Wednesday, May 22, 2019

What we know so far about Trump’s tax returns, explained

According to Josh Dawsey and Jeff Stein of the Washington Post, an internal IRS legal memo agrees with most outside observers that the Treasury Department has no legal standing to reject congressional Democrats’ request to hand over President Donald Trump’s tax returns. The 10-page memo, according to the Post, states that the law “does not allow the Secretary to exercise discretion in disclosing the information provided the statutory conditions are met.” It says that conceivably the White House could try to mount some kind of executive privilege claim but that the Treasury secretary’s stated rationale for refusing to comply...

Australia’s conservative party retains power in shocking election result

The Australian federal election has delivered a shocking result, with the right-wing Liberal-National government expected to return to power for a third term despite polls and odds having strongly favored the opposition Labor Party. Votes are still being counted; although no side has a majority, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition (also known simply as the Coalition) is projected to win enough seats in the House of Representatives to form either a majority or minority government. In the case of a minority government, the Coalition would hold fewer than the required 76 seats needed for majority rule, and would have...

Vox Sentences: The US’s attack on Huawei

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions. Huawei is dealt another blow in the international market as Google moves against it; Australia’s conservative party emerges from the country’s election as the surprising winner. Google restricts Huawei’s access to its services Ethan Miller/Getty Images Google is restricting Huawei’s access to its services after Trump’s administration blacklisted the company. ...

America’s first-ever public option, explained by Gov. Jay Inslee

A first-of-its-kind Obamacare “public option” will be implemented in Washington state after Gov. Jay Inslee last week signed into law a bill creating the new health care program. The program will be a trial run for this kind of health care expansion, which has become something close to the bare minimum for Democratic presidential candidates. Pretty much everybody in the race, from Joe Biden to Bernie Sanders, supports a public option. Now Inslee, who is running for president on a climate change-focused platform, can boast that he has actually put it into practice. Here is how the “public option” plan —...

Game of Thrones finally acknowledged Ghost as the very good dog...

Game of Thrones’ series finale, “The Iron Throne,” didn’t exactly deliver the ending that many fans expected. But there was at least one character who got justice after being treated horribly in an earlier episode: Jon Snow’s beloved direwolf, Ghost. Ghost became the subject of social media outrage after the final season’s fourth episode, “The Last of the Starks,” saw his owner, Jon Snow, give the animal to Tormund and send him north to Castle Black — all without so much as a pat on the head goodbye. In an effort to explain why Game of Thrones chose not to show...

Trump and top Republicans distance themselves from Alabama’s controversial abortion law

Days after Alabama’s government passed a near-total ban on abortion, President Donald Trump and other prominent Republican lawmakers are staking out their more lenient positions on the issue. Saturday night Trump sent out a series of tweets explaining his stance on reproductive rights while warning that Republicans will suffer if the party cannot get on the same page. “I am strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions — Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother — the same position taken by Ronald Reagan,” he wrote. “We must stick together and Win for Life in 2020. If we are foolish and...

Joe Biden uses his campaign kickoff to argue Americans want unity

Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden officially kicked off his 2020 campaign with a Saturday rally in Pennsylvania, birthplace of both himself and the Declaration of Independence, and home to his campaign headquarters. The former vice president used the speech to push his “unity” theme, hitting directly back at those who criticize his desire to reach across the aisle, as well as highlighting his links to Barack Obama. Many have argued that Biden’s desire to return to consensus politics is naive, including Lee Drutman here at Vox, who explained why Biden’s “epiphany” theory — that Republicans will have an epiphany about the...

Ball State University party shooting: what we know

At least seven people were injured, three in a life-threatening fashion, in a shooting near Indiana’s Ball State University overnight. According to local NBC affiliate WTHR, the shooting occurred at a large off-campus house party, with shots fired inside the house around 12:45 am. Police say they are still working to piece together what happened, as most witnesses heard but did not see the shooting. What we know The shooting happened around 12:45 am Eastern Standard Time after an argument escalated, leading one attendee to withdraw his gun and start shooting. Three victims sustained life-threatening injuries, including one of who had to be...

Vox Sentences: How do you score privilege?

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions. The College Board attempts to tackle inequality in admissions; the Philippines and Canada are in a spat over trash. Can an “adversity score” tackle inequality in college admissions? Ute Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images Students applying to college will now receive an “adversity score” from the College Board to measure their social and...

Trump blames Obama for not warning him about Michael Flynn. Which...

President Donald Trump wants you to believe that he had no way of knowing about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s shady dealings with Russia before he made him his first national security adviser. In reality, the president is trying to rewrite history. On Friday, Trump tweeted his lament that nobody warned him about Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who was dismissed from his job as director of national intelligence by then-President Barack Obama in 2014. After his dismissal, Flynn wasted little time cozying up to the Kremlin, and then spent 2016 as one of Trump’s key campaign surrogates. “It...