Posts tagged with "CNN"

Dems demand Trump tax returns from IRS—forcing Mnuchin to choose between fealty and duty

April 8, 2019

Although President Donald Trump claims that nobody’s interested in his tax returns—and that they are under audit anyway, so they cannot be released—House Democrats are through taking “no” for an answer—and last week, they set the stage for a major face-off with both the White House and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts) formally requested President Trump’s personal and business tax returns on April 3, setting up what will likely become a protracted and high-profile legal battle between the administration and Congressional Democrats, The Hill reported.

Specifically, in a letter to the IRS, Neal requested Trump’s personal income taxes from 2013 to 2018, as well as the tax returns associated with eight of his business entities, and cited his oversight role to justify the request.

“Under the Internal Revenue Manual, individual income tax returns of a President are subject to mandatory examination, but this practice is IRS policy and not codified in the Federal tax laws,” Neal wrote in the letter, which was first obtained by CNN. “It is necessary for the committee to determine the scope of any such examination and whether it includes a review of underlying business activities required to be reported on the individual income tax return.”

Mnuchin—a loyal Trump insider—now “will have to balance his loyalty to Trump against a request that many experts say leaves him little wiggle room,” The Hill noted. As head of the department that comprises the IRS, Mnuchin will face pressure from Trump and congressional Republicans to push back on Democrats’ request.

“[The] request tests Mnuchin’s oath of office—whether Mnuchin will faithfully execute the laws of the United States, or whether Mnuchin will bend to the will of the president,” commented Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, who testified before Congress in February about the need to request Trump’s tax returns.

Trump — the first president in decades to not voluntarily disclose any of his returns—quickly indicated his disdain for the request. “Until such time as I’m not under audit I would not be inclined to do that,” he said  last Wednesday.

When asked on April 4 if he would direct the IRS to not disclose his returns, Trump said, “They’ll speak to my lawyers and they’ll speak to the attorney general.” 

As is to be expected, Republicans leaders are critical of the request. The top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), argued in a letter to Mnuchin on April 3 that the request is “an abuse of the tax-writing committees’ statutory authority,” and he said it weakens Americans’ right to have their personal information kept private, The Hill reported.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the next day that courts have ruled that congressional requests for information need to have legitimate legislative purposes, and that he believes the Democrats have fallen short on that front.

“They don’t have a purpose,” he said, according to The Hill. “All they have are a lot of excuses.”

Mnuchin said at a Ways and Means Committee hearing last month that the Treasury Department would “follow the law and we will protect the president as we would protect any individual taxpayer under their rights.”

The Treasury Department has not commented on the tax returns request since it has been issued.

“Secretary Mnuchin should have no involvement in responding to Chairman Neal’s request for President Trump’s tax returns,” Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said in a statement on April 4, adding, “Tax returns are held at the IRS and it is Commissioner [Charles] Rettig’s job to fulfill the agency’s legal obligations. If Secretary Mnuchin inserts himself that would be blatant political interference.”

Both Mnuchin and Rettig are scheduled to testify at congressional hearings this coming week, and lawmakers are likely to press them about their response to Democrats’ tax-return request. Democrats and supporters of the request say there’s no good reason for the administration to not comply.

Democrats also took issue with Trump’s comments about not providing his returns while under audit, arguing that the statute under which they requested the tax returns doesn’t leave the matter up to him.

“With all due respect to the president, we did not ask him for the tax returns, we asked the commissioner of the IRS,” Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), a Ways and Means Committee member, told The Hill on Thursday.

Republican strategists predict that Mnuchin will get involved and that it will be an easy decision for him to reject Democrats’ request.

“You’ve never seen a Cabinet secretary at that level not fight for the administration,” GOP strategist Ford O’Connell told The Hill. He predicted that Mnuchin is likely to let the issue end up in the courts.

Research contact: @thehill

As the president shirks disaster relief efforts, House lawmakers push for statehood for Puerto Rico

April 1, 2019

On March 28—the same day on which the president fatuously stated,” “Puerto Rico has been taken care of better by Donald Trump [since the destruction of Hurricane Maria] than by any living human being, and I think the people of Puerto Rico understand it”—Congress introduced a bill that would entitle the commonwealth to all of the disaster relief that reaches political entities on the U.S. mainland.

