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NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday blocked a New York prosecutor from obtaining Donald Trump’s tax returns while the president’s lawyers continue to fight a subpoena seeking the records. The three-judge panel ruled after hearing brief arguments from both sides.

Trump’s lawyers had asked for a temporary stay while they appeal a lower-court ruling that granted Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office access to Trump’s tax returns. A lawyer for Vance’s office had argued that further delays would only impede their investigation.

“The question at this juncture is quite simple but also quite important,” Trump lawyer William Consovoy said. “Will the president be given an opportunity to appeal that ruling before his personal records are disclosed to the grand jury and the status quo is irrevocably changed?”

A hearing on the merits of Trump’s latest appeal will be held on Sept. 25 after both sides agreed to an expedited schedule — meaning it’s possible the matter could be decided before November’s election.

Trump’s lawyers appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month after a district court judge rejected their renewed efforts to invalidate a subpoena issued to his accounting firm. Judge John M. Walker Jr. said at Tuesday’s hearing that the subpoenas cover 11 entities engaged in business dealings as far away as Europe and Dubai.

Trump has blasted the long-running quest for his financial records as a “continuation of the most disgusting witch hunt in the history of our country” and predicted the case would again end up before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruled last month that the presidency in itself doesn’t shield Trump from Vance’s investigation, but the high court returned the case to U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero’s courtroom to allow Trump’s lawyers to raise other concerns about the subpoena.

Trump’s lawyers then argued that the subpoena was issued in bad faith and overly broad, might have been politically motivated and amounted to harassment. Marrero rejected those claims. Consovoy told the judges Tuesday that the investigation was an “arbitrary fishing expedition.”

Carey Dunne, of the district attorney’s office, said Trump and his lawyers have long misrepresented the scope of the investigation as focusing primarily on hush money payments that were paid to protect Trump from adultery allegations. Vance’s lawyers have said they are legally entitled to extensive records to aid a “complex financial investigation.”

“The president has complained at every turn that we’ve not announced what the grand jury is looking at as if that itself is bad faith,” Dunne said. “But of course, what the grand jury is looking at is secret. We’re not allowed to make that public, which is what has led to his speculation about the grand jury scope. But none of this speculation is plausible.”

Even if Vance does get Trump’s tax records, those would be part of a confidential grand jury investigation and not automatically be made public.

Vance, a Democrat, began seeking the Republican president’s tax returns from his longtime accounting firm over a year ago, after Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen told Congress that the president had misled tax officials, insurers and business associates about the value of his assets.

Congress is also pursuing Trump’s financial records, though the Supreme Court last month kept a hold on the banking and other documents that Congress has been seeking and returned the case to a lower court.

Trump is the only modern president who has refused to release his tax returns. Before he was elected, he had promised to do so.

Author: Breitbart News

Source: Breitbart: Court Blocks Release of Trump Tax Returns amid Latest Appeal

New York (AFP) – Sports giant Nike reported a surprise loss Thursday as shutdowns due to COVID-19 prompted a big drop in revenues in spite of higher online sales.

Nike reported a loss of $790 million in the quarter ending May 31, which translated to a loss of 51 cents per share compared with analyst expectations for nine cents per share in profit.

Revenues tumbled 38 percent to $6.3 billion following huge declines in sales in most of the world.

In North America, the company’s biggest operating region, revenues plunged 46 percent to $2.2 billion.

A bright spot was online sales, with digital sales increasing 75 percent during the quarter.

The results are among the first by a major company to detail the hit from the coronavirus during the period of peak shutdowns. Nike is on a different fiscal calendar than most other large companies, with its fourth quarter ending May 31.

The second-quarter earnings period, which covers the quarter ending June 30, will begin in mid-July.

Shares of Nike fell 3.7 percent ot $97.61.

Author: Breitbart News

Source: Breitbart: Nike Reports Surprise $790 Million Loss, 46% Plunge in North American Sales

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was the Trumpiest of offers.

A rally at one of the world’s largest stadiums. A crowd of millions cheering him on. A love fest during an election year.

President Donald Trump’s packed two-day visit to India promises the kind of welcome that has eluded him on many foreign trips, some of which have featured massive protests and icy handshakes from world leaders. He is expected to receive a warm embrace from the ideologically aligned and hug-loving Prime Minister Narendra Modi, complete with a massive rally soon after his arrival Monday and then a sunset visit to the Taj Mahal.

After hosting Modi at a “Howdy Modi” rally in Houston last year that drew 50,000 people, Modi will return the favor with a “Namaste Trump” rally (it translates to, “Greetings, Trump”) at the world’s largest cricket stadium in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad. Tens of thousands are expected to line the streets.

Modi “told me we’ll have 7 million people between the airport and the event,” Trump said to reporters Tuesday, then raised the anticipated number to 10 million when he mentioned the trip during a Thursday night rally. Indian authorities expect closer to 100,000.

