Donald Trump’s estranged former lawyer Michael Cohen had his say on Trump’s taxes last night in a phone interview with MSNBC. Cohen said:

I want to say in 2016 and 2017, while he paid $750, I paid in excess of $3 million in taxes to the IRS, and that’s verifiable. So if I went to jail for 36 months on tax evasion, which probably should have been tax omission, Donald Trump should do 360 years, based upon the numbers.

Cohen recently published Disloyal, his memoir of his time as Donald Trump’s fixer. It was greeted by a White House statement calling him a “disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer”.

Cohen was convicted of lying to Congress in order to protect Trump over his links to Russia and payments to women which may have violated campaign finance law. He was also convicted of lying to a financial institution and tax fraud and is currently serving his three-year sentence – at home in New York because of the coronavirus.

The polls have been looking good for Joe Biden, with him nationally ahead by seven or eight points, and with a lead in several key swing states. However, the polls didn’t predict a Donald Trump Electoral College victory in 2016, and Tom McCarthy reports for us today: can we trust them this time around?

Asking people what they think is, among other things, an expression of faith that what the American people think matters – a notion that can seem even more worthwhile amid Trump’s demand to “get rid of the ballots” in November.

Pollsters across the country have made adjustments to address their mistakes of 2016 and are working hard to capture an accurate snapshot of 2020. The picture is not simple. While some key state polls were off in 2016, the national polls in aggregate were right on target, showing Clinton three points ahead at the end; she won the popular vote by two points but lost in the electoral college.

The mistakes last time, according to a full buffet of postmortem analyses, included: pollsters did not have an eye on educational attainment as a potential fault line in the electorate; they were foiled by an unusual wave of undecided voters breaking for Trump at the last minute; there was too little polling in key swing states to really know what was going on; conclusions extrapolated from that paucity of data were broadcast with far too much certainty; and there might have been some “shy” Trump voters who didn’t want to say they were supporting him.

Of course, one thing they will still struggle to factor in this year is voter behaviour during a pandemic, especially when the view of the American public about the coronavirus outbreak – and the steps they are taking to mitigate it – have become so partisan.

Read it here: US election polls look good for Joe Biden. But can they be trusted?

Away from taxes for a second, NBC News have a story this morning about an overheard phone call from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield where he appeared to be raising concerns about Dr. Scott Atlas. They report:

Dr Robert Redfield, who leads the CDC, suggested in a conversation with a colleague Friday that Dr Scott Atlas is arming Trump with misleading data about a range of issues, including questioning the efficacy of masks, whether young people are susceptible to the virus and the potential benefits of herd immunity.

“Everything he says is false,” Redfield said during a phone call made in public on a commercial airline and overheard by NBC News.

Redfield acknowledged after the flight from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., that he was speaking about Atlas, a neuroradiologist with no background in infectious diseases or public health. Atlas was brought on to the White House task force in August.

Prior joining the White House team reacting to the pandemic Atlas had been a frequent guest on Fox News where he had pushed to reopen the country, and as NBC News put it, “espoused views that more closely align with Trump’s opinions during the health crisis.”

There were 267 new coronavirus deaths and 37,332 new Covid cases reported in the US yesterday. The country has been averaging around 43,000 new cases per day during the last week, a level which is a 23% increase on where the country stood a fortnight ago.

Read it here: NBC News – Redfield voices alarm over influence of Trump’s new coronavirus task force adviser

I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from the president about his taxes in the days to come. But it has become one of those truisms that whatever this president does while in office, he will have previously complained on Twitter about his predecessor doing something similar. Tax, it turns out, is no exception.

In among the tax details revealed yesterday, was the claim that on one hand Donald Trump’s companies were writing off losses because they were paying “consultancy fees” on deals, and on the other hand, a consultancy co-owned by Ivanka Trump was profiting from, yes, you’ve guessed it, consultancy fees that seem to be from the same deal.

That’s not the only Ivanka Trump revelation floating around today, as this morning the Washington Post report that a new book will suggest that Donald wanted Ivanka to be his VP pick in 2016. The paper reports that the claim is in a forthcoming book by Trump’s deputy campaign manager Rick Gates. Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger write:

“I think it should be Ivanka. What about Ivanka as my VP?” Trump asked the assembled group. “Ivanka should be vice president,” he added.

In Gates’s telling, Trump’s suggestion of naming to the ticket his then-34-year-old daughter — a fashion and real estate executive who had never held elected office — was no passing fancy.

Instead, he brought up the idea repeatedly over the following weeks, trying to sell his campaign staff on the idea, insisting she would be embraced by the Republican base, Gates writes.

Trump was so taken with the concept of his eldest daughter as his vice president — and so cool to other options, including his eventual selection, then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — that his team polled the idea twice, according to Gates. It was Ivanka Trump who finally ended the conversation, Gates writes, going to her father to tell him it wasn’t a good idea.

Read it here: Washington Post – Trump suggested naming his daughter Ivanka as his running mate in 2016, according to new book by Rick Gates

It’s not just going to be all about Trump’s taxes today. Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown has asked authorities to review “any alleged incidents” involving their officers after video emerged which appeared to show a physical assault on a journalist in Portland, a city which has seen months of continuous protest for racial justice.

