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Elizabeth Warren: Donald Trump Is ‘Too Chicken’ To Release His Tax Return

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With less than eight weeks to go before the elections, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called Donald Trump “chicken” on Thursday as Democrats ramped up the battle over the Republican nominee’s refusal to release his tax returns. Warren assailed Trump after Senate Democrats tried to force a vote on legislation that would require all presidential nominees for a major political party to disclose their tax returns. 

“Donald Trump makes a big show of strutting around pretending to be tough, but he’s too chicken to show his tax returns to the American people,” Warren said on the Senate floor. “He’s had a million excuses, but we all know why Donald Trump isn’t releasing his taxes: He’s hiding something.”

Trump often cites an IRS audit as the reason he will not make his tax returns public, though he admits he could “immediately” release them if he felt like it. On Wednesday, Donald Trump Jr. said his father can’t release his tax returns because they would raise too many questions that would take away from the campaign’s message.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have made their tax returns available dating back to 1977.

Warren wondered aloud how Trump’s tax returns could be any worse than the Republican nominee’s repeated praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Donald Trump praises brutal dictators and murderers,” Warren said. “He threatens our allies, he denigrates democracy right here at home. So what is so bad that Donald Trump has to hide it? Would his tax returns show how deeply Donald Trump’s personal financial interests run counter to the national interests of the United States of America?”

Warren’s speech came moments after Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) tried to bring his bill ― the Presidential Tax Transparency Act, which mandates candidates disclose at least three years of their tax returns ― up for a vote.

“Since Watergate, there has been a bipartisan tradition honored by all candidates that they would release their tax returns,” Wyden said on the floor. “Every Democrat, every Republican, every liberal, every conservative has subscribed to honoring this particular tradition.”

The tradition Wyden referred to dates back to 1973, when the IRS audited President Richard Nixon over questionable donations and a belief that he had cheated the tax system. Though Nixon didn’t release his returns until after he was re-elected, every Republican nominee since President Ronald Reagan in 1980 has voluntarily done so. 

He’s had a million excuses, but we all know why Donald Trump isn’t releasing his taxes: He’s hiding something.Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

As lawmakers headed for the exits after four days of minimal work, Wyden asked for unanimous consent that his legislation be considered by the upper chamber, allowing it to bypass the committee process. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) objected.

“If my friend from Oregon wants to discuss transparency and bring the presidential election here to the floor of the United States Senate, I think the person we should start with is the former secretary of state,” Cornyn said, referring to Clinton’s private email sever.

Cornyn then offered to speed up consideration of of his legislation ― one that would revoke the security clearance of anyone found to be careless in handling classified information ― alongside Wyden’s bill.

Wyden shot it down. “[Cornyn’s] attempt to hide the dishonoring of a tradition of openness and accountability behind a political witch hunt ought to tell Americans all they need to know about Senate Republicans,” he said.

“Once you break from the tradition, it will be hard to get it back,” Wyden told reporters Thursday after trying to force the vote.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) joined Wyden at a press conference after the Democrats’ failed attempt and questioned Trump’s motives for his presidential run. 

“Are you running to protect our national security interests or are you running to protect your family’s financial interest? And we can’t know the answer to that question without these tax returns,” Murphy said. “Trump’s son has been very clear that the family has massive financial interests in Russia. He’s said it.”

In 2008, Trump Jr. reportedly said, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” according to trade publication eTurboNews.

“It would be embarrassing to find out that Donald Trump didn’t pay any taxes,” Murphy added. 

It’s unlikely Republican leaders will allow Wyden’s measure to come up. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said Trump should release his tax returns, but doesn’t think there should be a bill forcing such disclosure.

Democrats won’t have many more chances to force a vote on the bill. Congress is set to leave for a break in October ahead of the elections.

Still, Wyden said he would continue to push for a vote and talk to his Republican colleagues about signing onto his bill, especially those who have been critical of Trump.

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Trump says Putin has been a leader 'far more than our president has'

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Trump didn't back down from his glowing comments on Putin, saying that if someone says "great things" about him, he'll return the favor.

"He is really very much of a leader," Trump said of Putin. "You can say, 'Oh, isn't that a terrible thing,' I mean, the man has very strong control over his country. Now, it's a very different system, and I don't happen to like the system, but certainly in that system he's been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader."

"We have a divided country," Trump concluded.