“I’ll never be satisfied with a crowd if we have 10 million people in India,” Trump said. And as he left the White House on Sunday for the flight to India, the upcoming spectacle was on the president’s mind again: “I hear it’s going to be a big event. Some people say the biggest event they’ve ever had in India. That’s what the prime minister told me — this will be the biggest event they’ve ever had.”

Trump’s motorcade will travel amid cheers from carefully picked and screened Modi loyalists and workers from his Bharatiya Janata Party. They will stand for hours alongside the neatly manicured 22-kilometer (14-mile) stretch of road to accord Trump a grand welcome.

Trump generally dislikes foreign travel and prefers being home in his White House bed; in fact, he noted to reporters upon his departure from the White House that it was a long trip to India and that he was only going to be there one night. But he has a particular affinity for India. He owned a hotel and casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, named the Trump Taj Mahal, and he owns multiple properties in India.

“There’s a lot of color. This is a loud and boisterous country, and that exactly in some ways really fits with the Trump style,” said Tanvi Madan, a senior fellow and director of The India Project at the Brookings Institution. She said Trump is likely to get a king’s welcome from a country well-rehearsed in the art of adulation. A half-million people gathered to hear President Dwight D. Eisenhower speak in 1959; former President Jimmy Carter had a village named after him — Carterpuri.

“In some ways, American presidents go to India to feel loved,” said Madan. She predicted Trump would receive an even grander welcome because the Indians recognize it’s something Trump expects and that could keep them in his good graces.

“It’s not about him, per se, for them. It is the U.S. relationship for India is crucial,” she said.

India has spent weeks making preparations for the visit. At a cost of almost $14 million, the government is blanketing the city with ads of Trump and Modi and hastily erected a half-kilometer (1,640-foot) brick wall beside the road Trump will take to the stadium, which officials are rushing to finish in time for Trump’s arrival.. Critics say the wall was built to block the view of a slum inhabited by more than 2,000 people. Stray dogs have been caught and exotic trees planted.

Trump’s foreign visits have typically been light on sightseeing, but this time, the president and first lady Melania Trump are to visit the Taj Mahal. Stories in local media warn of the monkeys that inhabit the landmark pestering tourists for food and, on occasion, menacing both visitors and slingshot-carrying security guards.

Presidents have often used trips overseas to bolster their electoral prospects. Images of American presidents being feted on the world stage stand in contrast to those of their rivals in the opposing party slogging through diners in early-voting states and clashing in debate.

This trip, in particular, reflects a Trump campaign strategy to showcase him looking presidential during short, carefully managed trips that provide counterprogramming to the Democrats’ primary contest and produce the kinds of visuals his campaign can use in future ads. His aides also believe the visit could help the president woo tens of thousands of Indian-American voters before the November election.

Some of Trump’s past trips have been overshadowed by diplomatic snafus and political gaffes. When Barack Obama was running for president, his reception in Germany in front of a massive crowd was featured prominently in an attack ad casting him as a mere “celebrity.”

Beyond the optics, there are serious issues to address as India faces a slumping economy and ongoing protests over a citizenship law that excludes Muslims.

Trade tensions between the two countries have escalated since the Trump administration imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium from India. India responded with higher penalties on agricultural goods and restrictions on U.S. medical devices. The U.S. retaliated by removing India from a decades-old preferential trade program.

Though trade will be on the agenda, Trump and administration officials are playing down expectations.

“Well, we can have a trade deal with India, but I’m really saving the big deal for later on,” the president said.

India has been embroiled in protests over its Citizenship Amendment Act. It provides a fast track to naturalization for some migrants who entered the country illegally while fleeing religious persecution, but excludes Muslims, raising fears that the country is moving toward a religious citizenship test. Passage has prompted large-scale protests and a violent crackdown.

Typically, Trump has not publicly rebuked world leaders for human rights abuses during his overseas trips. But one senior administration official said the U.S. is concerned about the situation and that Trump will tell Modi the world is looking to India to continue to uphold its democratic traditions and respect religious minorities.

Trump is also expected to weigh in on the fate of the disputed territory of Kashmir. The Muslim-majority territory claimed by both Hindu-nationalist led India and Pakistan. Trump has offered to mediate and has encouraged India and Pakistan to work together to resolve their differences.

But there is likely to be little public divide between Trump and Modi, two leaders with a similar love of bravado and adoration. At the “Howdy Modi” event last fall, which incongruously linked the Indian prime minister with Texas’ cowboy culture, the two world leaders took the stage hand in hand at a rock concert-like setting that will be dwarfed by the scene in Ahmedabad

“Get ready to say #NamasteTrump,” tweeted the city, the largest in Modi’s home state of Gujarat, as it geared up to welcome the American president on his maiden India visit as president. It also invited people to join “#theBiggestRoadShowEver.”