Associated press report that a videos from the demonstration in downtown Portland showed police grabbing a news photographer and pushing him to ground, as he was trying to document them tackling and detaining a person on a sidewalk

Free speech and free press are two of my core values. I take the use of physical force by law enforcement officers seriously, whether it involves members of the public or the media. I have asked Superintendent Hampton, Sheriff Reese, and Chief Lovell to review any alleged incidents involving officers from each of their agencies during joint operations last night. Journalists and law enforcement officers have difficult jobs to do during these demonstrations, but I do still believe that we can protect free speech and keep the peace. I am committed to continuing to do the hard work to build trust in our communities as we work toward police accountability and racial justice.

I am committed to continuing to do the hard work to build trust in our communities as we work toward police accountability and racial justice.

In the incident, freelance photographer John Rudoff was wearing a helmet with “PRESS” stickers affixed to it. He told the Oregonian/Oregon Live on Sunday that he’s “physically OK but am quite annoyed”. One video appears to show an officer push a journalist into a tree, causing the journalist to drop the camera.

Oregon Public Broadcasting Editor Anna Griffin retweeted the video, writing, “I’d also love to hear elected officials explain why a reporter from my organization was subject to violence at the hands of law enforcement when judges have made it very clear this is not acceptable.”

I’d also love to hear elected officials explain why a reporter from my organization was subject to violence at the hands of law enforcement when judges have made it very clear this is not acceptable.

Another online video showed an officer apparently deploying a chemical spray in the face of a man who was yelling at police and waving a sign toward them.

Several arrests were made and an unlawful assembly was again declared by the authorities. Sheriff’s spokesperson Chris Liedle told the Oregonian/Oregon Live that anyone who believes officers acted unjustly or excessively can file a complaint with the agency or corresponding review board.

David Smith in Washington had this analysis for us of what the Trump tax revelations might mean in the longer term. Will the Democratic party be able to get as much energy around “but his taxes…” as the phrase “but her emails…” reverberated for the Trump campaign in 2016 against Hillary Clinton?

It is tempting to see this as terminal for Trump in the November election against Joe Biden. But we have been here many times before. The same was said after the release of an Access Hollywood tape in October 2016, where Trump was heard bragging about sexual assault.

It is also worth remembering what happened in the first presidential debate against Hillary Clinton. The Democratic candidate suggested that perhaps Trump was not releasing his tax returns because he had paid nothing in federal taxes.

There were howls of outrage and prophecies that Trump must be doomed. Yet perhaps that remark resonated with some voters who reckoned that given the chance, they too would delight in getting around the rules in order to save a few bucks.

Other comments from the progressive wing of the Democratic wing of the party have attempted to make the Trump taxes issue not so much about him personally, but about the structure of the US economy and tax regime.

Senator Elizabeth Warren said that Trump was “taking advantage of a broken, corrupt, and unequal system that’s built for people like him to do what he did.”

This is about more than one man’s personal tax scams. Donald Trump is a liar, a cheater, and a crooked businessman, yes. But he’s also taking advantage of a broken, corrupt, and unequal system that’s built for people like him to do what he did.

Bernie Sanders returned to a consistent theme of which he has provided many examples over the years, that wealthy individuals and corporates love “corporate socialism” for themselves, but prescribe “rugged capitalism for everyone else”.

Shock of shocks! Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed billionaire, received a $72.9 million tax refund from the IRS while not paying a nickel in federal income taxes in 10 out of 15 years. Yep. Trump l-o-v-e-s corporate socialism for himself, rugged capitalism for everyone else.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar also had a very simple comment on the situation go viral. She needed no words to make her point – just the number 750.

Not unexpectedly, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one of the Democratic figures who has weighed in on Trump’s taxes overnight, comparing his $750 bill with the taxes she paid in the same years while working as a bartender.

In 2016 & ‘17, I paid thousands of dollars a year in taxes *as a bartender.*Trump paid $750.He contributed less to funding our communities than waitresses & undocumented immigrants.Donald Trump has never cared for our country more than he cares for himself. A walking scam.

The New York congresswoman also highlighted the hypocrisy of her critics over the amount she spent styling her hair compared to that spent by Donald Trump. She pointed to this part of the New York Times report:

Even while declaring losses, he has managed to enjoy a lavish lifestyle by taking tax deductions on what most people would consider personal expenses, including residences, aircraft and $70,000 in hairstyling for television.

Last year Republicans blasted a firehose of hatred + vitriol my way because I treated myself to a $250 cut & lowlights on my birthday.Where’s the criticism of their idol spending $70k on hairstyling?Oh, it’s nowhere because they’re spineless, misogynistic hypocrites? Got it.

Here’s that attack ad from Joe Biden over Donald Trump’s taxes which was posted overnight. It seeks to unfavourably compare the $750 which the New York Times claims is what Donald Trump paid in federal taxes in the year he was elected president, with the taxes paid by teachers, firefighters and nurses that same year. It has already had over 1 million views on social media.

It’s fake news. It’s totally fake news. Made up, fake. We went through the same stories, you could have asked me the same questions four years ago, I had to litigate this and had to talk about it. Totally fake news. Actually, I paid tax. And you’ll see that as soon as my tax returns – it’s under audit, they’ve been under audit for a long time, the IRS does not treat me well, they treat me like the Tea Party, like they treated the Tea Party, and they don’t treat me well. They treat me very badly. You have people in the IRS that treat me very, very badly. But they’re under audit. And when they’re not, I would be proud to show you. But that’s just fake news.

Good morning, and welcome to what is no doubt set to be a lively day on the US politics blog following a weekend of bombshell revelations about the president’s finances.


News – Democrats on the attack after Trump tax return revelations – US politics live