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Presidents aren’t required by law to release their tax returns. Nevertheless, between 1974 and 2012, every president but Gerald Ford has made a voluntary release of the tax returns they filed while in office. Ford released no complete returns, but released 10 years of summary data including gross income, taxable income, major deductions, and taxes paid.

This tradition of voluntary tax return disclosure ended in 2017, when President Trump declined to release any personal tax information. Trump has offered various reasons for keeping his returns private, but he has frequently insisted that he won’t make a release while his returns are being audited by the IRS.

2. Are all presidents’ tax returns audited by the IRS?

Since 1977 the Internal Revenue Manual has required that every tax return filed by a sitting president or vice president be subject to an audit. According to IRS officials at the time, the new policy was established “in the interest of sound administration” and in light of “everything that has happened in the past.”

While Trump may be unwilling to release presidential tax returns currently under audit, that’s a prudential decision, not a legal one. There’s no legal bar to releasing returns that are under examination. In fact, every president from Jimmy Carter through Barack Obama released tax returns that were “under audit,” since those returns — generally released publicly within hours of being filed with the IRS — were slated for automatic audit under the IRM.

3. Do presidents release tax returns covering every year they are in office?

Not exactly. Typically, presidents have released tax returns that they filed while actually holding office. That means the first return filed and released by a new president has covered the year before his inauguration. Similarly, returns covering the last year of a president’s final term haven’t typically been released since they were filed after that president had left office.

Typically, presidents have released tax returns that they filed while actually holding office. President Bill Clinton is the exception to that rule, since his joint returns filed after his presidency were then released by Hillary Clinton when she made her 2008 bid for the Democratic nomination.

4. Why did presidents begin to make voluntary disclosures of tax returns in 1974?

The tradition of voluntary tax return disclosure began with a scandal. In 1973 journalists discovered information suggesting that President Richard Nixon had taken large, hard-to-defend deductions on his individual tax returns. After months of media speculation (based chiefly on documents that came to light in an unrelated court case), someone at the IRS leaked information from the president’s returns confirming that he had paid just $792.81 in federal income taxes for 1970 and $878.03 for 1971 — despite having an income of more than $200,000 each year.

To help quell the ensuing uproar — which occasioned Nixon’s oft-quoted insistence that “I am not a crook” — the president decided to make a public release of his tax returns for 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1972. That tax disclosure was the first made by a sitting U.S. president. (While running for president in 1952, Dwight D. Eisenhower disclosed a few key elements of his tax history, but no complete returns.)

Ford, Nixon’s vice president, didn’t release complete tax returns after taking office in the wake of Nixon’s resignation. Ford released a nine-year summary of his tax data when running for president in 1975 and 1976. But starting with Carter, every president through Obama has made an annual disclosure of the tax return he filed during each year in which he held office.

5. Which presidential returns are available in the presidential tax returns archive? Do you have them all?

The archive includes returns disclosed by every president from Nixon through Obama, with the exception of Ford. (Since Ford released only summary tax data, the archive includes a summary.)
The archive doesn’t include any complete presidential tax returns filed by Trump, because he has opted not to release them. However, it includes Trump’s Form 1040 for 2005, which was leaked to the DCReport.org website and later published widely. In a statement, the White House confirmed the accuracy of key figures from this 2005 partial return.

The archive includes returns filed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Those returns weren’t released during either president’s lifetime, but were later made available by their respective presidential libraries.

6. Which vice presidential and candidate tax returns are available in the archive

The archive includes returns filed by Vice Presidents Dick Cheney, Joe Biden, and Mike Pence. For Cheney, all but one of the returns (filed jointly with his wife) are incomplete, consisting of only a Form 1040. In 2001 the Cheneys released only a press statement summarizing their 2000 return. Returns filed by Pence were released while he was running in the 2016 election. Because Pence has released no returns since taking office, the last return available in the archive is for 2015. Like Trump, Cheney has cited ongoing audits as an explanation for his refusal to release later returns. Returns filed by Vice Presidents Walter Mondale, George H.W. Bush, and some by Al Gore aren’t in the archive. The returns, however, were publicly released by those officials while they held office. They are unavailable now, and we hope to add them to the archive eventually.

For primary candidates and major party nominees, we have returns (or return portions) covering the 2012, 2016, and 2020 election cycles.

7. How many tax returns do candidates typically release?

The number of returns released by presidential candidates varies widely, from a low of zero (Donald Trump) to a high of 33 (Jeb Bush). There is no “typical” or “standard” number of released returns, since disclosures have varied dramatically even within an election cycle.

Even the number of returns released by major party nominees has differed widely.

