump can expect  going forward as he tries to use the justice system as his personal  shield from Congress. At  issue in this case was an accounting firm responsible for preparing  Trump’s tax returns. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform  subpoenaed financial documents from the firm, Mazars USA, which could  show Trump manipulated his earnings among other things. Trump filed a lawsuit against the committee and its chairman, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., in April, hoping to block the committee’s subpoena.

By Maggie Haberman, Annie Karni, Kenneth P. Vogel and Katie Benner
President Trump’s escalating demands for investigations into his political opponents have intensified debate over whether his often-transparent calls for action by the Justice Department amount to abusing his power to bolster his re-election prospects. Mr. Trump called in an interview aired on Sunday for an investigation into business deals in China by Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic candidate Mr. Trump’s advisers believe could pose the biggest threat to him in 2020. In recent weeks, Mr. Trump has called for inquiries into the Bidens relating to the younger Mr. Biden’s business in Ukraine, an effort amplified by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer. “One hundred percent — it’s a disgrace,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with Steve Hilton, a Fox News host, when asked if the Bidens’ supposed financial ties with China should be investigated.
It was the latest in a long series of statements by Mr. Trump suggesting he would like to see criminal investigations of opponents including Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and the Democratic National Committee, and it came as the president seems particularly preoccupied by Mr. Biden’s candidacy. It also highlighted the pressure on Attorney General William P. Barr to navigate between Mr. Trump’s demands and Mr. Barr’s stated desire — after withering criticism over his handling of the special counsel’s report — to reassert the Justice Department’s independence from politics.

‘Even this impeachment inquiry is the same f*cking process,’ said one senior Democratic aide. ‘You will still end up in the courts.’
By Sam Stein, Sam Brodey
Shortly after she’d left a fiery White House meeting, during which the president had threatened to stop working with her on all legislative matters, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was asked to speculate why she, more than others, seemed to fluster President Trump. “He recognizes the unity of our caucus and that is a very big deal,” she told the crowd at the Center for American Progress’ annual Ideas Festival. “I think he sees the fact that we are united as something he has to contend with, to deal with… That unity gives me leverage.” The comment drew knowing applause from those in attendance—a mix of policy types and party donors who uniformly worship at the altar of Pelosi. But the intended audience was not them. It was her fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill. In recent weeks, the party unity that Pelosi prizes internally and deploys politically has come under immense strain as a growing number of lawmakers have demanded more aggressive oversight of the Trump administration, including the consideration of articles of impeachment. The pressure had grown acute enough in recent days that Pelosi’s staff decided to convene a caucus meeting on Wednesday morning to address it.

By Zachary Basu
A district judge in New York has declined to issue a preliminary injunction preventing Deutsche Bank and Capital One from complying with a congressional subpoena for President Trump's financial records. "Put simply, the power of Congress to conduct investigations is inherent in the legislative process." — Judge Edgardo Ramos. Context: The House Financial Services and Intelligence committees subpoenaed Deutsche and other institutions last month in an effort to obtain years of financial records belonging to Trump, his company and his children. Trump sued the banks in response, arguing that the subpoenas "have no legitimate or lawful purpose" and were being weaponized for the purpose of "presidential harassment." In a statement to CNBC, a Deutsche Bank spokesperson said: "We remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations and will abide by a court order regarding such investigations." The big picture: The decision by Judge Edgardo Ramos follows a similar ruling earlier this week in a case involving Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA. A federal judge in Washington, D.C., declined to block a House subpoena for 8 years of Trump's financial records, ruling that the public's interest in "maximizing the effectiveness of the investigatory powers of Congress" was greater than any damage to Trump or his businesses.

By Evan Simko-Bednarski and Sonia Moghe, CNN
(CNN) - Democrats in New York state passed a pair of bills Wednesday that would allow Congress to get hold of President Donald Trump's state tax returns amid an escalating fight with top administration officials over access to the President's federal returns. The main legislation, which passed the state assembly 84 to 53, would require the state's tax commissioner to provide New York state tax returns to Congress upon request from the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, or the Joint Committee on Taxation. A second bill also passed Wednesday restricts requests to elected officials only and mandates the removal of any federal tax information that might appear on state returns.

By Caroline Kelly, CNN
(CNN) - A draft confidential memo from the Internal Revenue Service last fall determined that tax returns must be surrendered to Congress unless the president opts to invoke executive privilege, The Washington Post reported. The move comes as President Donald Trump steadfastly refuses to hand over his tax returns to the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin flouted a subpoena from committee Chairman Richard Neal for Trump's tax returns last Friday, arguing that he is "not authorized to disclose the requested returns and return information" for a request that "lacks a legitimate legislative purpose." But according to the memo, turning over the tax documents to Congress "is mandatory, requiring the Secretary to disclose returns, and return information, requested by the tax-writing Chairs," the Post reported -- regardless of the professed reason for the request. Current legislation "does not allow the Secretary to exercise discretion in disclosing the information provided the statutory conditions are met," the memo concludes, adding that "the Secretary's obligation to disclose return and return information would not be affected by the failure of a tax writing committee ... to state a reason for the request." The "only basis the agency's refusal to comply with a committee's subpoena would be the invocation of the doctrine of executive privilege," the memo states, per the paper. The IRS told the Post that the memo was drafted last fall by a lawyer at the Office of Chief Counsel and did not convey the agency's "official position." The agency also told the paper that IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig and chief counsel Michael Desmond were not aware of the memo until the Post requested comment, and that it was never shared with the Treasury.

Washington (CNN) - New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit  Tuesday against the Trump administration, arguing that a new regulation  would let health care providers discriminate and refuse care to  patients based on religious or moral beliefs. A news release sent by James' office says she is leading a coalition of 23 states, cities and municipalities suing to block a Department of Health and Human Services rule  that would allow "businesses, including employers, to object to  providing insurance coverage for procedures they consider objectionable,  and allow individual health care personnel to object to informing  patients about their medical options or referring them to providers of  those options." "The  federal government is giving health care providers free license to  openly discriminate and refuse care to patients -- a gross  misinterpretation of religious freedom that will have devastating  consequences on communities throughout the country," James said in the  release. "When the health of our  residents is at stake, and the safety of vulnerable populations hang in  the balance, we cannot rest until this 'health care refusal' rule is  stopped," James added. The  lawsuit alleges the federal government could terminate hundreds of  billions of dollars in federal health care funding if states or cities  fail to comply with this rule. Public health programs that could be  impacted, according to the release, include Medicaid, the Children's  Health Insurance Program, HIV/AIDS and STD prevention and education, and  mental health and substance abuse treatment. The Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

