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~ Featuring ~  
Congress Has No Right to Trump Tax Returns  Justice Department Makes Right Decision
Hans von Spakovsky
  

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Friday Top News Executive Summary
Media Editors:  RETALIATION ABOUT-FACE:  “President Trump approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for downing an American surveillance drone, but pulled back from launching them on Thursday night after a day of escalating tensions.” (The New York Times)
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SAUDI DEAL BLOCKED: “The Senate voted to block President Trump’s Saudi arms deal on Thursday, paving the way for a veto clash with the White House. … The 22 arms sales, estimated to be worth more than $8 billion, would provide weapons to Saudi Arabia, as well as the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. … Neither chamber is expected to be able to muster the two-thirds votes necessary to override all-but-guaranteed vetoes from Trump in response.” (The Hill)
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JUSTICE FOR DOXXED REPUBLICANS: “The former Sheila Jackson Lee staffer who posted the private information of Republican senators during the final hearing for then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been sentenced to four years in prison for his crime.” (The Daily Wire)
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GALLAGHER BOMBSHELL: “U.S. Navy SEAL Corey Scott stated that it was he, not accused Special Warfare Chief Eddie Gallagher, who was responsible for the death of an injured Islamic State fighter in Iraq in 2017. The admission turns the controversial trial of Gallagher, 40, upside down and is likely to lead to a defense motion to acquit him.” (Washington Examiner)
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CHRIS COX SIDELINED: “The National Rifle Association has sidelined its top lobbyist, Chris Cox, after accusing him in court documents of participating in what it called a failed extortion scheme to rid the organization of its top executive,” The Washington Post reports. As its core, this is a contest of titan personalities.
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HEALTH CARE TRANSPARENCY: President Trump plans to issue an executive order Monday to compel the disclosure of prices in health care… The order will direct federal agencies to initiate regulations and guidance that could require insurers, doctors, hospitals and others in the industry to provide information about the negotiated and often discounted cost of care.“ (The Wall Street Journal)
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CALIFORNIA VOTER CLEANUP: "Los Angeles County has started the process of removing from its registration rolls an estimated 1.5 million inactive voters who have moved, died or become ineligible to cast a ballot, an effort to comply with federal election law and a court settlement with Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog. … In addition, California’s top election official has put all 58 of its counties on notice that they must also purge inactive voters from their rosters. … There were an estimated 5 million inactive registrations in the state as of November 2016, the latest figures available.” (RealClearPolitics)
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ROY MOORE DEFIANT: “Failed Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore announced on Thursday that he is running for the same Senate seat in 2020 after accusations of child molestation derailed his campaign in 2017.” (The Daily Wire)
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NEVER BELIEVE GOVERNMENT PROMISES: “Gun advocates in New Zealand are angry over a government plan aimed at buying back now-illegal firearms and magazines that were outlawed after a mass shooting in March that killed dozens of worshipers at two mosques in Christchurch. … [Council of Licensed Firearms Owners spokesperson Nicole] McKee said gun owners are ‘angry and they’re frustrated’ because the government reneged on a promise not ‘to rip us off.’ ‘They said they would pay full value. They’re not, and 250,000 [firearms license holders] are starting to feel ripped off,’ she said.” (NPR)
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POLICY: Is Iran close to collapse? Three things you need to know about the U.S.-Iran showdown (The National Interest)
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POLICY: Medicaid expansion is a failure: Lots of spending, little benefit (Washington Examiner)
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HUMOR: worthless-Ilhan Omar getting excited by all this talk about concentration camps (The Babylon Bee)  
 
