“If duties are too high, they lessen the consumption; the collection is eluded; and the product to the treasury is not so great as when they are confined within proper and moderate bounds.” —Alexander Hamilton (1787)
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- Trump loses tax battle with New York, leaves state.
- Democrats build narrative with released testimony.
- Daily Features: More Analysis, Columnists, Headlines, Opinion in Brief, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
Donald Trump’s tax returns have long been a point of contention between him and those who are bent on taking him out. To be sure, he probably has some taxing questions he’d rather not publicly answer, which is why he reneged on his campaign promise to follow the traditional practice of presidential candidates by releasing them. But he also has every right to keep those returns concealed. Except that’s not what another court has ruled.
“The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that President Trump’s accounting firm must hand over eight years of corporate tax returns to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, upholding a subpoena for the documents submitted by the D.A. earlier this year,” reports National Review. Trump plans to petition the U.S. Supreme Court, but NBC News notes, “Past Supreme Court rulings have upheld subpoenas directed at presidents, and this time the local prosecutors are seeking documents from the Trump Organization and Trump’s accountants — not directly from the president himself.”
We’ve warned about the danger Trump faces in New York, because what prosecutors are looking for is evidence that Trump violated campaign-finance law related to his (alleged) affairs and hush-money payoffs to Playboy model Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, was sentenced to three years in prison for violating campaign-finance law with payments made to Daniels. The government of New York has politically targeted Trump, but he provided the opening.
Speaking of taxes and New York, the president announced last week that he’s leaving the Empire State to make his permanent residence in the Sunshine State instead. Florida has no income tax, compared to New York’s onerous high taxes. And, Trump noted, “Despite the fact that I pay millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes each year, I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state. Few have been treated worse. I hated having to make this decision, but in the end it will be best for all concerned.”
He’s not alone. New York loses more people each year than any other state, and its high taxes are the primary reason. According to a Bloomberg story in August, “New York leads all U.S. metro areas as the largest net loser with 277 people moving every day — more than double the exodus of 132 just one year ago.” Trump is right that few have been treated worse than he has, but that doesn’t mean New York treats anyone all that well. When a dollar goes so much further in Florida, why wouldn’t a New Yorker move?
On Monday, House Democrats, led by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, released two transcripts from their closed-door impeachment hearings. The transcripts were from testimonies given by the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Maria Yovanovitch, and the former top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Michael McKinley.
Neither of the witnesses had direct knowledge of the July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which was the alleged impetus behind the “whistleblower” complaint. However, Democrats allege that Trump removed Yovanovitch in May 2019 because she was proving to be an obstacle to Rudy Giuliani’s investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden and Ukraine’s involvement in 2016 election interference.
Interestingly, Yovanovitch asserted, “It’s not like we had a policy that Ukraine should not become involved in our domestic politics or, you know, somehow become involved in 2020 elections, but clearly that is not in U.S. interests for Ukraine to start playing such a role.” This statement seems to effectively undercut the Democrats’ whole argument for claiming that Trump engaged in an impeachable offense. In other words, he had a legitimate interest in fighting Ukrainian corruption.
McKinley’s testimony was primarily focused on his frustration over Yovanovitch’s treatment and eventual removal. He was troubled by Pompeo’s refusal to push back against Donald Trump Jr.‘s negative comments against Yovanovitch and by Pompeo’s unwillingness to allow the State Department to issue statements in support of the ambassador. “In 37 years in the Foreign Service and different parts of the globe and working on many controversial issues, working 10 years back in Washington, I had never seen that,” McKinley stated regarding Ukrainian officials expressing concerns over Giuliani’s investigation into the 2016 election.
Cleary, Democrats are still trying to control the anti-Trump narrative as they selectively release these transcripts rather than releasing the entirety at once. Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan blasted Schiff and company for their obvious politicization, lamenting, “Democrats cherry-pick which transcripts they release and when. Why not release Ambassador Volker’s testimony? He was the very first witness to testify.” Schiff plans to release two more transcripts today.
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ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY
- Featured Analysis: Military Readiness Isn’t What It Should Be — A Heritage Foundation study reveals the U.S. is only “marginally able” to defend its interests.
- Time to Break Up With Turkey — Our “ally” has become far more problematic than helpful. New policy would help.
- A Partisan Abuse of Power — Alan Dershowitz warns that the current impeachment effort is exactly what our founders like Alexander Hamilton feared most.