By Zachary Cohen, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson quietly met with the top Democrat and Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday for an interview that focused primarily on his time in the Trump administration, a congressional aide with direct knowledge of the discussion confirmed to CNN. Tillerson traveled to Capitol Hill where he sat down with the committee's Democratic chairman Rep. Eliot Engel and ranking Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, the aide said, adding that major topics of interest included the administration's dealings with Russia and uncertainty surrounding the role of Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in deciding foreign policy. The interview lasted roughly seven hours, including breaks, the same source said.
While specific details related to the meeting remain murky, it is clear that Tillerson's trip to Capitol Hill came as a surprise to many in Washington, including to some members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

By Laura Jarrett, CNN
(CNN) - The Justice Department is trying to stave off an "enforcement action" against  Attorney General William Barr this week, making a rare offer to have  the House Intelligence Committee review materials from special counsel  Robert Mueller's report if House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff  agrees to back down. Last  week Schiff said that he would hold a business meeting Wednesday to  take an unspecified action against the Justice Department for not  providing the committee documents related to Volume I of Mueller's  report on links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. The  Justice Department had previously offered to show all committee members  a less redacted version of the Mueller report, but now says it's  continuing to review the initial tranche of 12 categories of documents  Schiff wants, and will make them available "in relatively short order,"  according to a letter obtained by CNN.

In its latest move to protect industry, the government has ensured that we'll see more deaths from asthma, heart problems and cognitive degeneration. In 1948, a severe bout of smog killed 20 people and sickened 7,000 in the small town of Donora, Pennsylvania. The fatal air pollution, spurred by a steel mill, was not unheard of during the time, but it catalyzed a national movement for better air. Two years later, President Harry Truman called the first national air pollution conference. By 1963, Congress had passed the Clean Air Act. More than six decades later—despite significant progress—air pollution continues to be a problem, with more than 40 percent of Americans still exposed to unhealthy air. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency under President Donald Trump has decided to pose an arbitrary threshold by which to define unhealthy air in order to protect fossil fuel companies and their unchecked emissions. Given that science has confirmed that no level of polluted air can be healthy, this will not only threaten us now, but for generations to come. “The newer science seems to show effects at lower and lower levels of pollution,” said Edward Avol, a professor of clinical preventive medicine at the Environmental Health Sciences Center at the University of Southern California. “The EPA is saying ‘we don’t care about that anymore’.” Avol, who served on panels that advised both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, pointed to the mounting evidence that even minor amounts of air pollution can cause premature deaths, impacting heart health, asthma rates, and even cognitive performance. This is particularly dangerous for children and the elderly, since both are more vulnerable to pollutants. Stories of families that have moved because of air pollution are cropping up, most recently in California, where corporate entities exacerbate wildfires. - How many Americans will suffer and or die because of Trump and the GOP protecting business profits over American lives?

The president loves the Constitution when it helps stop his advisers from testifying, less so when it’s used to demand the disclosure of his finances.
By Timothy L. O'Brien
Just before boarding Marine One on the south lawn of the White House on Monday evening, President Donald Trump was asked by a reporter why he was defying a Congressional subpoena seeking testimony from Don McGahn, his former counsel. McGahn was a key witness to the events weighed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller when he was deciding whether the president obstructed justice by trying to derail federal prosecutors’ Russia probe, but the Justice Department asserted in a legal memorandum on Monday that “Congress may not constitutionally compel the president’s senior advisers to testify about their official duties.” Trump took that memo as a cue to order McGahn to stay mum. In the president’s view, none of this should be thought of as partisan hardball or an effort to keep the Oval Office beyond the reach of the law and Congressional oversight. Instead, as he explained on the White House lawn, the Justice Department was embracing something larger and of greater consequence than even him.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) on Monday doubled down on his critical remarks of President Trump, detailing in a series of tweets why he thinks the case can be made that Trump should be impeached for obstruction of justice. "People  who say there were no underlying crimes and therefore the president  could not have intended to illegally obstruct the investigation—and  therefore cannot be impeached—are resting their argument on several  falsehoods," Amash tweeted. In  a series of subsequent tweets, Amash sought to shoot down a number of  prominent defenses of the president's behavior illustrated in special  counsel Robert Mueller's report. Amash  argued it would be inaccurate to say "there were no underlying crimes"  revealed by Mueller's investigation, that obstruction of justice  requires an underlying crime, that the president should be allowed to  use any means to end a so-called frivolous investigation, and that the  threshold of "high crimes and misdemeanors" requires actual criminal  charges.

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
(CNN) - Republicans are moving fast to squelch Justin Amash's rebellion against Donald Trump before his conclusion that the President "engaged in impeachable conduct" -- the first by a GOP lawmaker -- can gather momentum. But Democrats who want a more hardline strategy against the President are seizing on the Michigan congressman's sudden intervention to pile pressure on their own leaders for tougher action. Amash's act of conscience on Saturday sparked immediate speculation over whether a tiny leak in the Republican dam could grow into a torrent of support running away from the President. After all, it was a rising tide of Republican disgust that eventually became the unstoppable force that led to the resignation of President Richard  Nixon in 1974. The early signs are that Amash's protest will not materially shift political dynamics in Washington that mean any attempt to impeach Trump  remains a long-shot scenario. But it introduced an unpredictable dimension into the building political storm over potential House testimony by Robert Mueller as Democrats accuse Attorney General William Barr of slow rolling a decision on a date for the special counsel to appear. Amash accused Barr of "deliberately" misrepresenting Mueller's report -- an explosive charge that will ensure Mueller will face an uncomfortable spotlight whenever he arrives on Capitol Hill -- for a hearing that now seems unlikely to occur before early June.

By Katelyn Polantz, CNN
Washington (CNN) - A federal district judge has told the accounting firm Mazars it will need to turn over Donald Trump's accounting records from before he was President to the Democratic-controlled House Oversight Committee. In a 41-page opinion, Judge Amit Mehta of the DC District Court rejected Trump's attempt to block the committee's subpoena, asserting that Congress is well within its authority to investigate the President. Mehta's opinion will now likely become fodder for other judges to consider as Trump and his Cabinet try to hold off Congress from getting his business records, such as through the IRS, banks and in other court fights. Congress specifically can probe the President for conflicts of interest and ethical questions, Mehta wrote. "History has shown that congressionally-exposed criminal conduct by the President or a high-ranking Executive Branch official can lead to legislation," Mehta wrote, citing the Watergate investigation by the Senate. "It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a President for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct -- past or present -- even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry," he added. Mazars has seven days until it will have to comply with the subpoena, Mehta said in his opinion Monday, but the judge refused to halt the subpoena after that. Another court would have to do so. Trump's team has not yet appealed the ruling.