The Puerto Rico Admission Act of 2019, which was introduced by Representative Darren Soto (D-Florida) and Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón, a Republican who represents the island in the House, would grant Puerto Rico equal civil rights and status as the 51st state within 90 days of passage.

“From the day I was sworn in as Puerto Rico’s sole representative in Congress, and filed the Puerto Rico Admission Act, I stated very clearly that I would work different strategies, across all platforms to achieve the full equality for Puerto Rico, which can only be achieved through statehood,” Gonzalez said in a news release.

According to a report by CNN, the move to sponsor legislation came as the Republican-controlled Senate considered a new disaster relief package for the territory—and as tensions continued to flare between President Donald Trump and Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló, who supports the bill.

“Puerto Rico’s colonial status and unsustainable relationship with the federal government has gone on for over a century, even as our citizens have contributed to the growth, culture, and social fabric of the United States; and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our fellow citizens on battlefields around the globe and under our same flag,” Rosselló, said in the release.

Indeed, the legislation is badly needed, in order to get the type of aid to the island that is needed for the infrastructure to be rebuilt, more rapidly and completely than has been done to date.

Although he expects credit from the people of Puerto Rico, President Trump still is being castigated for a visit he made to the devastated island after the hurricane, in early October 2017—during which he threw paper towels to the media and local representatives at a press conference and congratulated Puerto Rico residents for escaping the higher death toll of a “a real catastrophe like Katrina.”

Since that time, the president consistently has challenged efforts to provide more adequate disaster funding and food stamp coverage for the island. Although the territory is still recovering economically, Trump reportedly told Senate Republicans last week that he questioned the wisdom of sending the island additional disaster relief aid, CNN said.

In Thursday’s news release, Soto referenced disaster relief efforts as a reason to give Puerto Rico statehood.

“We have seen time and time again that colonial status is simply not working,” Soto said. “Look no further than the abysmal Hurricane Maria recovery efforts and the draconian PROMESA law [the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act] to prove this point all too well.”

Research contact: @CNNPolitics

Don’t ‘sleep in’ on Saturday or Sunday

March 1, 2019

Wake up, America! A study conducted at the University of Colorado–Boulder has found that trying to catch up on shut-eye over the weekend may not be such a good idea—for either your waistline or your health, CNN reported on February 28.

“Weekend catch-up sleep is not protective,” Dr. Vsevolod Polotsky, director of Sleep Research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told the cable news network, adding, “The bottom line of this study is that even if you sleep longer on weekends, if you continue to sleep poorly, you will still eat too much, and you will still gain weight.”

Study author Kenneth Wright, Jr., who directs the Sleep Lab at the UC-Boulder, agrees. “Sleeping in on weekend doesn’t correct the body’s inability to regulate blood sugar, if that weekend is followed by a workweek or [a]school week full of insufficient sleep,” he told CNN.

The study by Wright and his colleagues—published in the journal Current Biology—assigned 36 healthy young men and women to three groups that prescribed different sleep requirements over a total of 10 days. None of the participants had newborns in the home or any health impairments that would affect the quality of their sleep.

The first group had the opportunity to sleep for nine hours each night for the 10 days. The second group was restricted to only five hours of sleep a night for the same duration, while the third was restricted to five hours Monday through Friday but allowed to sleep as long as they wanted on the weekend and go to bed as early as they liked on Sunday night. Come Monday, that third group was put back on the deprived sleep schedule of only five hours a night.

Both of the sleep-deprived groups snacked more after dinner and gained weight during the study—men, much more than women, CNN reports. The sleep-deprived men showed an overall 2.8% increase in their weight, while women’s body size went up by only 1.1%. By comparison, men who slept in on the weekend showed a 3% increase in weight, while women’s body size went up 0.05%

Gaining weight while sleep-deprived isn’t surprising, Wright said. “One of the things we and others have found in the past is that when people don’t sleep enough, they tend to eat more, partly because their body is burning more calories. But what happens is that people eat more than they need and therefore gain weight.

That could be in part, Polotsky told the news outlet, because hunger hormones are affected by a chronic lack of sleep. “The hormone leptin decreases appetite, while the hormone ghrelin increases appetite,” explained Polotsky, who was not involved in the study. “We know from previous research that sleep deprivation causes leptin to drop and ghrelin to rise, so you’re hungry.”