- American Spirit: Nurse Adopts Autistic Man So He Can Have Heart Transplant — “I had to help him. It was a no-brainer… He would have died without the transplant.”
- Video: Facebook Saves Journalism and Truthiness? — Its news tab will supposedly provide a reliable place for Americans to find accurate reporting.
- Video: A Tale of Men and Masculinity — Lives were lost in a California bar, but lives were also saved. Who saved them? How?
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
HORRIFIC: Mexican cartel massacre: Nine Americans, including six children, from Mormon offshoot murdered (Fox News)
AT LONG LAST: U.S. begins formal withdrawal from Paris climate agreement (National Review)
IT BEGINS: Elections in four states offer tests of 2020 voter enthusiasm (Associated Press)
UKRAINE PROSECUTOR FIRED: Ukraine to fire Kostiantyn Kulyk, the prosecutor at center of Biden gas-company controversy (National Review)
MAGA: Washington Nationals’ Kurt Suzuki, Ryan Zimmerman show support for Trump during World Series White House visit (The Daily Caller)
TRADE NEGOTIATIONS: China presses Trump for more tariff rollbacks in “phase one” trade deal (Reuters)
BULL MARKET: Dow hits record as stock-market rally extends into fifth week (Associated Press)
POLICY: The real reason for the Iran hostage crisis, 40 years later (Washington Examiner)
POLICY: Government’s dictatorial powers under Warren’s “Medicare for All” should scare you (Issues & Insights)
SATIRE: “Due process” explained, and how it is used to promote rape culture and toxic masculinity (NPC Daily)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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OPINION IN BRIEF
Dennis Prager: “When you cannot agree on what is real, there is no possible bridging of the gulf. The left believes the president colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. The reality is that there was no collusion. This is the conclusion of the Mueller report, but still, the left doesn’t accept it. The left is certain President Trump said the neo-Nazis are ‘very fine people’ when referring to the protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. The right is certain the president didn’t say there are good neo-Nazis any more than he said there are good ‘antifa’ members. When he said there were ‘very fine people on both sides,’ he was referring to those demonstrating on behalf of keeping Confederate statues and those opposed. … The left believes socialism is economically superior to capitalism. But the reality is that only capitalism has lifted billions of people out of poverty. This is, therefore, not an opinion divide — ‘You prefer capitalism. I prefer socialism’ — but a reality divide. The reason this is so frightening is that it means one side has lost its grip on reality. If half of this country cannot distinguish truth from falsehood, that is not a good sign for the nation’s future. On that point, ironically, left and right can agree.”
Insight: “To decide against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let man label you as they may. If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country — hold up your head! You have nothing to be ashamed of.” —Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Good question: “Democrats cherry pick which transcripts they release and when. Why not release Ambassador Volker’s testimony? He was the very first witness to testify!” —Rep. Jim Jordan
Political futures: “Beto’s rise and fall is clear evidence that the Democratic primaries are at least 2/3 a media primary. Beto was created by the same media that tore him down in favor of their new creation, Elizabeth Warren. Should she lose their favor, she’s toast too.” —Ben Shapiro
Braying jenny: “Barack’s presidential library could have been anywhere in the world because there are so many people who feel like he is their president all over the world.” —Michelle Obama
Braying jackass: “The president played host to the World Series champion Washington Nationals. It was a little bit confusing. He was under the impression he was hosting white nationalists, not the Nationals.” —Jimmy Kimmel
Grand delusions: “Because we are getting rid of the profiteering and the corruption in the healthcare industry, the drug companies and the insurance companies will be able to provide all of that to people at a fraction of the cost they are paying right now. I’m not here to tell you it’s gonna be free — you’re gonna have to pay something — but it’s gonna be a heck of a lot less than what you currently pay.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders
The BIG Lie: “You might make the argument, ‘Yes, there could be better forest fire management,’ but I think they’re doing a fairly good job. But these fires were in a sense almost urban fires that were happening because of climate change. Since 1970 we’ve seen the average wildfire season in the west extend by over 100 days. On average, we’re seeing six times the acreage burned every year since 1970.” —Al Roker
And last… “You know you’re a liberal when you’re more outraged by Sean Spicer on DWTS & Kurt Suzuki wearing a MAGA hat… than by the 1M babies aborted in the U.S. every year.” —Liz Wheeler
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