“We know for a fact that Donald Trump has been involved in money laundering in the past," Johnston points out
By Joseph Neese
The New York Times broke a story Sunday that revealed staff of Deutsche Bank were hired especially for their expertise of money-laundering. The bank staff recommended that they contact federal investigators about possible criminal activity in the accounts of President Donald Trump and his senior aide and son-in-law Jared Kushner. “The transactions, some of which involved Mr. Trump’s now-defunct foundation, set off alerts in a computer system designed to detect illicit activity, according to five current and former bank employees,” the Times reported. “Compliance staff members who then reviewed the transactions prepared so-called suspicious activity reports that they believed should be sent to a unit of the Treasury Department that polices financial crimes.” The bank rejected the recommendation, and it appears now it might spark another investigation, according to Trump biographer David Cay Johnston. “We know for a fact that Donald Trump has been involved in money laundering in the past, fined for it,” Johnston said. “We know that Deutsche Bank is fined over $600 million just for laundering money for Russian oligarchs and are nondenial denials. The Trump Organization said we never heard of this. Why would you? It was locked up in the bank. The bank said we didn’t stop anyone. The story makes it clear.”

By Pamela Brown, Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb and Laura Jarrett, CNN
(CNN) - Former White House counsel Don McGahn will not appear Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, defying the committee's subpoena and setting the stage for another contempt vote to retaliate against the Trump administration for rejecting the demands of Congress. The  White House argues that as a former senior adviser to the President, he  is exempt from having to appear before Congress. The Justice  Department's Office of Legal Counsel concluded that former McGahn was  not legally required to appear before the House Judiciary Committee and  testify about matters related to his official duties as counsel to the  President, according to a memo issued Monday and obtained by CNN. "The  Department of Justice has advised me that Mr. McGahn is absolutely  immune from compelled congressional testimony with respect to matters  occurring during his service as a senior adviser to the President,"  White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to House Judiciary  Chairman Jerry Nadler. White House  press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that McGahn "cannot be  forced to give such testimony, and Mr. McGahn has been directed to act  accordingly." "This  action has been taken in order to ensure that future Presidents can  effectively execute the responsibilities of the Office of the  Presidency," she said.

Frank Figliuzzi AG Barr's FBI investigation, President Trump and the threat from within
By perpetuating Trump's falsehoods about the FBI and Mueller's report, Barr has become the kind of threat capable of doing severe harm. On Monday, Attorney General William Barr, acting more like defense counsel for a cornered president than the nation’s top law enforcement official, ordered a U.S. Attorney review the FBI's decision to open a counterintelligence investigation into alleged ties between Trump associates and Russia in 2016. This action, coupled with Barr’s previous reckless conduct, unwittingly promotes the interests of America’s enemies as Barr perpetuates dangerous conspiracy theories about secret Washington cabals and FBI corruption. Counterintelligence professionals often refer to their mission as “the three D’s:” detect, deter and defeat the efforts of foreign intelligence services targeting the United States. Per Executive Order 12333, our government’s lead counterintelligence agency is the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The counterintelligence program is the second most important priority for the FBI, just after preventing the next terror attack. FBI agents assigned to this work are hunters at heart. They seek and find those whose efforts would weaken our nation, make us more vulnerable to attack, undermine the rule of law and wreak havoc with our democracy.

The children were separated from their parents before the government's "zero tolerance" policy went into effect in May 2018.
By Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley
The Trump administration has identified at least 1,712 migrant children it may have separated from their parents in addition to those separated under the “zero tolerance” policy, according to court transcripts of a Friday hearing. U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw ordered the Trump administration to identify children separated before the zero tolerance policy went into effect in May 2018, resulting in the separation of over 2,800 children. Sabraw previously ordered those migrant families to be reunited, but the additional children were identified more recently when the Inspector General for Health and Human Services estimated “thousands more” may have been separated before the policy was officially underway. Other potentially separated migrant children could still be identified. The government has reviewed the files of 4,108 children out of 50,000 so far.

By Fred Kempe
The Trump administration is engaged in a global juggling act  involving so many strategically significant balls that it would confound  the capabilities of the most skilled circus performer. President  Trump’s allies praise him for his willingness to take on issues long  neglected by U.S. policy makers: confronting China’s unfair trade  practices, taking on Iran’s malign regional behavior, working to replace  Venezuela’s dictator with democracy, and deploying carrots and sticks  to denuclearize North Korea, to name just a few. Succeeding  at any one of those challenges would be a major win. Score them all and  President Trump’s name would be written large in history books. By the  same token, dropping any of those balls – and any juggler knows that  likelihood grows with the volume of what must be managed – would have  long-lasting consequences, for the regions involved and for U.S.  credibility globally. Even so, Juggler-in-Chief Trump keeps adding  complexity to this high-risk, uncertain-return show. Whether by  increasing tariffs further on China and further restricting Huawei’s  access to U.S. markets, or by sending a carrier strike group to the  Middle East, President Trump ratchets up pressures in the hope of  leveraging that into success.

Two years after he was fired by the president, the former FBI Director sits down with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
By Cody Fenwick
Two years after his firing by President Donald Trump, former FBI Director James Comey sat down with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday night for a town hall discussion about the Russia investigation and related matters. He disputed Attorney General Bill Barr’s arguments that a president cannot obstruct justice through the use of his constitutional powers, criticizing that idea sharply. “I don’t accept the notion that because the president is the head of the executive branch, that he can’t ever obstruct justice in connection with executive branch activities,” he said. “That’s just crazy and a recipe for lawlessness.” He later added that Barr’s public discussions about the report have been “less than honorable” and that he’s acting like Trump’s defense lawyer. He continued: “So the question is did the  president act in a way that manifested a corrupt intent — not the discharge of his constitutional duties — but a corrupt intent to interfere with an ongoing proceeding or to intimidate or tamper with a  witness.” And on those fronts, Comey told Cooper, there was substantial evidence that Trump had committed such crimes in at least several of the incidents laid out in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. He said, for example, that Trump’s efforts to get ex-White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller was a “flaming example” of corrupt intent.