Tax Returns Disclosed by Major Party Nominees, 1976-2016
1976 1
Jimmy Carter
0 (summary data)
Gerald Ford
1980 5
Jimmy Carter
1
Ronald Reagan
1984 11
Walter Mondale
5
Ronald Reagan
1988 5
Michael Dukakis
14
George H.W. Bush
1992 12
Bill Clinton
18
George H.W. Bush
1996 19
Bill Clinton
30
Robert Dole
2000 8
Al Gore
9
George W. Bush
2004 20
John Kerry
13
George W. Bush
2008 7
Barack Obama
2
John McCain
2012 11
Barack Obama
2
Mitt Romney
2016 24
Hillary Clinton
0
Donald Trump
Sources: Contemporaneous media coverage; Julie Jennings, “Memorandum: Federal Tax Returns Disclosed by Selected Nominees for President and Vice President Since 1916,” Congressional Research Service (Jan. 30, 2019); Ryan Kelly, “Chart: Presidential Candidates’ Tax Returns,” Roll Call (Oct. 21, 2016).

Disclosures have also varied considerably in their completeness. While all major party presidential nominees through the 2012 election released complete (or nearly complete) returns, several candidates in 2016 chose to release only their Form 1040, omitting other required elements of their tax returns, including various schedules and forms.

8. What happened to the tradition of voluntary disclosure?

The voluntary tradition of tax return disclosure — by candidates, nominees, vice presidents, and presidents — was strong until 2016. President Trump’s decision to keep his tax returns private was the most serious challenge to this tradition, but it wasn’t the only one. The decision in 2016 by several candidates in both parties to release incomplete returns was a break with the usual practice of full disclosure. Moreover, while numerous candidates opted for a partial release in 2016, Cheney had already set a precedent for limiting annual disclosures to just a Form 1040.

9. Can Congress compel disclosure?

Whether Congress can compel disclosure of presidential (and vice presidential) tax returns remains to be seen. A law enacted in 1924 empowers key leaders of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees to request tax return information from Treasury, including individual returns filed by just about anyone. Such a request doesn’t necessarily involve public disclosure of the requested information, and indeed, the law requires lawmakers to treat that material confidentially. But the law also gives lawmakers a procedure for making that information public should either committee decide, after a formal vote, that disclosure is warranted.

The Ways and Means Committee is seeking tax returns filed by Trump, as well as returns from several of his businesses and related audit and administrative materials developed by the IRS. To date, Treasury has declined to provide that information, and the standoff seems likely to find its way to a courtroom sometime soon.

The law requires lawmakers to treat tax return information confidentially. But the law also gives lawmakers a procedure for making that information public should either committee decide, after a formal vote, that disclosure is warranted.

In a related development, the House passed legislation in March that would require presidents, vice presidents, and major party nominees for both offices to publicly disclose 10 years of tax returns. The legislation is awaiting action in the Senate.

10. Where else can people find presidential tax returns?

Tax Analysts maintains the largest database of publicly available tax returns released by American national politicians.

In theory, tax returns released by specific presidents and vice presidents should be available in the various presidential libraries scattered around the country. In practice, it can be difficult to retrieve those returns, because their sensitive nature often causes them to be flagged for special security screening. Getting that screening done can take considerable time, given staffing shortages at presidential libraries.

The story for candidate and nominee returns is even worse. Because those returns have typically been released by campaigns, not government agencies, official archiving practices don’t apply. Some released returns can still be found online through various news organizations, which occasionally host returns on their own websites.

For the most part, however, candidate returns tend to disappear from public view once the voting is done; technically public, they become effectively private.

“I believe that we in the United States Congress should start impeachment proceedings. Immediately,” he said, adding: “The politics of this be dammed. When we look at history at what happened when the president started acting like an authoritarian. The question is what will we have done? And I believe the Congress should do its job.” “I just want to make sure whatever we do doesn’t end up with an acquittal by [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell in the Senate and President Trump is saying he was acquitted by the Congress. I belief we have a moral obligation to beat Donald Trump. He has to be a single term president. And we can’t do anything that plays into his hands.” But Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet was more cautious.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said “It’s obvious the president committed the crimes worthy of impeachment.” Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who has said her Justice Department, if elected president, would go forward with obstruction of justices charges against Trump, was the first to elaborate. “We all watched the testimony [former special counsel Robert Muelle], I read the report,” she said. “There are 10 clear incidents of obstruction of justice by this president and he needs to be held accountable. I have seen people go to prison for far less.” Sen. Corey Booker of New Jersey agreed. Former Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development also was in favor of punishment. “I was first of candidate to call on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings,” he said, adding: “I believe that the evidence is plain and clear. And if it goes that far, you’re likely to see a prosecution of Donald Trump.” The progressive Democrats on the stage Wednesday night for the second round of debates among presidential candidates were all in favor of tossing President Donald Trump in jail.

