No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites
Supreme Court Denies Trump’s Final Bid to Block Release of Tax Returns
The former president’s accountants will give New York prosecutors the financial records he has spent years trying to shield.

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a last-ditch attempt by former President Donald J. Trump to shield his financial records, issuing a brief, unsigned order that ended Mr. Trump’s bitter 18-month battle to stop prosecutors in Manhattan from poring over his tax returns as they investigate possible financial crimes.

The court’s order was a decisive defeat for Mr. Trump, who had gone to extraordinary lengths to keep his tax returns and related documents secret, taking his case to the Supreme Court twice. There were no dissents noted.

From the start, Mr. Trump’s battle to keep his returns under wraps had tested the scope and limits of presidential power. Last summer, the justices rejected Mr. Trump’s argument that state prosecutors cannot investigate a sitting president, ruling that no citizen was above “the common duty to produce evidence.” This time, the court denied Mr. Trump’s emergency request to block a subpoena for his records, effectively ending the case.

The ruling is also a big victory for the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Democrat. He will now have access to eight years’ worth of Mr. Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, as well as other financial records that Mr. Vance’s investigators view as vital to their inquiry into whether the former president and his company manipulated property values to obtain bank loans and tax benefits.

“The work continues,” Mr. Vance said in a statement.

In his own lengthy statement, Mr. Trump lashed out at the Supreme Court’s decision and the investigation. He characterized the inquiry as a politically motivated attack by New York Democrats, calling it “a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of our Country.” He also falsely asserted, again, that he had won the 2020 election.

... The court’s order will not put Mr. Trump’s tax returns in the hands of Congress or make them automatically public. Grand jury secrecy laws will keep the records private unless Mr. Vance’s office files charges and enters the documents into evidence at a trial.

... As a candidate in 2016, Mr. Trump promised to disclose his tax returns, but he never did, breaking with White House tradition. Instead, he fought hard to shield the returns from scrutiny, for reasons that have been the subject of much speculation.

Trump plans to use his CPAC speech as a 'show of force' to exert control over the GOP, report says
  • Trump plans on using his CPAC speech to show the control he still has over the GOP, Axios reported.
  • The February 28 speech will be his first public address since his presidency ended.
  • Trump plans on supporting Republicans he likes and punishing those who crossed him, Axios said.
One of his longtime advisors told Axios' Mike Allen that his speech will be a "show of force," and intended to show that he still rules over the GOP, even though he is no longer president and has been barred from major social media platforms.

The advisor said that his message will be: "I may not have Twitter or the Oval Office, but I'm still in charge."

Trump allies told Axios that he wants to project the image that he will be the GOP's "presumptive 2024 nominee" because they believe he is popular with the party's base.

That being said, many of Trump's allies don't actually believe he will run for office again, per Axios — though Trump thinks that his suggesting as such could give him extra power and influence.

Ted Cruz stayed at this luxury 5-star hotel during his trip to Cancun
  • Sen. Ted Cruz visited a Ritz-Carlton hotel amid the Texas storm last week.
  • The five-star resort has 9 dining options and a panoramic ocean-front view.
  • Amid backlash, Cruz stayed at the hotel for one night before returning home.
Last week, Texas Senator Ted Cruz left behind frigid Texas temperatures to visit the luxurious Ritz-Carlton in Cancun.

Cruz's decision to fly to Cancun, while millions of Texas residents battled severe winter storms, power outages, and water shortages, sparked intense backlash.

The senator also invited several people outside of the family to the hotel, which the Cruz family has reportedly visited "many times" in the past, according to leaked text messages from the senator's wife, Heidi Cruz.

Here's what you need to know about the luxury Cancun resort Cruz frequents:
  • Accommodations at the five-star luxury hotel start at over $300
  • The hotel has over nine dining options
  • The resort has one of the top spas in Cancun
... Cruz cut his stay at the Ritz-Carlton short after a picture of the senator at the airport went viral.

He decided to only stay at the hotel for one night after multiple state residents expressed outrage at his decision to leave Texas in the middle of a deep freeze that left many Texans without electricity, heat, or fresh water.

... Upon his return, Cruz was seen helping serve meals to first responders — a move that defied CDC guidelines, requiring individuals to quarantine for at least a week after traveling.

The judge who blocked Trump's first travel ban said he received 40,000 threatening messages, forcing US Marshals to guard his home
  • After taking office in 2017, Trump sought to limit immigration from six Muslim-majority countries.
  • US District Judge James Robart temporarily blocked the executive order, citing "irreparable injury."
  • Robart told "60 Minutes" he received 40,000 threatening messages after his decision.
Just one week after his inauguration in January 2017, former President Donald Trump signed an executive order limiting the number of incoming immigrants from six majority-Muslim countries. One week later, senior US District Judge James Robart temporarily blocked the order, citing that Trump "demonstrate[d] immediate and irreparable injury."