By Colby Itkowitz
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a critic of President Trump who has entertained a run against him in 2020, became the first Republican congressman to say the president “engaged in impeachable conduct” based on the Mueller report. The Michigan lawmaker, often the lone Trump dissenter on his side of the House aisle, shared his conclusions in a lengthy Twitter thread Saturday after reviewing the full report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Amash wrote that after reading the 448-page report, he had concluded that not only did Mueller’s team show Trump attempting to obstruct justice, but that Attorney General William P. Barr had “deliberately misrepresented” the findings. He added that “few members of Congress even read Mueller’s report.”
“Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment,” Amash wrote. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The president often claims the report shows “no collusion, no obstruction,” though neither is true. Mueller did not establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, which interfered in the 2016 election. Mueller did not rule on the question of obstruction of justice, saying it was something Congress should determine.

By Morgan Gstalter
MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace declared Friday that Attorney General William Barr is the “most dangerous person” in the Trump administration.
Wallace expressed concern on her show that Barr was pushing “demagoguery” with his comments about the origins of the Russia investigation.
“I think Barr’s the most dangerous person that works for Donald Trump because he has Donald Trump’s worldview, Sean Hannity’s worldview, but he oversees the Justice Department,” Wallace said. Wallace, a vocal critic of Trump, served as White House communications director during the George W. Bush administration. She also served as a senior adviser to the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for his 2008 presidential run. The MSNBC host’s comments Friday came after Barr appeared on Fox News earlier this week and discussed the “multiple” investigations into the origins of the Russia probe. “His answer — so perplexing, so potentially dangerous to the institutions of law and justice that he oversees — we don’t want to air it without a disclaimer,” Wallace said. “What you’re about to hear from the sitting attorney general ... is not normal,” she continued.

Children of U.S. citizens are falling victim to a policy that de-recognizes their parents’ marriage—and strips them of their birthright citizenship.
By Scott Bixby
No parent can ever be fully prepared for the arrival of a new baby. But when Roee and Adiel Kiviti brought home their newborn daughter Kessem two months ago, they figured that they were as ready as they could be. After all, they’d gone through the same process two years earlier with their son Lev, who, like Kessem, was born with the help of an egg donor and a gestational surrogate in Canada. “It was as straightforward as one can imagine,” Roee told The Daily Beast, recalling the ease of bringing Lev home in late 2016, the infant’s newly printed Canadian passport in hand, soon to be supplanted by an American one. But this February, when Kessem’s fathers contacted the U.S. consulate in Calgary to obtain a Consular Report of Birth Abroad for their daughter—the legal equivalent of a birth certificate for Americans born outside of the United States—something was different this time. “They first indicated that they needed proof of our marriage, which I found quite odd,” Roee said. “They needed the original marriage certificate, which we didn’t have with us, but I didn’t actually think anything more about it. I thought, ‘We don’t have time for this, we’ll just deal with it in the U.S.’” Roee and Adiel obtained Kessem’s Canadian passport—a stopgap, they figured, until they could get her U.S. passport back home—and traveled back to their home in the United States.

Trump tries to shift blame — and rewrites history in the process.
By Aaron Rupar
President Donald Trump wants you to believe that he had no way of knowing about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s shady dealings with Russia before he made him his first national security adviser. In reality, the president is trying to rewrite history.
On Friday, Trump tweeted his lament that nobody warned him about Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who was dismissed from his job as director of national intelligence by then-President Barack Obama in 2014. After his dismissal, Flynn wasted little time cozying up to the Kremlin, and then spent 2016 as one of Trump’s key campaign surrogates.
“It now seems the General Flynn was under investigation long before was common knowledge,” Trump tweeted. “It would have been impossible for me to know this but, if that was the case, and with me being one of two people who would become president, why was I not told so that I could make a change?”

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump will suspend tariffs on steel and aluminum  that were imposed on Canada and Mexico a year ago in an effort to gain  leverage in broader trade negotiations, the White House said Friday. Trump  was poised to lift the tariffs in coming days, said two sources  familiar with the deal who spoke on the condition of anonymity to  discuss details of an announcement not yet made public. The president  announced a deal in broad outlines during a previously scheduled speech  in Washington on Friday. "I’m pleased to announce  that we've just reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico and we’ll be  selling our products into those countries without the imposition of  tariffs, or major tariffs," Trump said during an address to the National  Association of Realtors. "Big difference." Trump  drew howls from allies last May when he used an obscure provision of a  1962 law to claim a trade imbalance in metals presented a national  security risk to the U.S. In one of the first concrete steps Trump took  on trade, the president levied a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

By David E. Sanger
WASHINGTON — Pressed this week to define President Trump’s goals in escalating military and economic pressure on Iran, one of his top foreign policy aides ticked through a familiar list: End the country’s support for terrorism, stop its missile launches and then, most importantly, keep Iran more than a year away from the capability to build a nuclear weapon. The United States would insist on “zero enrichment for Iran,” Brian H. Hook, the State Department’s special envoy for Iran, told a small group of reporters. That would assure Tehran could produce no new nuclear material, and thus never get closer to building a weapon than it is now. It was a telling moment in a strange, circular week of mutual threats and missed signals between bitter adversaries. Designing an agreement that would assure it would take Iran a year or more to “break out” and make the fuel to build a bomb — giving the United States, Israel and others plenty of time to respond — was the driving force behind the 2015 nuclear deal that was negotiated under former President Barack Obama. Every requirement, every concession in the deal, was measured against how it would affect that timeline. And by all accounts, that deal was working before Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from it in May 2018, calling it a “disaster.”

(CNN) - Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Friday defied subpoenas from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal for President Donald Trump's tax returns. In a new letter,  Mnuchin again says the request "lacks a legitimate legislative purpose"  and that he is "not authorized to disclose the requested returns and  return information." The denial is not a surprise. The Trump administration already turned down Neal's April request for six years of tax information about the President's personal and business finances. But,  the disregard for the subpoena brings into sharper focus the eventual  court fight and raises questions about what Neal might do next. The Ways and Means Chairman said he was consulting with counsel about "moving forward." "Issuance  of these subpoenas should not have been necessary," Neal said in a  statement Friday evening. "The law provides clear statutory authority  for the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee to request and receive  access to tax returns and return information. The law, by its terms,  does not allow for discretion as to whether to comply with a request for  tax returns and return information." While other chairmen like House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler have held or are entertaining holding members of the administration in contempt of Congress, Neal -- a Democrat who shuns political showdowns even with the Trump administration-- has said he would prefer to now move to court without the show of a contempt citation. "I  don't see what good it would do at this particular time," Neal said  Friday before the Mnuchin's announcement about holding the Treasury  Department or IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig Rettig in contempt. "I  think if both sides have made up their minds, better to move it to the  next branch of government, the judiciary."