Author: Breitbart News

Source: Breitbart: Passage to India: Trump Ready for Warm Embrace, Adulation

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — When President Donald Trump visited Beto O’Rourke’s hometown to argue that walling off the southern border would make the U.S. safer, the former Democratic congressman and possible 2020 presidential hopeful was ready.

As the president filled an El Paso arena with supporters, O’Rourke helped lead thousands of his own on a protest march past the barrier of barbed-wire topped fencing and towering metal slats that separates El Paso from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

O’Rourke clearly hopes to make his personal experience with the border a strength if he runs for president — and the battle over billions of dollars in new fortifications may well shape the 2020 campaign.

But O’Rourke’s history with the barriers that have lined the Rio Grande since he was a child actually could be a bit of vulnerability, too.

As the 2020 campaign is joined, other top Democrats can oppose Trump’s call for more and larger walls as a straightforward wedge issue — something they say shows anti-immigrant feeling, intolerance and even racism.

But O’Rourke’s record on border walls is complicated. In March, he supported a spending package that other leading Democratic contenders opposed and included $1.6 billion for border wall construction in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. Buried in that was $44.5 million for repairs of existing fencing elsewhere — including El Paso.

O’Rourke later explained the vote as a compromise to win approval of another proposal he backed, expanding access to mental health care for military veterans who had received other-than-honorable discharges. But his action attracted criticism from people who know the border best. Scott Nicol, co-chairman of the Sierra Club’s Borderlands team, called it “very disappointing.”

“The things that he has said have been dead on,” Nicol said. “The next step becomes what do you do.”

O’Rourke’s nuanced position on border barriers, sometimes willing to use them as a bargaining chip, could be politically awkward in a national campaign but it’s shared in El Paso. Here, many people accept dozens of miles of existing walls as a fact of life, objecting mostly to structures so intrusive they suggest a war zone.

“People in El Paso live with the border and the ambiguities and contradictions of the border,” said Josiah Heyman, director of the University of Texas at El Paso’s Center for Interamerican and Border Studies.

In an interview Thursday night on MSNBC, O’Rourke said he would “absolutely” tear down El Paso’s existing walls and that he believed a majority of residents would back doing so. That somewhat contradicts his past statements about opposing entirely open borders, but O’Rourke has previously backed having them porous enough to promote trade and immigrant culture. In an interview in 2006, he decried President George W. Bush’s proposal for bolstering the existing walls with more surveillance technology.

Bush’s barrier “didn’t seem like a meaningful suggestion at all, but maybe that’s because we already have it and it doesn’t seem to be working,” he said.

City Council member Peter Svarzbein said El Paso’s character isn’t based on keeping people out, but rather on tens of thousands who legally cross every day for work, school, shopping or to see bi-national relatives.

Democratic analyst Colin Strother noted, “There are places that physical barriers make sense, but it does not make sense everywhere and that seems to be the big disconnect.”

O’Rourke’s attempts to explain his record could be difficult in a hotly contested primary campaign. His 2020 rivals could run into their own complications on the issue soon, however, after Congress approved $1.4 billion in new border wall money as part of a deal to avoid the latest government shutdown.

In the end, O’Rourke “may have some firsthand knowledge, but I don’t know if it’s a winning argument,” said Democratic political consultant James Aldrete, who helped conduct Hispanic outreach for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

El Paso had only limited border security before 1978 when, facing an influx of immigrants looking for work in the U.S., Congress approved chain-link fencing later dubbed the “Tortilla Curtain.” A 1986 federal law granting legal status to about 2 million Mexicans in the U.S. made the prospect of heading north even more attractive.

Eventually, thousands of people were pouring into El Paso every day, sometimes paying as little as a quarter for rides on makeshift rafts over the Rio Grande.

“People could cross whenever they wanted,” said Silvestre Reyes, who was chief of the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector in 1993 and won a congressional seat in 1996. “The city was tired of it.”

Reyes ordered around-the-clock patrols and authorities repaired 100-plus holes in nine miles of fences downtown.

But when O’Rourke, then an upstart ex-City Council member, ran against Reyes in the 2012 Democratic primary, he didn’t make Reyes’ border crackdown an issue. Instead, O’Rourke more frequently complained of long wait times for cars crossing into El Paso from Juarez.

O’Rourke now opposes pumping any money into new walls. Instead, he’d like to see a coalition of border Democrats and Republicans in Congress hammer out a broader immigration overhaul.

“We know that there is no bargain where we can sacrifice some of our humanity to gain a little more security,” O’Rourke told an emotional El Paso rally he headlined after the Trump protest march. “We know that we deserve to, and will, lose both of them if we do.”

Reyes doesn’t agree with O’Rourke on much but also opposes erecting concrete walls, which Trump has supported in the past.

“We have a lot of slats where you can still see through it,” he said of El Paso. “That helps Border Patrol agents, but it also is supported by people living at the border.”

Author: Breitbart News

Source: Breitbart: Beto O’Rourke Voted to Fund Border Fencing He Now Wants Torn Down

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