~The Patriot Post
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U.S. Holds All the Cards in
the Showdown with Iran
by Victor Davis Hanson
nationalreview.com } ~ In May 2018, the Donald Trump administration withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, popularly known as the Iran nuclear deal... The U.S. then ramped up sanctions on the Iranian theocracy to try to ensure that it stopped nuclear enrichment. The Trump administration also hoped a strapped Iran would become less capable of funding terrorist operations in the Middle East and beyond, proxy wars in the Persian Gulf, and the opportune harassment of ships transiting the Strait of Hormuz. The sanctions are clearly destroying an already weak Iranian economy. Iran is now suffering from negative economic growth, massive unemployment, and record inflation. A desperate Iranian government is using surrogates to send missiles into Saudi Arabia while its forces attack ships in the Gulf of Oman. The Iranian theocrats despise the Trump administration. They yearn for the good old days of the scumbag/liar-nObama administration, when the U.S. agreed to a nuclear deal that all but guaranteed future Iranian nuclear proliferation, ignored Iranian terrorism and sent hundreds of millions of dollars in shakedown payments to the Iranian regime. Iran believed that the scumbag/liar-nObama administration saw it as a valuable Shiite counterweight to Israel and the traditionally American-allied Sunni monarchies in the Gulf region. Tehran assumes that an even more left-wing American administration would also endorse Iran-friendly policies, and so it is fishing for ways to see that happen in 2020 with a commie-Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth dinky-Warren, or loose lips liar-Joe Biden presidency. Desperate Iranian officials have already met secretly with former secretary of state hanoi-John Kerry and openly with Senator Diane Fein-stein, likely to commiserate over Trump’s cancellation of the nuclear deal and to find ways to revive the scumbag/liar-nObama-era agreement after Trump leaves office. To that end, the Iranians wish to disrupt world oil traffic while persuading China, Russia, and the European Union to pressure the U.S. to back off sanctions. Iran hopes to provoke and embarrass its nemesis into overreacting — or not reacting at all. If Trump does nothing, he looks weak to this Jacksonian base of supporters. But do too much, and he appears a neoconservative, globalist nation-builder. Either way, the Iranians think Trump loses...  https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/06/us-iran-showdown-american-po...  
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TRUMP ON POSSIBLE IRAN STRIKE: 
‘YOU’LL SOON FIND OUT’
by Evie Fordham   
dailycaller.com } ~ President Donald Trump told reporters Thursday “you’ll soon find out” whether the U.S. plans to strike Iran after declaring the Middle Eastern country “made a very big mistake”... on Twitter earlier in the day. U.S. officials said an Iranian missile took out a costly, unmanned drone that was flying above international waters Thursday. Iran said the Navy drone was flying over its territory. “The US wages economic terrorism on Iran, has conducted covert action against us and now encroaches on our territory. We don’t seek war, but will zealously defend our skies, land and waters. We’ll take this new aggression to the United Nations and show that the US is lying about international waters,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter Thursday morning. Trump did not rule out talks with the country and said the drone could have been shot down as an accident or miscalculation, reported  CNBC. “I think they made a mistake, and I’m not just talking the country made a mistake. I think that someone under the command of that country made a big mistake,” Trump said.The White House invited members of Congress including House Speaker liar-Nancy Pulosi to a Thursday afternoon briefing on Iran, New York Times reporter Nicholas Fandos said. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck scumbag-Schumer and the chairs and ranking members of House and Senate intelligence and armed services committees are invited. Trump is expected to attend. The Pentagon released video  of the drone’s smoke trail and a map showing the purported location of the drone Thursday...
Medic testifies that he, not Navy SEAL
Eddie Gallagher, was responsible
for ISIS fighter's death
by Greg Norman  