What was surprising to the researchers is what happened to the group who slept in on the weekends. “Even though people slept as much as they could, it was insufficient,” Wright said. “As soon as they went back to the short sleep schedules on Monday, their ability of their body to regulate blood sugar was impaired.”

Why? One of the reasons the weekend group may have been more affected is because their circadian rhythm, or biological clock, had been altered, depriving the body of certain hormones.

“If you catch up during weekends, you habitually eat later, because the circadian clock is shifting,” Polotsky said. “Add in after-dinner snacks; the sleep-deprived eat much more after dinner, as well.”

Not only that, but the weekend recovery group showed increased sensitivity to insulin in both their muscles and their livers, a result not found in the second group on restricted sleep. That’s important, Wright explained to CNN, because the muscle and liver are two of the most important tissues that take up blood sugar after eating.

“That helps us understand why is it that when we don’t get enough sleep, we have an increased risk for things like diabetes,” he added, because “short, insufficient sleep schedules will lead to an inability to regulate blood sugar and increases the risk of metabolic disease in the long term.”

Metabolic syndrome is an array of symptoms such as fat around the waist, abnormal cholesterol, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure—all of which can raise the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

“And when we go back to getting too little sleep again,” Wright told CNN, “we’re doing things that could be negative for our health long-term.”

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends at least seven hours of sleep each night for adults and much more for children.

Research contact: kenneth.wright@colorado.edu

Warner counters Burr: Committee cannot rule on collusion until investigation wraps up

February 14, 2019

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia—who serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee—broke ranks on February 12 with committee Chair Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina. Warner contested his Republican colleague’s assessment that the panel had found no evidence of collusion to date during its inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Respectfully, I disagree,” Warner said, according to CNN. “I’m not going to get into any conclusions I’ve reached because my basis of this has been that I’m not going to reach any conclusion until we finish the investigation. And we still have a number of the key witnesses to come back.”

His statement came just hours before President Donald Trump’s former “fixer” and personal lawyer Michael Cohen told the committee that he would defer his testimony “due to post-surgery medical needs.”

Cohen had been subpoenaed by the committee on January 24 as a key source of information on the campaign’s contacts with Russia—one of the few individuals with a behind-the-doors perspective on Trump’s campaign machinations—but he has backed out three times. At least one of those times, Cohen claimed he was reluctant to talk  because of “ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. [Rudolph] Giuliani.”

On Tuesday night, CNN reported, Burr told reported on Capitol Hill, “I can assure you that any goodwill that might have existed in the committee with Michael Cohen is now gone.”

Burr reiterated that his committee had “no factual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia,” but that he wanted to interview Cohen before the former lawyer for President Donald Trump reports to federal prison next month.

“I would prefer to get him before he goes to prison, but you know, the way he’s positioning himself, not coming (to) the committee, we may help him go to prison,” Burr said.

However, Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis said the surgery excuse was accurate. “Mr. Cohen was expected to and continues to suffer from severe post shoulder surgery pain, as confirmed by a letter from his surgeon, which was sent to Senator Burr and Senator [Mark] Warner,” Davis said. “The medication Mr. Cohen is currently taking made it impossible for him to testify this week.”

The split in public comments between Burr and Warner marked a rare instance of a partisan divide between the two committee leaders.

Another panel member, Senator Angus King (I-Maine), backed Warner up, telling The Hill that the Intelligence Committee “has not concluded anything.”

“Several of the individual members have made statements, but I certainly am not prepared to make a statement as to what was found or not found,” he said.

Warner told CNN that lawmakers are still hoping to speak with a few witnesses, including Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen. The longtime Trump associate was scheduled to testify Tuesday, but postponed his appearance, citing medical reasons after a recent shoulder surgery.

Trump has repeatedly maintained that his campaign did not collude with Russia and he has welcomed Burr’s  comments as proof of that fact.

Research contact: @jeremyherb

Who do you trust? Trump claims a wall made El Paso safe; Mayor Margo disagrees

February 12, 2019

As President Donald Trump confirmed plans for a Monday night rally in El Paso, Texas, the city’s mayor, Dee Margo, asserted that the lower incidence of crime that the area has enjoyed in recent years has not been the direct result of fencing at the southern border.

The president is expected to exhort his base for a wall at what amounts to a major campaign event—being held just days ahead of the deadline for Congress to hammer out a deal on the budget and border security, NBC News reported on February 11.

“The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime—one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities,” Trump said in his State of the Union Address on February 6 “Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities.”