Putin has said that Trump is "very talented," and Trump in turn said it was a "great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond."

Trump has repeatedly said that if he wins the presidency in November, he'd like to strengthen ties with Russia and work with Putin to defeat the terrorist group ISIS.

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Trump Campaign Assumed Indian-American Supporter Was A Protester, Tossed Him Out Of Rally

Trump Supporter.

After getting thrown out of a Donald Trump rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, a young Trump supporter of Indian descent says he won’t vote for the GOP nominee. Local college student Jake Anantha, 18, told the Charlotte Observer that a staff member tasked with security said they recognized him as a frequent protester and escorted him out of the convention hall shortly before the rally began.

Anantha, who was wearing a Trump T-shirt and had stationed himself behind the stage in the Charlotte Convention Center, protested ― to no avail ― that he supported the GOP presidential nominee.

Security also ejected Rose Hamid, an observant Muslim distributing flowers at the rally in an effort to change perceptions of Muslims. Hamid, a flight attendant who lives in Charlotte, drew national attention in January when she stood up in silent protest at a Trump rally in South Carolina and was promptly expelled, drawing cheers from the crowd.

Anantha said he felt singled out for the color of his skin, since he saw throngs of white people being allowed to enter after he was ejected.

“I thought (Trump) was for all people. I don’t believe he is for all people anymore,” he told the Observer. “Why are all these white people allowed to attend and I’m not?”

Trump’s staff is legally permitted to control who comes into his rallies since they are private events typically held in private venues.

Anantha, whose grandparents immigrated to the United States from India, recalled defending Trump to critics, claiming the candidate’s offensive rhetoric was an appropriate way to express frustration with unauthorized immigration and jihadism.

Now Anantha may cast the first presidential vote of his life for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson.

Clinton currently leads Trump by nearly 4 percentage points in North Carolina, according to HuffPost Pollster. The state voted for GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 and with 15 electoral votes, it is considered a must-win for Trump.

During the primary, the real estate mogul became known for goading the crowds at his events against protesters, many of whom were people of color ― including by musing about beating them up. In several instances, rally attendees physically attacked demonstrators. At least one event in Chicago infiltrated by liberal demonstrators descended into an all-out violent brawl between pro-Trump and anti-Trump activists.

Trump’s openly racist rhetoric has ensured that he enjoys record low support for a Republican candidate among communities of color. Among African Americans, he is trailing not only Clinton, but Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Johnson. Only 1 percent of African Americans plan to vote for him, according to HuffPost Pollster. 

A Trump spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

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North Carolina Governor Is Ready To Take Voter ID Fight To The Supreme Court

One of the states with the most restrictive voting rules in the nation will ask the Supreme Court to step in and let it enforce them in time for the presidential election. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) said on Friday he’s ready to ask the justices to block an appeals court ruling issued last week that said the state’s omnibus voting law targeted blacks “with almost surgical precision.”

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Governor  Pat McCrory

“Changing our state’s election laws close to the upcoming election, including common sense voter ID, will create confusion for voters and poll workers,” McCrory said in a statement, adding that he expects to file an emergency petition with the Supreme Court “by early next week.”

On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit refused to put on hold its earlier ruling, which made waves for decreeing that the state’s legislature had passed “the most restrictive voting law North Carolina has seen since the era of Jim Crow” ― and found that lawmakers acted with the intent to disenfranchise African-American voters.

To remedy those violations, the court enjoined the law in full, ordering the restoration of early voting, out-of-precinct voting and same-day registration, as well as non-enforcement of the voter ID provision. In response, the state reassured the appeals court that it had the means to comply with the ruling ahead of the election.

“Because of these assurances, we are confident that North Carolina can conduct the 2016 election in compliance with our injunction,” the appeals courtsaid in its follow-up order on Thursday.

But McCrory didn’t seem convinced, insisting that allowing last week’s ruling to take effect does a disservice to North Carolina.

“The court should have stayed their ruling, which is legally flawed, factually wrong, and disparaging to our state,” he said in his statement.

It is unlikely that McCrory will fare much better at the Supreme Court. Under its rules, he would need to convince five justices that he has a strong enough case to merit an order allowing North Carolina to once again enforce its multiple voting restrictions.

As the 4th Circuit explained on Thursday, the justices themselves may be reluctant to intervene given the conflict contrary orders may cause for poll workers and voters so close to the election.