{foxnews.com} ~ A medic testifying in the trial of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher – who is accused of killing an injured ISIS prisoner of war in Iraq...  shocked trial observers when he testified Thursday that he was responsible for the Islamic militant's death, not Gallagher. SEAL Team Seven Medic Corey Scott, during cross-examination in the courtroom at Naval Base San Diego, revealed he killed the fighter by asphyxiation after holding his thumb over a breathing tube that had been inserted into the militant's mouth. He also testified that Gallagher stabbed the fighter, but did not kill him. “Did Chief Gallagher kill this terrorist?” Gallagher's attorney Timothy Parlatore then asked Scott, according to Fox News' Jonathan Hunt. "No," he replied. Gallagher, 40, previously pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder and aggravated assault charges stemming from the alleged killing and other alleged instances of firing sniper rounds at civilians in Iraq in 2017. Gallagher was undergoing a medical screening at Camp Pendleton and was in the process of transitioning to a non-combat advisory role for the Navy SEALs when he was taken into custody in September 2018, his brother Sean said. Gallagher had planned to retire in the spring. Throughout his 19 years of service, Gallagher earned the Bronze Star with V for Valor twice, a Meritorious Unit commendation and a trio of Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, among other recognitions and decorations. He fought in Iraq and Afghanistan several times, reaching the status of what Sean Gallagher described as a “modern-day war hero.”...
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Justice Dept. Allows Congress 
to View Rosenstein Scope Memos
by sundance
theconservativetreehouse.com } ~ Byron York has put down the crustless triangle sandwich and white wine spritzer long enough to finally discover the October 20th, 2017, scope memo written by Rod Rosenstein that authorized Weissman and Mueller to target Michael Flynn Jr... […]  The Justice Department has recently allowed members of some congressional committees to view the scope memos, and out of that has come the news that there was a third scope memo to Mueller. Dated Oct. 20, 2017, its contents remain a secret. But its very existence suggests something was going on behind the scenes in the relationship of Mueller and his supervisors at the Justice Department. York continues… “At the moment, the third scope memo, like most of the second scope memo, remains a secret.“…  Good grief, seriously? Funny how AG Barr is now letting congress look at the scope memos, meanwhile -despite the authorization to release provided by President Trump- the public is blocked from them. I digress. The October 20th, 2017, Rosenstein scope memo was specifically so that Weissmann and Mueller could target specific people for maximum political damage; including the targeting of Michael Flynn Jr. to generate leverage so that Flynn Sr. would have to accept a plea or see his family crushed under the weight of the weaponized special counsel...  https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/06/20/justice-dept-allows... 
Why Are There So Many Homeless
 in Los Angeles?
by Roger L. Simon
pjmedia.com } ~ I left Los Angeles for Nashville slightly over a year ago. When I call friends back in my former home for 50 years, most of them tell me I got out just in time... Actually, they're wrong. I should have gotten out ten or even fifteen years before. The handwriting was on the wall. "California dreamin'," pace Mama Cass, "was no longer a ray-al-it-tee." It hasn't been for a long time. Now everybody knows about the 36,000 homeless on the streets of LA, over 60,000 in the county, replete with human feces and syringes littering the sidewalks, along with rats, typhus and even rumors of bubonic plague. And those figures are what we're told. No one, if you can trust the comments sections in the LA Times  or the Next Door app for my old Hollywood neighborhood, remotely believes them. They could be three or four times the number. And how do you take a census of the homeless anyway? They are inherently nomadic. But everyone knows they are everywhere, along those sidewalks, under the freeway underpasses, even in the brush up by Mulholland Drive. Maybe they should add homeless encampments to the Disneyland Mulholland ride.But why has this happened in a place that is so rich it is the fifth biggest economy in the world by itself, ahead of the United Kingdom and just behind Germany? Can't they just throw money at the homeless and make them go away? Not so easy. It's been tried, at least to some extent. Shelters, some of them well built, have been constructed all over the city but the homeless don't want to stay in them. The reason is these shelters are drug-free zones and the homeless of LA and San Francisco and Seattle are anything but drug-free. Most are addicts. They prefer to live in tents where they can smoke what they want, shoot what they want, pop what they want. So homeless encampments keep growing and sprout up everywhere as the syringes pile up...
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Congress Has No Right to Trump Tax Returns — Justice Department Makes Right Decision