After learning about Robart's decision, Trump immediately wrote a scathing series of tweets that denigrated the federal judge.

"The opinion of this so-called judge," Trump said, "which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!"

In a recent episode of "60 Minutes," Robart told CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker he's since faced tremendous backlash and threats stemming from his court order and Trump's tweets.

"When you call someone a so-called judge, what you do is you attack the judiciary," Robart told CBS News. "You may not even have wanted to convey that message, but that's the message which your 40 million Twitter followers took down, which was you were never authorized to issue this decision."

Since Trump's inflammatory online reaction to Robart's decision, the judge said he received 40,000 threatening messages, 1,100 of which were serious enough to warrant investigation. In an effort to keep Robart safe amidst the death threats, he said that US Marshals also set up camp around his home in Washington.

In addition to calling Robart a "so-called judge," Trump also ensured in a separate tweet that any anti-immigrant backlash was directed at the judge.

"Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril," Trump said. "If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!" Robart said that while he believes the president had the right to be angry about his ruling, he said he thinks Trump's personal attacks crossed a line.

"I thought he had a right to attack my decision. I don't think that criticizing a judge is acceptable. I recognize there's a dispute on that. There is no dispute at the point that you start to talk about 'I'm going to kill you' or 'I'm going to hurt you,' or more importantly to me, 'I'm going to hurt your family.' That's over the line and can't be tolerated."

Federal investigators looked into the many threats Robart received and uncovered a grim reality: thousands of the messages did not come from Americans — they originated in Russia.

Suzanne Spaulding, the senior adviser for the Homeland Security and director of the Defending Democratic Institutions project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told 60 Minutes the threats are a part of a long game by Russia to fracture the stability of the federal systems in the US.

"If Putin can undermine a significant segment of the population's willingness to accept a court's decision," Spaulding said, "then he can cause chaos in this country."

In Pennsylvania — an important swing state — thousands have quit the GOP since the US Capitol riot
  • Almost 19,000 people have quit the Pennsylvania GOP this year, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
  • Nearly twice as many Republicans have become Democrats as compared to vice versa.
  • That is a marked shift from previous years.
Of the 30,000 Pennsylvanians who have changed their party registration, nearly two-thirds — 19,000 — have been Republicans. Most have elected to become independents, but nearly 29% of party changes been members of the GOP switching their affiliation to Democrat, a reversal from the years 2008 to 2020. By contrast, just 14.5% of registration changes have been Democrats switching over to the Republican Party.

"Many Republicans are aggrieved and embarrassed by the angry mob that stormed the US Capitol," Kimberly S. Adams, a political science professor at East Stroudsburg University, told the Inquirer.

... One effect could be shifting the Pennsylvania GOP, which largely backed Donald Trump's false claims of election fraud, even further to the right. A leading figure in the party, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, for example, helped bus people from Pennsylvania to DC on the day of the US Capitol riot; a possible candidate for governor in 2022, he has campaigned against mask mandates and recently introduced legislation that seeks to prohibit mandatory vaccination.

Trump made $1.6 billion while president, according to financial disclosures, but left office less wealthy than before
  • Donald Trump made at least $1.6 billion during his single term as US president.
  • He could hae made as much as $1.79 billion, according to financial disclosures.
  • Much of the revenue came from Mar-a-Lago, his hotel in DC, and his American golf courses.
Donald Trump may have donated his $400,000 salary as president, but that represented just one-tenth of a percent of the money he made while the world's most powerful man.

During his four-year term in office, Trump reported making between $1.6 and $1.79 billion, with some $620 million coming from the Mar-a-Lago resort, his hotel in the nation's capital, and three of his golf courses in the United States.

As Insider previously reported, despite making hundreds of millions of dollars each year, Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes for his first year in office.

That's according to a review of the former president's financial disclosures by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal watchdog group that argued Trump's salary donation "was merely a fig leaf to cover up four years of brazen corruption."

CREW found that the pandemic caused revenue to crash at the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC — from $40 million in 2019 to $15 million the year after — but not at Mar-a-Lago, which the former president had branded the "Southern White House."

Overall, however, Trump appears to be less wealthy today than when he took office. In fall 2020, Forbes said the ex-president was now the 352nd richest person in America — down from 275 the year before, reflecting a drop in net worth from $3.1 billion to $2.5 billion.

Struggling with debt, the former head of state deposited millions of dollars in 2020 campaign donations into the Trump Organization, according to a report by Forbes.

Who helped make Trump Trump?
Trump's rise to the pinnacle of power and his norm-busting presidential behavior came with the help of these 125 people and institutions. They come from all corners of Trump's life, from his family to his lawyers, his bankers, and his business partners. They come from the boardrooms of his native New York to the exclusive Palm Beach enclaves and the very Washington institutions he trashed while in the White House.

or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trump, whom many observers consider an anomaly, left the White House by saying, “We will be back in some form.” His legacy is “Trumpism” – a wave of white nationalism.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.