Chris Wallace on Fox News exclusive interview with AG Barr: ‘He clearly is protecting this president’
“Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace weighed in on the Fox News exclusive interview with Attorney General William Barr, saying Friday that Barr “clearly is protecting this president and advocating his point of view.” Speaking on “America’s Newsroom,” Wallace said, “What really comes across to me most of all is that for two years, Donald Trump sat there and said I don't have an attorney general, I don't have somebody out there looking for and protecting my interests. He clearly has that now with Bill Barr.” “Not saying that Barr isn't right in everything he says, but he clearly is protecting this president and advocating his point of view on a lot of these issues.” “And I suspect that President Trump, who probably has watched some of this interview himself, is saying finally, 'No Jeff Sessions, Bill Barr instead,'” Wallace added.

By Isaac Stanley-Becker
Florida officials are raising alarm and pressing for details about the purported intention of the Trump administration to send hundreds of immigrants a week to two heavily Democratic counties in South Florida. Customs and Border Protection has not publicly disclosed its plans. But a partial picture of a new approach to managing a record influx of immigrants at the southern border came into view on Thursday based on the accounts of local leaders in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Even allies of the president were nonplussed. The state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, joined federal lawmakers from Florida — Republicans and Democrats alike — in questioning the apparent effort to foist the immigration and asylum burden on two local jurisdictions without equipping them with the resources to house, feed, educate and protect new arrivals.

By Eric Schmitt, Maggie Haberman and Mark Landler
WASHINGTON — President Trump has told his acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, that he does not want to go to war with Iran, according to several administration officials, in a message to his hawkish aides that an intensifying American pressure campaign against the clerical-led government in Tehran must not escalate into open conflict. Mr. Trump’s statement, during a Wednesday morning meeting in the Situation Room, came during a briefing on the rising tensions with Iran. American intelligence has indicated that Iran has placed missiles on small boats in the Persian Gulf, prompting fears that Tehran may strike at United States troops and assets or those of its allies. No new information was presented to the president at the meeting that argued for further engagement with Iran, according to a person in the room. But Mr. Trump was firm in saying he did not want a military clash with the Iranians, several officials said.

The White House on Wednesday declined to join a global call to fight online terror, citing concerns about freedom of speech but in the process stoking a new controversy over its response to extremism. The move drew condemnation from lawmakers on Capitol Hill who have been calling for tech giants to rein in the scourge of potentially radicalizing material on their platforms in the wake of the livestreamed attacks on worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March. “It’s disappointing that once again the White House wants to put the U.S. at odds with our allies in establishing reasonable global internet norms,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), a vocal tech industry critic, told The Hill in a statement. The White House’s decision to opt out puts the U.S. at odds with France, Canada, the European Union and the rest of the 17 countries that signed on to the so-called Christchurch Call, the largest-ever international campaign against online extremism and terrorist content to date. Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube — all American companies — also signed on to the nonbinding pledge, which was unveiled at a summit with global leaders in Paris on Wednesday.

The U.S. aviation system needs urgently to restore the world’s confidence after two crashes of Boeing 737 Max jets. Instead, the Trump administration’s top aviation official, goaded by some Republican lawmakers, informed the world Wednesday that the problem isn’t that Boeing put a faulty aircraft into the skies, nor that the Federal Aviation Administration’s lax oversight kept it flying. The trouble, they argued, comes from lousy foreign pilots — particularly the ones on Ethiopian Airlines and Indonesia’s Lion Air who died struggling to pull the Max jets from death plunges. “I’m trying to be respectful because they’re deceased,” Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.) said of the doomed crews. But, “do we not have concerns not only with the training of pilots in other nations, but the reliability of their logs?”

WASHINGTON — President Trump moved on Wednesday to ban American telecommunications firms from installing foreign-made equipment that could pose a threat to national security, White House officials said, stepping up a battle against China by effectively barring sales by Huawei, the country’s leading networking company. Mr. Trump issued an executive order instructing the commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, to ban transactions “posing an unacceptable risk” but did not single out any nation or company. The action has long been expected and is the latest salvo in the administration’s economic and security battle with China. It is also the most extreme move in the Trump administration’s fight against China’s tech sector. The executive order was “agnostic,” White House officials said in a call with reporters, declining to single out China as the focus. “This administration will do what it takes to keep America safe and prosperous and to protect America from foreign adversaries” targeting vulnerabilities in American communications infrastructure, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement. Over the next 150 days, the Commerce Department will write the rules for reviewing transactions that fall under the ban, the officials said. The Commerce Department said it would work across the administration on the new rules, consulting with the attorney general, Treasury secretary and other agency heads.

The White House said it supports the goals of the call to action in the name of Christchurch, but would not sign on because of freedom of speech concerns. The United States says it supports an international effort to find ways to stop social media from spreading hate — but won't take part in it. In a statement issued Wednesday, the White House praised the call to action in the name of Christchurch being spearheaded by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron. "The United States stands with the international community in condemning terrorist and violent extremist content online in the strongest terms," the White House said, but added that it is "not currently in a position to join the endorsement." That makes the U.S. an outlier. Allies including the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Italy, India, Germany and Spain are all listed as signing on to the effort. Numerous technology giants are involved as well, including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube. In its statement, the White House suggested that First Amendment concerns were stopping the Trump administration from joining in the agreement. "We continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online while also continuing to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press," the statement said. - Of course, Trump and his White house will not support it the Alt right and the white supremacist would one of their best tools to spread hate and fear.

The White House’s top lawyer told the House Judiciary Committee chairman Wednesday that Congress has no right to a “do-over” of the special counsel’s investigation of President Trump and refused a broad demand for records and testimony from dozens of current and former White House staff. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone’s letter to committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) constitutes a sweeping rejection — not just of Nadler’s request for White House records, but of Congress’s standing to investigate Trump for possible obstruction of justice. In his letter, Cipollone repeated a claim the White House and Trump’s business have begun making: that Congress is not a law enforcement body and does not have a legitimate purpose to investigate the questions it is pursuing. But Cipollone stopped short of asserting executive privilege. Instead, he told Nadler he would consider a narrowed request if the chairman spells out the legislative purpose and legal support for the information he is seeking. - Congress’s job is oversite they can and should investigate a corrupt president and White House. How many times did the GOP investigate Benghazi?