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Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney also resigned from a planning committee in protest. Caucus members said they will also boycott the rest of a weeklong series of events marking the 400th anniversary and have instead planned alternative commemorations Tuesday in Richmond, Virginia’s capital. Trump’s comments about Cummings were the latest rhetorical shot at a lawmaker of color to spark outrage. Earlier this month, Trump drew bipartisan condemnation following his call for four Democratic congresswomen of color to get out of the U.S. “right now.” Caucus chair Del. Lamont Bagby said in an interview the group unanimously reached the boycott decision more than a week ago. But he said the president has “continued his attacks” since then and his remarks about Cummings’ district were more of the same. Virginia’s black state lawmakers announced Monday they will boycott a ceremony this week commemorating the beginnings of American democracy because President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend. Trump will join national and state leaders and dignitaries at Tuesday’s event, a commemorative session of the Virginia General Assembly at which Trump is to deliver remarks. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Monday that the caucus was pushing “a political agenda.” “The commemoration of the birth of this nation and its democracy will be tarnished unduly with the participation of the President, who continues to make degrading comments toward minority leaders, promulgate policies that harm marginalized communities, and use racist and xenophobic rhetoric,” the caucus said in a statement. The convening of a legislative assembly in 1619 formed the basis of today’s representative system of government in the United States. The Virginia General Assembly is considered the oldest continuously operating legislative body in North America. The caucus’ statement did not specifically mention Cummings but said Trump’s “repeated attacks on Black legislators and comments about Black communities makes him ill-suited to honor and commemorate such a monumental period in history.” When the Richmond Times-Dispatch first reported earlier in the month that Trump would take part in the event, top Democratic lawmakers said they would not attend. Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment said at the time that their decision was “disappointing and embarrassing.” The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus said its members would not attend Tuesday’s event in historic Jamestown marking the 400th anniversary of the first representative assembly in the Western Hemisphere. The boycott comes after Trump’s weekend comments referring to Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings’ majority-black Baltimore-area district as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” Tuesday’s events are just one part of a yearlong commemoration called American Evolution meant to honor key milestones in the state’s colonial history, including the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first recorded Africans in English North America. “President Trump passed criminal justice reform, developed opportunity zones securing record-setting investment in distressed communities, and pushed policies that created the lowest unemployment rates ever for African Americans, so it’s a bit confusing and unfortunate that the VLBC would choose to push a political agenda instead of celebrate this milestone for our nation,” she said in a statement.

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A federal judge in D.C. wants President Donald Trump, New York state officials, and the U.S. House of Representatives to come up with a solution that would give the president “very modest relief” in the dispute over a law that allows the release of his tax returns, Politico reports. The Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee at the beginning of this month filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department and the IRS in an effort to obtain Trump’s returns. Trump filed a lawsuit against the Ways and Means Committee, New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Michael Schmidt to prevent the committee from doing so, arguing the committee lacks a legislative purpose for using the New York law to acquire the taxes. A New York law enacted in early July allows Congress’ tax committees to request public officials’ state tax returns from the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance. Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia acknowledged Trump’s concerns that his New York state tax returns could be turned over before the courts have a sufficient amount of time to consider constitutional and legal issues with the request. He gave the parties until 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday to use their “creativity” to reach an agreement. The separate cases were filed in federal court in D.C. this month.

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In January, Coats again was reportedly in Trump’s dog house when he told a Senate committee that North Korea was unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons, which contradicted the president’s more optimistic view. At last year’s Aspen Security Forum, Coats reportedly angered Trump when he  appeared to criticize the president’s ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer slammed on Sunday President Donald Trump’s choice of Rep. John Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence, The Hill reported. “It’s clear that Rep. Ratcliffe was selected because he exhibited blind loyalty to President Trump with his demagogic questioning of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller ” Schumer said in a statement. “If Senate Republicans elevate such a partisan player to a position that requires intelligence expertise and non-partisanship, it would be a big mistake.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote on Twitter that the successor for Coats “must put patriotism before politics, and remember that his oath is to protect the Constitution and the American people, not the President.” Trump had reportedly soured on Coats several times during his tenure. Axios reported that Trump was impressed by Ratcliffe’s performance during his questioning of Mueller at congressional hearings on Wednesday. Sen Eliabeth Warren, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, added in a tweet that “Our Director of National Intelligence should be above partisan politics, speak truth to power, and resist Trump’s abuses of authority. John Ratcliffe doesn’t fit that bill.” It is not yet clear how the Senate overall will react to Ratcliffe’s nomination, according to The Hill.  However, his membership in the House Intelligence Committee will likely appeal to Republican senators.