Hans von Spakovsky
 

President Trump won a victory Friday when the Justice Department said Congress does not have the right to see his tax returns. More importantly, all American taxpayers won a victory, because the Justice Department memo regarding Trump’s returns has the effect of upholding the privacy and confidentially of all our tax returns as well.

If Congress is allowed to examine the president’s tax returns, the next step will be demands by lawmakers to examine the tax returns of others — political activists and opponents, members of unpopular groups, religious minorities, and who knows who else.

And if you think this isn’t possible, just think back to the FBI under Director J. Edgar Hoover and the files he kept on many Americans he considered to be dangerous subversives — including civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King.

Even if you can’t stand President Trump and think he should be impeached, remember that giving government the power to act against someone you oppose also gives government the power to act against someone you support — or perhaps even against you personally.

Importantly, the provision of the tax code that Democrats are seeking to use to get Trump’s tax returns could also be used to get the tax returns of other Americans as well, should Trump lose his fight to keep his tax returns confidential.

The 33-page opinion protecting the confidentially of tax returns was written by Assistant Attorney General Steven A. Engel, who heads the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department. It is based on an appropriate reading of the law.

The Office of Legal Counsel is the office within Justice that provides legal advice to the president and all executive agencies, including on the proper interpretation of laws and the Constitution.

To no one’s surprise, Democrats are attacking the Justice Department memo as a political document designed to protect President Trump. Yet in fact, the reason Democrats want to see the Trump tax returns is blatantly political. They want to use the information in the returns in possible impeachment proceedings against the president and to campaign against Trump’s re-election.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., who has led the fight by House Democrats to get six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns, has indicated Democrats will file a lawsuit seeking access to the tax returns.

The Justice Department opinion concludes that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was legally justified in refusing to turn over the Trump tax returns that Neal’s committee asked for.

As I have explained previously, the Justice Department opinion should come as no surprise, given the privacy protections contained in federal law ensuring the confidentiality of tax returns and the invalid reasons given by Neal for demanding the returns.

The opinion reviews the relevant federal statute, 26 U.S.C. § 6103, which prohibits federal officials from disclosing tax returns.

There is an exception in the law that says the Treasury Department secretary shall provide tax return information upon “written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means.” No reason has to be given for the request.

However, the Justice Department opinion released Friday points out, Congress cannot “constitutionally confer upon the Committee the right to compel the Executive Branch to disclose confidential information without a legitimate legislative purpose.” The opinion cites numerous court decisions, including by the Supreme Court, that have made this clear.

The opinion goes into great detail examining the background behind the demand for the president’s tax returns. After reviewing that history, the Office of Legal Counsel says that Secretary Mnuchin “reasonably and correctly concluded that the Committee’s asserted interest in reviewing the Internal Revenue Service’s audits of presidential returns was pretextual and that its true aim was to make the President’s tax returns public, which is not a legitimate legislative purpose.”

Rep. Neal claimed that the reason for the demand to see the Trump tax returns was to examine the “extent to which the IRS audits and enforces the Federal tax laws against a President.”

But if that was the case, asked the Office of Legal Counsel, why did Neal ask for Trump’s tax returns “for many years before his presidency.”

Furthermore, the Office of Legal Counsel noted that Neal did not ask for “any information concerning the IRS’s actual policies or practices governing presidential audits or the audit histories for any President other than President Trump.”

Based on these “discrepancies in the public record,” it was obvious that Neal had “not articulated the real reason for his request,” the Justice Department opinion found.

The opinion concluded that this is especially true given that Neal’s demand represented “the culmination of a sustained effort over more than two years to seek the public release of President Trump’s tax returns” by Neal and numerous other Democrats in the House of Representatives, including Speaker liar-Nancy Pulosi, D-Calif.

The opinion summed up the “sustained effort” by pointing out that Neal and other members of Congress made “clear their intent to acquire and release the President’s tax returns” throughout 2017 and 2018.

