March 15, 2017

President Trump paid a roughly 25% effective tax rate in 2005, according to leaked tax returns made public Tuesday evening. Teased as an earth-shattering scoop by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, the revelation was relatively modest—providing a glimpse of how Trump structured his tax burden but no information on how he actually earned his wealth. Trump is the first President in more than four decades not to have released his tax returns, and his aides signaled that he won’t be reversing course anytime soon. The very real questions about Trump’s taxes, the sources of his income, and his potential conflicts of interest aren’t dissipating either. But Tuesday night’s anticipation and subsequent let-down proved to be a winning news cycle for the president.

Trump is back on the campaign trail Wednesday night, holding a campaign rally in Nashville. The trip comes as the President faces the question of how deeply to embrace the House Republican Obamacare replacement bill. Facing opposition from many in his own party, the bill is on thin ice just more than a week after its release. Trump could try to placate some of those concerns from the stage, or he could ignore the issue for a more Trump-focused (rather than agenda-focused) event.

Even House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes says there is no evidence that Trump was wiretapped in Trump Tower, as the president claimed in a series of inflammatory tweets earlier this month. “We don’t have any evidence that took place,” Nunes said Wednesday. It’s notable coming from Nunes, who has been one of the president’s staunchest Capitol Hill defenders.

Trump targets Obama mileage rule. Trump overrules his National Security Advisor. And Trump allies are plotting for when the House GOP bill fails.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

Donald Trump’s 2005 Tax Return Reveals He Paid $38 Million in Taxes on $150 Income
Leaked document prompts confirmation from the White House [TIME]

How Big Data Broke American Politics
It made it too easy to appeal to the extremes [NBC]

Steve Bannon and the Making of an Economic Nationalist
The controversial White House counselor says his father’s 2008 financial trauma helped crystallize his antiglobalist views and led to a political hardening [Wall Street Journal]

Ryan’s Gambit: Second Health Care Bill to Woo the Reluctant
But there’s not enough support in the Senate [Associated Press]

Sound Off

“I think there’s pretty sound evidence that has been — that the microwave is not a sound way of surveilling someone. And I think that has been cleaned up. It was made in jest.” — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Kellyanne Conway’s comments about surveillance from microwaves

“That’s what I think we want to do, is give everyone who wants to get healthcare the financial ability to get it is what the President is trying to achieve through this.” — Spicer, recalibrating the president’s pledge that his plan would provide for healthcare for everybody

Bits and Bites

Senator: Comey to say whether FBI probing Russia, Trump campaign by Wednesday [CNN]

North Carolina Governor Who Signed Bathroom Bill Says He Can’t Find Work [TIME]

Neil Gorsuch Has Web of Ties to Secretive Billionaire [New York Times]

Trump rejects push to oust NSC aide [Politico]

Top Marine Leader Vows to Hold Corps Members Accountable After Nude Photos Scandal [Associated Press]

Ruddy: Trump Should Ditch Freedom Caucus, Seek Bipartisan Plan [Newsmax]

President Trump Is Going to Challenge Fuel Efficiency Standards Shaped by Obama [Associated Press]

 

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