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“I agree with my fellow members of the Washington delegation that, as we have learned about the gravity of the potential threats to our democracy identified in special counsel Mueller’s report, it has become clear that the House should begin proceedings to determine whether the president’s action necessitate impeachment,” Murray said in a statement shared on her website. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Sunday supported an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, a decision fueled by testimony provided by special counsel Robert Mueller last week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday said the House would decide whether to begin proceedings, “when we have a best strongest possible case” and that such a decision “will be made in a timely fashion.” Murray, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, joins a growing list of Democrats pushing for impeachment, including all seven of Washington’s Democratic House members. Mueller in his testimony before the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees noted the 2000 Justice Department determination that “a sitting president is constitutionally immune from indictment and criminal prosecution.” He also said his team did not reach a determination whether Trump committed a crime.

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“There is nothing racist in stating plainly what most people already know, that Elijah Cummings has done a terrible job for the people of his district, and of Baltimore itself. Dems always play the race card when they are unable to win with facts. Shame!” he tweeted Sunday. Cummings’ district is about 55% black and includes a large portion of Baltimore. The city has struggled with violent crime, with more than 300 homicides for four years in a row. It has crumbling infrastructure and a police department under federal oversight. Trump’s comments drew swift condemnation from Democrats over the weekend, including some of the party’s presidential candidates. Statements from a spokesman for Maryland’s Republican governor and from the lieutenant governor defended Cummings’ district and its people.  Trump on Saturday lashed out at Cummings, claiming his Baltimore-area district is “considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States.” President Donald Trump on Sunday defended his controversial remarks aimed at Rep. Elijah Cumming and called the Baltimore lawmaker a racist. “If racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district, and Baltimore itself, perhaps progress could be made in fixing the mess that he has helped to create over many years of incompetent leadership. His radical ‘oversight’ is a joke!” he added.

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Even though it will add significantly to the national debt, President Donald Trump would prefer that the Senate pass the current budget deal and has acknowledged he will sign the legislation

“When the Democrats won the House, everybody knew we were going to  end up spending more money,”

According to acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney added that the agreement is still a victory for the Trump administration.

“The Democrats wanted to limit our policies on the border, they wanted to limit our policies regarding pro-life, they wanted to limit our policies regarding deregulation — and we won on every single one of those,”

“So, did we spend more money than we wanted to? Yes. Did we get a lot in return. Yes.”

When asked about Trump’s promises as a presidential candidate to quickly balance the budget, Mulvaney quickly deflected all blame for the deficit towards the Democrats.

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  • President Trump downplays last week’s missile tests by North Korea.
  • He said the missiles were ‘short-range,’ commonly used by many countries, and therefore did not pose a threat to the U.S.
  • President Trump says his working relationship with Chairman Kim Jong Un, remains in good condition and the tests were not carried out in bad faith against the U.S.
  • Trump said the incident would not interfere with U.S. North Korea negotiations.

Looks like North Korea successfully test-fired two short-range missiles in an apparent warning to South Korean military warmongers, according to a photo provided by the North Korean government on July 25, 2019, showing a test of a missile launch in North Korea. (The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified.)

Kim Jong Un supervised a test of a new-type tactical guided weapon that was meant to be a “solemn warning” about South Korean weapons introduction and it’s rival’s plans to hold military exercises with the United States.

“They are short range missiles and my relationship is very good with Chairman Kim and we’ll see what happens. But they are short range missiles, and many people have those missiles”

“He didn’t say a warning to the United States. I can tell you that. he didn’t say a warning to the United States” – President Trump

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Federal prosecutors claim Roger Stone used a “The Godfather Part II” reference to advocate for a witness to lie and motioned to use a clip from the movie as evidence in the trial of the one-time Trump campaign adviser.

“The relevant scene is important context for understanding Stone’s references — including what Stone intended to communicate to the witness and how Stone would have understood the witness’ likely understanding of those messages,” Friday’s motion read.

The evidence will be used to help prove alleged witness tampering “with Person 2” via a text message that read “Start practicing your Pantagele [sic],” according to prosecutors.

“The movie clip makes clear that in his communications with Person 2, Stone used the name ‘Frank Pentangeli’ and the lines spoken by that character to persuade Person 2 to behave as Frank Pentangeli did in the movie, i.e., to falsely tell a congressional committee that he did not have knowledge of incriminating information that could lead to perjury charges,” the motion argued.

“The movie clip shows the jury the image that Stone intended to evoke in Person 2’s mind when he sent those communications. To not show the clip at trial would deprive jurors of significant context for understanding critical messages in this case.”

In “The Godfather Part II,” Pentangeli was to testify about his involvement in organized crime but changed his mind and denied any knowledge of Michael Corleone’s crime family when the mob boss entered the hearing.

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