But the statistics don’t back him up. Mayor Margo notes. According to law enforcement data, the city had low crime rates well before a border barrier was constructed between 2008 and mid-2009.

Indeed, NBC News reports, violent crime has been dropping in El Paso since its modern-day peak in 1993 and was at historic lows before a fence was authorized by Congress in 2006. Violent crime actually ticked up during the border fence’s construction and after its completion, according to police data collected by the FBI.

Democratic officials immediately took issue with the picture Trump painted, saying the president was using their city to justify a pointless and unnecessary wall.

“The facts are clear. While it is true that El Paso is one of the safest cities in the nation, it has never been ‘…considered one of our Nation’s most dangerous cities,'” the city’s sheriff, Richard Wiles, a Democrat, said in a statement after Trump concluded his address. “And, El Paso was a safe city long before any wall was built.”

“I believe he was given some misinformation,” Mayor Margo told CNN in an interview, adding the idea that El Paso was a lawless and dangerous place before fencing was built is “not factually correct.”

Margo said he’d correct the president if he reiterated falsehoods about El Paso on Monday. “The geography of Texas won’t allow a fence from El Paso to Brownsville even if you wanted to do it,” Margo said.

When pressed on the inaccuracy of the president’s claims, the White House said the high rate of crime in the city directly across the border—Juarez—proved that the barrier was responsible for the low crime rate in El Paso.

Research contact: @janestreet

2020 Democratic contenders take Trump to task with State of the Union guests

February 6, 2019

Democratic 2020 contenders are using President Donald Trump’s second State of the Union Address on February 5 to “put a human face” on their points of contention with the current administration, CNN reports.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is bringing a decorated transgender Navy member to the House chambers to view the speech. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has invited a labor leader recently furloughed from his job at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. And California Senator. Kamala Harris will attend along with a woman who lost her home in a wildfire.

Gillibrand’s guest is Blake Dremann, a transgender Navy lieutenant commander who has been deployed 11 times. The invitation comes after the Supreme Court allowed Trump’s ban on transgender military service to go into effect.

Gillibrand, who battled the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, told CNN that she will introduce legislation in the Senate later this week that would protect transgender Americans’ ability to serve in the military.

Transgender service members like Lieutenant Commander Dremann make extraordinary sacrifices every day to defend our freedom and our most sacred values, and President Trump’s decision to ban them from military service is cruel and undermines our military readiness,” she said in a statement on her official website.

Harris invited Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik, whose home was destroyed in the Thomas wildfire that ravaged Southern California last year. What’s more, during a year of adversities, Pesiri-Dybvik and her husband both work for air traffic control and were furloughed during the government shutdown this year, Harris said.

“Trisha’s story is just one of many stories I heard during the shutdown of Americans whose lives were upended and who faced those difficult days with strength and resilience,” Harris said in a statement on her own Senate website. “Washington needs to hear her story and avoid another harmful shutdown.”

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s guest is Sajid Shahriar, a HUD staffer and labor leader with roles in both the local American Federation of Government Employees and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

“It’s time to send a message to President Trump and Senate Republicans: federal and contract workers are the backbone of our economy and their livelihoods should never be used as pawns in Republican political games,” Warren said her February 4 statement.

Others considering presidential runs are also using the State of the Union to advance their political priorities.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is taking aim at prescription drug costs, she said on February 1. Her guest is Nicole Smith-Holt, the mother of Alec Raeshawn Smith, a Type 1 diabetic who died from diabetic ketoacidosis because he couldn’t afford his $1,300-a-month insulin prescription.

Highlighting his advocacy for gun control, California Representative Eric Swalwell invited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor and gun reform activist Cameron Kasky.

One of the sharpest critics of the Trump administration’s family separations at the US-Mexico border, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, invited mother and daughter Albertina Contreras Teletor and Yakelin Garcia Contreras, age 12, who were separated at the southern border last spring.

This child separation policy came from a dark and evil place within the heart of this administration,” said Merkley in a statement on his official website. “Innocent children suffered because of deeds that were carried out in our names and using our tax dollars as Americans. I’m bringing Albertina and Yakelin as my guests to the State of the Union because we need to bear witness to the suffering that this cruel policy inflicted, and resolve to make sure that nothing like this ever happens in the United States of America again.” 

Research contact: @ericbradner

Food for thought: What is safe to eat during the government shutdown?

