News Roundup 02/06/19
1. House Intelligence Chair Announces Sweeping Investigation Into Trump’s Finances and Russia
According to CNN, House Committee Chairman Adam Schiff announced on Wednesday that he and his committee would be undertaking a broad investigation into whether or not President Trump’s actions are motivated by his finances. In a statement, Schiff said that the investigation would allow the committee to determine whether Trump or members of his staff are making important decisions based on financial gains. More investigation into Russia’s behavior during the 2016 election will also be included in Schiff’s investigation. Schiff’s statement is a more detailed look at how Democrats in Congress plan to investigate Trump’s financials and probable connections to foreign entities. This also provides insight into how the Democrats have decided to continue investigating President Trump and his associates after the Mueller investigation is over.
2. Judge Calls a 13 Year Old Victim the “Aggressor” in a Sex Solicitation Case With a 67-Year-Old man
According to a judge in Kansas, the victims in a sex abuse case involving a 67-year-old man were the aggressors in this situation. The man, Raymond Soden, was convicted of exchanging Facebook messages with the 13-year-old girl about paying her and her friends for nude pictures of themselves. According to the court transcripts gotten by Buzzfeed News, Leavenworth County District Judge Michael Gibbens made the statements during court proceedings on December 4 as he granted Soden’s request for a sentence reduction. Soden ended up being sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison, which is 8 years shorter than what is recommended in Kansas sentencing guidelines. Gibbens stated that the girls were “selling things monetarily that it’s against the law for even an adult to sell.”
3. Virginia in Tumult as Democrats Engulfed in Controversy
Every one of Virginia’s three statewide elected leaders are trying to save their political lives in the middle of a quickly developing crises that puts their own survival and their party’s election chances later on in the year in jeopardy. Both Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and Attorney General Mark Herring (D) are being pushed to resign after they admitted to putting on black face back in the 1980’s. In a separate incident that took place on Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax faced accusations of a sexual assault from 2004. This all began when a racist photo on Northam’s medical school yearbook page. Northam apologized at first, but then came back and denied that he was the one in the picture while admitting that he wore blackface to a dance party where he was dressed as Michael Jackson. By Monday, Fairfax was denying that he sexually assaulted a woman at the Democratic National Convention held in Boston in 2004.
Link: The Hill
4. Why Millions of People Are Getting Hit With a Surprising Tax Bill This Year
Americans who are accustomed to getting a tax refund usually file their taxes early on in the year (January-early February) might be shocked to learn that they actually owe money to the IRS this year. While the new tax law does mean that some people are paying higher taxes, this particular issue deals with tax refunds instead of total taxes that are paid. Getting a refund or having to pay extra to the IRS depends on how much you owe in total, as well as how much is taken out of your check on paydays. The important part of this story is that because of the new tax law, the Treasury Department made changes to things so that the average amount of taxes taken out of paychecks is now less than how much the person actually owes in total.
5. Mueller Prosecutor Leaves Investigation in Latest Sign Investigation is Winding Down
A criminal appellate prosecutor that was involved in the subpoena fight in relation to the investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election left the detail in December, according to the special counsel’s office. The departure of Scott Meisler is one of the many signals that the investigation is coming to an end. Of the 17 prosecutors that were brought on board for the investigation in May 2017, Meisler is the fourth one to leave the office. Even though he is no longer directly involved with the special counsel, he is still working with the Justice Department and on cases that are somehow related to the Mueller investigation. There are other parts of the Justice Department that are becoming more involved in matters began by Mueller.