Tax returns return

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Former President Donald Trump speaks to his supporters during the Save America Rally at the Sarasota Fairgrounds in Sarasota, Florida, U.S. July 3, 2021. Photo by Octavio Jones/Reuters.

The Biden administration said this week that the House Ways and Means Committee can have access to former President Trump’s tax returns. The committee says it wants the returns as part of an ongoing investigation into how the IRS audits presidents – and that Trump’s returns serve a valid legislative purpose. Trump said he’d personally sue to prevent the returns from being turned over (and he did so after we recorded this episode). Are we in for another long battle?

Also: federal judges think out loud, too. A number of the Jan. 6 cases are in front of Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the D.C. District. This week, she asked prosecutors whether the government was being overall too lenient on defendants. Ken White explains why this isn’t all that uncommon in the courtroom, and whether this actually matters as far as sentencing goes. 

Then: after he was appointed chair of the Jan. 6 committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson withdrew from his Jan. 6-related civil lawsuit against Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, the Proud Boys and others. Was there a legal reason for this? Also: some former federal prosecutors think police officer testimony before the January 6 committee will make it more feasible to criminally charge Donald Trump. Are they right? 

Finally: the Avenatti saga continues. What’s the standard for convicting somebody of wire fraud? Is it “down to the dollar,” as Avenatti wants to make the jury believe? Does that strategy make him a good lawyer? We discuss.



Sara Fay