Referring to Democrats, the opinion states: “They offered many different justifications for such an action, suggesting that releasing the returns would ‘honor tradition,’ show ‘what the Russians have on Donald Trump,’ reveal a potential ‘Chinese connection,’ inform tax reform legislation, provide the ‘clearest picture of his financial health,’ and expose any alleged emoluments received by the president from foreign governments.

But alleged "oversight” of the IRS audit process of the tax returns of presidents “had never been the focus of their demands” until Neal’s letter to the Treasury Department in April, according to the memo from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

Clearly, the effort by Democrats to get President Trump’s tax returns is not over. We can now expect a long and expensive legal battle — financed by your tax dollars — as Democrats continue their singular focus on investigation of the president instead of legislation to improve the lives of the American people and strengthen our nation.  ~The Patriot Post

https://patriotpost.us/opinion/63705?mailing_id=4340&utm_medium...  

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ALERT ALERT

Judicial Watch->  Emails Show Dossier-Connected Obama State Dept Officials Set ‘Face-To-Face’ Meeting On ‘Russian Matter’ Shortly Before 2016 Election

Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday released 84 pages of documents showing Obama’s State Department was central to pushing the ‘Trump-Russia’ hoax shortly before the 2016 election.

The email exchange between then-Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Special Coordinator for Libya Jonathan Winer, a very close associate to Christopher Steele, show them discussing a ‘face-to-face’ meeting in New York on a ‘Russian matter’ in September of 2016.

Via Judicial Watch:

Judicial Watch and The Daily Caller News Foundation today released 84 pages of documents, including a September 2016 email exchange between then-Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Special Coordinator for Libya Jonathan Winer, a close associate of dossier author Christopher Steele, discussing a “face-to-face” meeting on a “Russian matter.”

(In June 2016 Nuland permitted a meeting between Steele and the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome. Nuland told CBS News that the State Department knew about the Steele dossier by July 2016.)

According to an op-ed Winer wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, also in September 2016, “Steele and I met in Washington and discussed the information now known as the “dossier… I prepared a two-page summary and shared it with Nuland, who indicated that, like me, she felt that the secretary of state needed to be made aware of this material.”

A September 17, 2016, email exchange between Nuland and Winer – that was classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy – discusses the political situation in Libya, but also brings up a “Russian matter:”

From: Winer, Jonathan
Sent: September 17, 2016 at 12:40:00 PM EDT
To: Nuland, Victoria J
Subject: Re: Libya Update

Would like to discuss this and a Russian matter.

From: Nuland, Victoria J
Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2016 1:31 PM
To: Winer, Jonathan
Subject: Re. Libya Update

In ny face to face?

From: Winer, Jonathan
Sent: September 17, 2016 at 1:56:05 PM EDT
To: Nuland, Victoria J
Subject: Re: Libya Update

Yes that was [sic] be good.

From: Nuland, Victoria J
Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2016 1:58 PM
To: Winer, Jonathan
Subject: Re. Libya Update

Good. I’ll reach out when im there Sunday. [Redacted]

If Victoria Nuland’s name sounds familiar it’s because she has been on Judicial Watch’s radar for a long time and in many of TGP’s previous reports.

In December 2018, Judicial Watch released documents revealing that Victoria Nuland was involved in the Obama State Department’s urgent gathering of classified Russia investigation information and disseminating it to members of Congress within hours of Donald Trump taking office.

In a related lawsuit, Judicial Watch is suing the State Department communications between Ambassador Nuland and employees of Fusion GPS, as well as top ranking Department of Justice, FBI, and State Department officials.

“The Obama State Department was central to the effort to target President Trump with the Russia smear,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These new emails further show that senior Obama State Department advanced the Russiagate hoax just before the 2016 presidential election.”

Tom Fitton   @TomFitton
 

BREAKING: Obama State Department was central to the effort to target President @RealDonaldTrump with the Russia smear. New emails show how senior Obama State Department advanced the Russiagate hoax just before the 2016 presidential election.

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