President Trump is denying a New York Times report that he's considering sending 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran escalates tensions into a full-blown conflict. The report comes as the Pentagon says it's highly likely the country was behind attacks on tankers off the Persian Gulf. CBS News national security correspondent David Martin joins CBSN to discuss. - Trump also said there were no contacts with Russians, he had no business deals in Russia and he did not know about the payments to Stormy Daniels.

(CNN) - There is always a tweet. That  has become accepted fact in the Trump presidency: For every  pronouncement the President makes, there is at least one tweet from his  past that directly contradicts his current view. Which brings us to Iran. In the past week, the Trump administration has significantly ramped up pressure on the country. First, the US ordered an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers into the Middle East -- citing reports that Iran was putting short-range missiles on boats in the Persian Gulf. Then, came a report in The New York Times  that national security adviser John Bolton had proposed one plan that  would include sending 120,000 troops into the region in the event Iran  continued to walk away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a  nuclear pact that Iran agreed to in 2015. Asked about the troop proposal, which the Times made clear Trump had not yet seen, the President said this on Tuesday: "Now  would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that.  Hopefully, we're not going to have to plan for that, and if we did that,  we'd send a hell of a lot more troops than that." Which  is pretty remarkable! The President of the United States saying he  would be willing to commit more than 120,000 troops to a war with Iran! But not as remarkable as this flurry of tweets that private citizen Donald Trump sent back in the fall of 2012. Here we go! "Now that Obama's poll numbers are in tailspin -- watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran.  He is desperate."(10/9/12) "Don't let Obama play the Iran card in order to start a war in order to get elected--be careful Republicans!" (10/22/12)
He then followed those up the following year with these two tweets: "Remember what I previously said--Obama will someday attack Iran in order to show how tough he is." (9/23/13) "Remember  that I predicted a long time ago that President Obama will attack Iran  because of his inability to negotiate properly-not skilled!" (11/10/13) So........

The Trump administration is preparing a new list of $300 billion worth of Chinese imports that would be hit with tariffs of up to 25%, after China retaliated Monday in the trade war between the world's two largest economies. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative published a list of Chinese goods that would be hit with new duties, ranging from artists' brushes and paint rollers to clocks and watches. The list also includes a wide range of sporting goods, from baseballs to fishing reels. And it dedicates several pages to agricultural products, from livestock to dairy, plants and vegetables. Staples such as rice and tea are on the list. "The proposed product list covers essentially all products not currently covered by action in this investigation," the USTR office says. It adds, "The proposed product list excludes pharmaceuticals, certain pharmaceutical inputs, select medical goods, rare earth materials, and critical minerals." The U.S. proposal will enter a public comment period and could take effect sometime in late June or July. On Monday, China's State Council Customs Tariff Commission announced it will impose tariffs of up to 25% on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods starting in June, in retaliation for Trump's tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. The tit-for-tat exchange rattled stock markets on Monday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 2.4%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite closed the day down 3.4%.

President Donald Trump is poised to delay a decision by up to six months to impose auto tariffs to avoid blowing up negotiations with the EU and Japan and further antagonize allies as he ramps up his trade war with China, according to people close to the discussions. Trump faces a May 18 deadline over how to proceed with his threat to slap a tariff of as much as 25% on imported cars and parts in the name of U.S. national security. The news was welcomed by an equities market that has been battered by renewed trade concerns since last week. The S&P 500 erased its earlier losses of as much as 0.7% and was trading 0.6% higher as of 11:49 a.m. in New York. Shares of BMW AG surged as much as 5%, while Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also gained.

A third probe into the origins of the Russia investigation, even to pacify the paranoid president, may cause real harm. If you come at the king, you best not miss. That’s the message Attorney General William Barr is sending to FBI agents, whether intentionally or not. Barr has authorized yet another investigation into the FBI’s conduct probing links between Russian election interference and the Trump campaign. Even though two other entities are already investigating the same matter, reports indicate that Barr has appointed Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the Russia probe. In doing so, Barr is playing into the hands of President Donald Trump, who has already characterized Durham’s assignment as an investigation into “how that whole hoax got started.” The most charitable interpretation of Barr’s behavior in defense of Trump is that he believes strongly in a “unitary executive,” where the president can order any investigation he wants. But in his quest to protect the presidency, Barr is damaging our national security. His complicity in Trump’s efforts to disparage the FBI will make it more difficult for agents to do their jobs and could discourage investigations of those in power.

Democrats are fighting for access to the president's financial records. A federal judge raised pointed doubts Tuesday about arguments by President Donald Trump’s legal team that a Democratic effort to subpoena Trump’s financial records was an invalid exercise of congressional power. Amit Mehta, a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, indicated that he would have trouble ruling that Congress’ goal in accessing the president’s records was unconstitutional — as Trump’s lawyers have argued — and he underscored that he believes Congress has a significant “informing function” that doesn’t necessarily require an explicit legislative purpose to justify an investigation involving the president. “Does Congress have to do that — do they have to identify a bill in advance? The Supreme Court has said the opposite,” Mehta said during a round of questioning with Trump’s attorney William Consovoy during a hearing. Consovoy argued throughout Tuesday’s hearing that Congress has no basis for investigating whether Trump’s financial disclosures are accurate, contending that it’s a “law enforcement issue” that’s not tied to a specific legislative agenda. Mehta cast serious doubt on those claims, suggesting at one point that investigations of such financial violations are “strictly” under Congress’ purview and that the courts have “very little, if any” discretion over Congress’ asks. “I almost wonder whether I have no role,” Mehta told Consovoy at one point.

A federal judge on Tuesday gave lawyers for President Trump and Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee until the end of the week to make their final arguments on whether the court should uphold a subpoena requesting Trump’s private financial records. District Judge Amit Mehta, during the first court hearing in D.C. over the subpoena issued by Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) for records from the accounting firm Mazars, said he considers the matter to be “fully exhausted” after hearing arguments from attorneys on both sides. And he promised to quickly issue a ruling on the matter. Attorneys for Trump and his businesses argued that the House committee had no standing to issue the subpoena, describing the request for documents as “law enforcement” and going beyond Congress’s authorities. Trump lawyer William Consovoy said that investigating the president for potential wrongdoing was outside of Congress's constitutional bounds, reiterating an argument that all congressional probes should be tied to legislation. But Mehta pushed back against some of Consovoy’s remarks by pointing to investigations like Watergate that weren’t tied to specific bills.
“You mean to tell me that because he is the president of the United States, Congress would have no ability to investigate?” Mehta said, referring to Trump.