“Court orders affecting elections, especially conflicting orders, can themselves result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls,” the court said, quoting from a 2006 Supreme Court case. “As an election draws closer, that risk will increase.”

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I was Capt. Khan’s commander in Iraq. The Khan family is our family.

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The writer is a retired U.S. Army major general.

I am a former soldier who served our nation in uniform for more than 34 years. I was also Capt. Humayun Khan’s combat brigade commander in Diyala province, Iraq, in 2004. I came to know Humayun after taking command of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, in Germany in 2002. The motto of our unit was “No mission too difficult. No sacrifice too great. Duty First!” Humayun was a wonderful person, liked and respected by all who knew him. I used to joke with him about the tank platoon he once led, which I had led 20 years earlier. I often told him that we were kindred spirits. I remember clearly the day he died.

Both Republicans and Democrats are publicly responding to the row between GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and Khizr Khan. Khan's son was killed while serving in Iraq. Here's what politicians from both parties said. (Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

Humayun was a great officer. The 201st Forward Support Battalion, Humayun’s unit, was the most motivated and combat-oriented logistics unit I had ever seen. It supported our 4,000-person brigade, protected wheeled convoys and was responsible for guarding the gates at our large forward operating base: Camp Warhorse.

We employed more than 1,000 Iraqi citizens at Camp Warhorse. We were slowly making progress in the province, the economy and security was improving, and the insurgents were losing steam. Security at Camp Warhorse was extremely tight. Unfortunately, we had killed or wounded several innocent Iraqi drivers at our gates over the previous month for failing to heed our warning signs and our gate guards’ instructions. Each of these incidents potentially hurt our relationship with local Iraqis. Humayun had fostered a warm relationship with our local workforce, and he and his unit were determined to break the cycle of violence by reducing or eliminating unnecessary deaths and injuries at our gates.

On the morning of June 8, 2004, the gate guards alerted Humayun to an orange-and-white taxi cab slowly moving through our serpentine barriers during the “rush hour” of Iraqi day workers coming onto camp. Humayun probably moved toward the suspicious vehicle to avoid killing the driver unnecessarily, but at some point, he concluded that something was wrong and ordered his men to hit the dirt. The driver detonated his car bomb, killing Humayun and two Iraqi citizens. Humayun died trying to save the lives of innocent Iraqis. His brave effort to approach the vehicle probably saved American lives as well.

I raced to the gate upon hearing the huge explosion. It was an awful scene. Battalion commander Lt. Col. Dan Mitchell and his soldiers had resecured the destroyed gate, but we lost more than a gate, we lost a member of our team — of our family. Humayun’s death caused sadness throughout our entire brigade combat team. There were three different memorial services for him — one with our soldiers at Camp Warhorse, a second with our rear detachment and family members at our home base in Vilseck, Germany, and a third with the Khan family in United States. We named the 201st Battalion headquarters building on Camp Warhorse the Khan Building in his honor.

Humayun was one of 36 men and one woman in our brigade who died during our year in Iraq. Our fallen comrades were of all races, religions and genders. They represented sacrifice, service, duty and the essence of what makes our country great. And, yes, it is a great country right now. Despite our flaws, the United States remains a beacon of hope around the world.

Blue Star families are those with a member deployed to combat in the service of our country. Gold Star families are families that have lost a loved one in a combat zone. In our military culture, we hold Blue Star families in the highest regard. But we have absolute reverence for our Gold Star families.

I join all those who stand in support of the Khan family. This family is our family, and any attack on this wonderful American Gold Star family is an attack on all patriotic and loyal Americans who have sacrificed to make our country great. Any politically or racially motivated attack on the Khans is despicable and un-American.

I am no politician. I have stayed away from politics my entire adult life. My family has been Republican ever since my maternal grandparents migrated from Jim Crow South Carolina to Philadelphia in the late 1920s. My grandmother voted for Herbert Hoover in 1928. Though I am a Republican, I have voted my conscience — for both Democrats and Republicans — for the past 32 years. I’m going to vote my conscience again this year.

We live in a dangerous and complex world. We need leaders who are steady, patient and empathetic, especially at the national level, during this troubled time. We need somebody who has respect for our Gold Star families.

But, above all, our country needs more men and women like Humayun Khan and the countless others who willingly and humbly served this great nation of ours without reservation or recognition.

“Duty First!”

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