January 25, 2019

With the Food and Drug Administration largely out of action for the past month as a result of the partial government shutdown, consumers have been warned that many inspectors are not on the job and they should be careful about the groceries they buy. But questions remain: How careful and what groceries?

The answers are complicated, and it depends on whom you ask, CNN said in a recent report.

“We are very concerned that the shutdown may lead to lapses in food safety, but we don’t know where or when these will happen,” Sarah Sorscher, deputy director of Regulatory Affairs at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, told the cable news network.

When asked what foods he won’t eat during the shutdown, food safety attorney Bill Marler said, “I would say anything you aren’t controlling yourself—so any fresh, uncooked products,” such as ready-to-eat salads and prepackaged sandwiches, or meals that aren’t cooked.

Specifically, he points to, “Sprouts, leafy greens, ready to eat products like cheese, ice cream. I would be especially suspect if you’re a pregnant woman, children, people with a compromised immune system. I would stay away from it completely.”

“I worry about those foods that are going to institutions—like hospitals, like nursing homes … I worry about our most vulnerable consumers,” Catherine Donnelly, a professor  in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont told CNN.

However, she said her confidence in the safety of the US food supply is still high, even during the shutdown. The FDA is only one part of the safety system, she said.

“The FDA made it really clear that the responsibility for food safety lies with the companies,” she noted. “They just have responsibility for oversight and determining whether there are violations. To a large extent, the job of food safety is already being done very well I think by the food industry at large.

Consumers should continue to have confidence in those brand names that they trust and the willingness of companies to do the right thing in providing them with safe food.”

Hilary Thesmar, chief food and product safety officer at the Food Marketing Institute, an advocacy organization for food retailers, told the news outlet that supply chain control requirements from grocers help keep the food system safe.

Grocers “have a lot of customer specifications and customer requirements on products that they buy,” she said.

But other consumer groups share Marler’s concern about the safety of the food supply during the shutdown, even with some furloughed inspectors going back to work (without pay).

“Our advice is for people to continue using common sense measures — that they should rinse off their vegetables, rinse off their fruits, cook their meat, don’t eat raw meats, and just do all the normal things that you should do all the time anyway and you should be just fine,” Alex Berezow, vice president of Scientific Affairs of the American Council on Science and Health, a pro-science consumer advocacy organization, said in an email. He added that there really isn’t any particular food that should be avoided and said, “If you have any doubts about food, throw it out.”

Finally, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD,  told CNN that the FDA is taking steps to “expand the scope of food safety surveillance inspections we’re doing during the shutdown to make sure we continue inspecting high risk food facilities.” He noted that “31% of our inventory of domestic inspections are considered high-risk”; those are the inspections the agency is now trying to resume.

This applies to routine domestic surveillance inspections of foods including seafood, bakery products filled with custard, soft and semi-soft ripened cheese and cheese products, unpasteurized juices, fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, sandwiches and infant formula, among other food items.

Research contact: @debgcnn

Cohen’s lawyer: House has ‘an obligation’ to scrutinize Giuliani over ‘witness tampering’

January 25, 2019

The expected repercussions have begun, following a decision this week by President Donald Trump’s former “fixer” and personal attorney Michael Cohen to postpone his second round of Congressional testimony since 2017 because of “ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. [Rudolph] Giuliani.”

First, Cohen was subpoenaed on January 24 to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, his spokesperson and attorney Lanny Davis confirmed to CNN.

Second, Davis called on Thursday for a criminal investigation into President Donald Trump‘s person lawyer in the Russia probe, Rudy Giuliani, for alleged witness tampering, The Hill reported. 

Let me be very clear, the House of Representatives now has an obligation,” Davis said on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America in an interview with anchor George Stephanopoulos.

A resolution of censure when the president of the United States indisputably intimidates and obstructs justice to prevent a witness from testifying is an order. So is a federal criminal investigation of Rudy Giuliani for witness tampering.”

Davis said in a statement earlier this week that Cohen would postpone testimony before Congress because of “ongoing threats” his family has received from Trump and Giuliani. 

“Due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. [Rudy] Giuliani, as recently as this weekend, as well as Mr. Cohen’s continued cooperation with ongoing investigations, by advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen’s appearance will be postponed to a later date,” Davis said, referring to testimony Cohen was prepared to give to the House Oversight and Reform Committee on February 7. The testimony had been scheduled after Cohen admitted to Special Counsel Robert Mueller that he had lied in his previous appearance before Congress.