Trump seeks government help for “great Patriot farmers” who are being hit by China’s retaliatory tariffs. President Donald Trump is opposed to the government  interfering in the market to pick winners and losers — at least when  doing so doesn’t directly benefit voters crucial to his reelection  prospects. In recent months, Trump has made his opposition to  socialism — a system of government in which the government plays a  leading role in distributing goods and services — a regular feature of  his speeches. During his most recent State of the Union address, Trump alluded to rhetoric by Democrats and said,  “Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt  socialism in our country.” At a rally in Wisconsin last month, Trump vowed that America “will never be a socialist country.” He framed the crisis in Venezuela as a failure of socialism and suggested Democrats wanted to use the Mueller investigation to force him out of office and “institute Socialism.” Life, however, comes at you fast — especially when you launch a trade war with a country that represents the second-largest export market for American agriculture. During an Oval Office event with Hungary’s far-right  leader Viktor Orbán on Monday, Trump outlined a plan to redistribute  money from American importers to farmers hurt by his escalating trade  war with China that might fall short of socialism, but is certainly a  far cry from the values of free markets and free trade traditionally  embraced by Republicans.

American farmers know they can't control Mother Nature, but they shouldn't have to worry about the climate for trade agreements, too. Growing up on the farm, my father would always say that the two things you could count on were death and taxes. And then he would quickly add the one thing you could not count on but on which we were dependent: Mother Nature, the weather. This year has been a particularly difficult time for our family farm in Indiana, as it has been for farmers throughout the Midwest, from Nebraska to Iowa, from Missouri to Ohio. Many are still waiting for the water to drain from their fields so they can begin spring planting of corn and soybeans. There is not much farmers can do about the weather in the short term. The crops need to be planted and May is a critical month. It turns out, however, that our nation’s farms are underwater in more ways than one. On Monday, China announced it is putting tariffs on more than 5,000 U.S. products, including vegetables, in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s decision late last week to increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%. Just like last spring, agriculture producers can once again add trade policy as another unknown to their business model.

The thing to keep in mind about President Trump, as he thrashes around like a weak swimmer in a strong current, is that he has no idea what he’s doing. None. Not a clue. I know that he can be clever politically, in a tactical sense. I know that his lies are often both deliberate and effective. I know that his utter shamelessness can sometimes come off as some kind of warped genius. But the only thing that’s profound about Trump is the truly spectacular depth of his ignorance. As evidence, take a glance — if you dare — at your 401(k). The president’s decision last week to unilaterally boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports produced an entirely predictable response — retaliatory tariffs from Beijing on $60 billion worth of U.S. products, a freakout by the financial markets and a screaming plunge in the Dow and other major indexes.

President Donald Trump cast a fog of misinformation over the U.S. trade dispute with China,  floating inaccurate numbers and skewed economic theories as big tariffs  kicked in on Chinese goods. At stake in the rupture is a trading  relationship between the world's two largest economies that employs  nearly 1 million Americans, supplies affordable goods to U.S. households  and, in the view of Mr. Trump and a bipartisan group of trade  hard-liners, puts U.S. business at an unfair disadvantage. President Trump's torrent of tweets on the subject Friday followed a  rally infused with familiar falsehoods about his achievements (the  economy, veterans' health) and grievances (the Russia inquiry). Here's a  look at his words about trade between the U.S. and China over the past  week, including tweets from Monday morning.

Washington (CNN) - American farmers are running out of patience with President Donald Trump's trade war with China. Farmers have long stood behind Trump's mission to get a better trade deal with Beijing that addresses long-standing issues with what they say are unfair trading practices. But after weeks of optimistic statements by Trump and members of his administration about how trade talks were progressing, Trump abruptly escalated tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods last week and opened the door to even more -- prompting Beijing to hit back Monday by raising the tariff rate on $60 billion of US items. The escalated tariffs don't hit agricultural products directly, since most were already facing a 25% tariff imposed by China last year. But the news still sent commodity prices plummeting. "The President of the United States owes farmers like myself some type of plan of action," John Wesley Boyd Jr., a soybean farmer in Baskerville, Virginia, told CNN's Brianna Keilar on Monday. "Farmers were his base. They helped elect this president ... and now he's turning his back on America's farmers when we need him the most," he added.

President Trump hosted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the White House on Monday, a gesture that two past presidents have avoided granting to the hard-right European leader. "People have a lot of respect for this Prime Minister," said the president in a photo-op in the Oval Office before their meeting. Trump went on to warmly praise the Hungarian leader. "He's a respected man. And I know he's a tough man, but he's a respected man. And he's done the right thing, according to many people, on immigration." Orbán is on record calling Syrian refugees "Muslim invaders," and many human rights activists are concerned about the signals Trump is sending with this meeting, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports:

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration wants to shift money for Pell Grants for college education to fund new spending, including a $1.6 billion bump for NASA to return American astronauts to the moon by 2024. Under a budget amendment sent to Congress Monday evening, the administration would use an additional $1.9 billion in surplus Pell Grant money to fund other budget priorities, including an infusion of new cash for NASA “so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!” President Donald Trump tweeted. A series of proposed changes reverses some of the most controversial cuts Trump’s administration had proposed, including slashing funding for the Special Olympics. The White House can send such requests, called “rescissions,” to Congress to clawback unspent money the administration views as wasteful or unnecessary. Congress, however, must approve.

Regional experts and government officials are voicing their worry over the potential for conflict — intended or accidental — to break out between the U.S. and Iran. The price of oil spiked Monday, with Brent crude jumping more than 1.5% at noon London time in a sign of market concern over the unraveling nuclear deal and provocative behavior from both Washington and Tehran. “Both Iran and the United States are seemingly putting in place networks and infrastructure to deter military attacks against one another’s assets in the region,” Ellie Geranmayeh, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told CNBC on Monday. “In the absence of a serious diplomatic channel, the current maximalist approach from the Trump White House could spark a new cycle of intentional or inadvertent military confrontation in the region.” Citing “very real” threat reporting on Iran, but withholding details of those specific threats, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized during an interview with CNBC on Sunday that all options — military and otherwise — were on the table in case Iran “makes a bad decision.”

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Sunday acknowledged that the Chinese do not directly pay tariffs on goods coming into the U.S., contradicting President Donald Trump’s claims that China will pay for tariffs imposed by the U.S. Kudlow said that  “both sides will suffer on this,” but argued that China will suffer significant GDP losses as export markets are hit. The blow to U.S. GDP, on the other hand, won’t be substantial since the economy is “in terrific shape,” he said. Fox News’ Chris Wallace pressed Kudlow about Trump’s claims. “It’s not China that pays tariffs,” Wallace said. “It’s the American importers, the American companies that pay what, in effect, is a tax increase and oftentimes passes it on to U.S. consumers.”
“Fair enough,” Kudlow replied. “In fact, both sides will pay. Both sides will pay in these things.” Kudlow added, however, that China doesn’t actually pay the tariffs, but that their GDP will suffer  “with respect to a diminishing export market.” “This is a risk we should and can take without damaging our economy in any appreciable way,” Kudlow said.

This story originally appeared on Mother Jones and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. A few years ago I stood in a cramped trailer beside the busy 110 freeway in Los Angeles as researchers at the University of Southern California gathered soot thrown off by vehicles pounding by just a few yards from their instruments, which rattled whenever a heavy truck passed. I was there to learn about how scientists were beginning to link air pollution—from power plants, motor vehicles, forest fires, you name it—to one of the least understood and most frightening of illnesses: dementia. - Thanks to Trump and the GOP who have weakened air standards how more American with get dementia?

President Trump and his allies are working to block more than 20 separate investigations by Democrats into his actions as president, his personal finances and his administration’s policies, according to a Washington Post analysis, amounting to what many experts call the most expansive White House obstruction effort in decades. Trump’s noncooperation strategy has shifted from partial resistance to all-out war as he faces mounting inquiries from the Democratic-controlled House — a strategy that many legal and congressional experts fear could undermine the institutional power of Congress for years to come. All told, House Democrats say the Trump administration has failed to respond to or comply with at least 79 requests for documents or other information. The president is blocking aides from testifying, refusing entire document requests from some committees, filing lawsuits against corporations to bar them from responding to subpoenas and asserting executive privilege to keep information about the special counsel’s Russia investigation from public view. One such case will come to a head in court on Tuesday, when a federal judge is expected to rule on whether Trump can quash a House Oversight Committee subpoena demanding financial records from his personal accounting firm.

Washington seems to be barreling toward a constitutional crisis. Democrats are barraging President Trump with demands for witnesses and documents. Trump has answered by stonewalling, vowing to fight “all the subpoenas.” As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned, Trump seems to be goading the Democratic-controlled House toward impeachment, perhaps because it’s a battle he thinks he can win. Politicians on both sides are repairing to their tribal corners. Is there anyone who can serve as honest referees in this partisan standoff? One answer — don’t laugh — is lawyers. Specifically, Republican lawyers. Even as Republicans in Congress have fallen in line to defend Trump at every turn, a surprising number of conservative lawyers have broken ranks and are condemning the president for abuses of power and denouncing his blanket claims of executive privilege. Last week, John Yoo, the former Justice Department official who drafted a notorious memo justifying the torture of detainees under President George W. Bush, warned that Trump had gone too far in asserting unbridled presidential power. “That's what Nixon did,” Yoo told NPR. “That's what other presidents who have failed have done.”

President Donald Trump on Saturday called for China to act now on trade or risk facing a worse deal if negotiations continue into a possible second term after the 2020 presidential election. Trump claimed China was ‘beaten so badly’ in recent trade negotiations that Beijing wanted to wait until after the 2020 election in the hope a Democrat would win the White House and offer them a better deal. Trump, however, said he would prevail in the upcoming election and warned that a trade deal would be ‘much worse’ for China if it was negotiated during his second term. Chinese and U.S. negotiators held trade talks in Washington on Friday after Trump more than doubled tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, raising the rate from 10% to 25%. The administration is also moving to impose 25% tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese goods. Trump said Friday’s talks were constructive and negotiations will continue while tariffs remain in place, though they could be lifted depending on how the situation progresses. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnunchin told CNBC no further trade talks are planned between the two sides “as of now.” Chinese state media has reported that the next round of talks is expected to take place in Beijing. Trump abruptly announced the tariff hike last Sunday, shattering hopes that a trade deal was near and sending U.S. markets into turmoil for much of the week. The president cited slow progress in negotiations as the reason for his decision.

President Donald Trump lashed out at Don McGahn on Saturday, tweeting that he was “Never a big fan” of the former White House counsel amid an ongoing battle between House Democrats and the administration over documents and testimony related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“I was NOT going to fire Bob Mueller, and did not fire Bob Mueller. In fact, he was allowed to finish his Report with unprecedented help from the Trump Administration,” the president wrote online. “Actually, lawyer Don McGahn had a much better chance of being fired than Mueller. Never a big fan!” The broadside follows a Friday report by The Wall Street Journal that McGahn rebuffed a request from the White House last month to publicly state that he did not believe the president obstructed justice when Trump ordered McGahn to seek Mueller’s firing in June 2017. According to the redacted version of the special counsel’s report released by the Justice Department in April, Trump instructed McGahn to inform Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that Mueller must be removed. McGahn refused Trump’s subsequent request to refute press reports of the president’s directive, according to Mueller’s report.

Financial markets should abandon any remaining illusion that U.S.-China trade talks are a time-constrained, tradable event that ultimately will result in a deal reassuring investors. Near dead is the notion that both sides would inevitably compromise because they so badly need agreement for their own political and economic purposes. What markets have misunderstood since the negotiations resumed last December – but U.S. and Chinese officials have grasped – is that the talks had become just one of many events of a new era of geopolitical and systemic competition that will define our times. To earn their pay, market analysts will have to get a lot better at pricing in geopolitical risk. Trump’s decision to more than double tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, from 10% to 25%, received the most global attention this week. His move, which was fueled by the argument that China was backing out of already-negotiated terms of a draft agreement, has the potential to be the most significant of the many trade moves of his administration.

(CNN) - Retired  Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens accused President Donald Trump  of exceeding his presidential powers in an interview published Thursday,  telling The Wall Street Journal that the President "has to comply with subpoenas." Stevens' remarks come as the court battle over Trump's financial records ramps up, with Judge Amit Mehta  overseeing the first hearing in the standoff between the Democrat-led  House Oversight Committee and the President next week. The committee has subpoenaed Trump's long-standing accounting firm Mazars USA for several years' worth of the President's financial statements, and the President has sued the committee and Mazars to block the firm from complying. Asked  about the modern political landscape, Stevens told the Journal, "I  think there are things we should be concerned about, there's no doubt  about that." "The President is  exercising powers that do not really belong to him," Stevens added. "I  mean, he has to comply with subpoenas and things like that."

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