Cohen was sentenced late last year to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges related to bank and tax fraud and campaign finance violations. He also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the timing of negotiations surrounding a Trump Tower development in Moscow.

Cohen said Trump directed him to commit the campaign finance violations. 

The president, however, has repeatedly castigated Cohen, going so far as to call him a “rat on Twitter.” He said earlier this month that Cohen was cooperating with investigators in order to get a reduced sentence, advising Fox News that Cohen was “Lying to reduce his jail time! Watch father-in-law!”

Giuliani on January 20 told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Trump was “defending” himself by calling out Cohen’s father-in-law, adding that “he may have ties to something called organized crime.”

Davis condemned the two on Thursday, saying that “calling out a man’s father-in-law and wife in order to intimidate the witness is not fair game.”

Research contact: @JustinWise

Giuliani: ‘I never said there was no collusion’

January 18, 2019

And now, from the same man who told Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press” that “The truth isn’t the truth” last August comes a new pronouncement.

Referring to the Russia probe, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on January 16, “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or people in the campaign.”

He added, “I said the President of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the President of the United States committed the only crime you can commit here, conspiring with the Russians to hack the DNC.”

Indeed, according to CNN, “It’s another remarkable statement from Giuliani, given that the President and his supporters have repeatedly denied any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.”

The cable news network noted, “A person familiar with the matter told CNN last week that [Paul] Manafort, while serving as Trump’s campaign chairman, tried to send internal polling data from the Trump campaign [to] two Kremlin-supporting Ukrainian oligarchs through his associate Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian national who is linked to Russian intelligence.

When Cuomo asked whether the sharing of this data by Manafort constituted collusion, Giuliani said Trump never shared the polling data himself and only found out about it recently in the news.

“Donald Trump wasn’t giving polling data to anyone,” Giuliani said, adding, “he did not know about it until it was revealed a few weeks ago in an article.”

Giuliani attempted Thursday morning to clean up his remarks, telling CNN’s Dana Bash that he did not intend to send any new signals regarding the Trump legal team’s understanding of the investigation.

“The President did not himself, nor does he have any knowledge of collusion with Russians. If anyone was doing that, he is unaware of it and so am I,” Giuliani said. “But neither he nor I can possibly know what everyone on the campaign was doing.”

Giuliani said collusion is not a crime and the term is now being used broadly to describe contact with Russians.

“I can’t possibly say no one had contact about something or in some way,” he said.

Research contact: @caroline_mkelly

‘Fed’ up: Trump’s anger simmers as financial markets slump

December 27, 2018

President Donald Trump’s frustration with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin—one of his longest-term Cabinet members—has ratcheted up. The president lashed out after financial markets suffered their worst Christmas Eve slump ever despite Mnuchin’s attempts to call major U.S. banks and calm Wall Street according to CNN.

That doesn’t bode well. Indeed, a source told CNN, Mnuchin could be in “serious jeopardy” with Trump.

Nevertheless, the cable news outlet said, the president vouched for Mnuchin publicly on Christmas Day—shifting blame for the market volatility to the Federal Reserve, instead.

“Yes, I do,” Trump said on December 25, when asked whether he had confidence in Mnuchin. “Very talented, very smart person.”

But the source painted a different picture of Mnuchin’s standing behind the scenes. “Mnuchin is under the gun,” the source told CNN.

The Treasury secretary left Washington for a Christmas holiday in Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas, just as the federal government shut down over the weekend—while Trump canceled his own planned trip to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and remained n the White House (ergo, his tweet, “I’m all alone”) over the holiday, absorbing a flood of negative news about the markets.

Trump could meet with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in January, a person familiar with the matter told CNN on December 26. Trump has fumed at Powell for raising interest rates, which Trump believes is driving the stock market lower—and has even inquired whether it would be legal to fire him.  Some of the President’s aides believe a face-to-face meeting could help ease tensions and allow the two men to discuss the underlying economy.

Nothing has been formally scheduled. The Wall Street Journal first reported the discussions about the meeting.

At the same time in Washington, Mnuchin aides have been scrambling to find economic data to help their boss calm Trump down, but Trump was said to be unhappy with what Mnuchin was telling him, this source said.

Research contact: @Acosta