As pressure mounts on Trump to post some victories within the totally arbitrary window of the “First 100 Days” of his administration, the President is expected to join Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin later this afternoon to sign a combination of executive orders and memos targeting the reduction of tax regulations and certain components of Dodd-Frank.
Per a statement from the White House, one of Trump’s new executive orders will seek to undo tax rules put in place in the last year of Obama’s presidency that were designed to limit so-called ‘corporate inversions’ which allows U.S. traded companies to recognize income in lower cost countries like Ireland. Per Bloomberg:
Under President Barack Obama, Treasury sought to rein in U.S. companies’ attempts to shift their profit offshore by proposing rules that would curb so-called “earnings stripping” and inversions — mergers in which U.S. companies transfer their tax address overseas to low-tax countries like Ireland to cut their tax bills.
Some of those rules, first proposed in April 2016, sought to restrict lending among subsidiaries of the same corporate parent, a technique that can create income in low-tax countries and tax-deductible interest payments in the U.S. The proposed rules met a barrage of criticism from corporations and tax lawyers, who complained that they went too far by banning common, everyday cash-management practices that have nothing to do with tax avoidance.
Amid the criticism, Treasury last October softened the proposed rules to allow cash pooling, a common corporate money-management technique in which excess cash in subsidiaries is swept daily into a single pool. It also delayed a related proposal, which would require companies to extensively document their related-party lending, until Jan. 1, 2018.
From Russian ties to business conflicts of interests, both Democrats and Republicans are actively working to find chinks in the President’s armor.
But for those with hope of change in their hearts, Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein says there is a possibility that Trump will eventually remove himself from office by filing his own resignation.
Speaking to a crowd during a town hall-style Questions and Answers session, Feinstein was asked how Congress is going to deal with Trump’s alleged illegal activities:
Journalist: We don’t know what’s happening but we know that he is breaking laws every day, he’s making money at Mar-a-lago, he’s getting copyrights in China, he has obvious dealings with Russia, the Dakota pipeline… there’s some many things that he’s doing that are unconstitutional… how are we going to get him out?
Feinstein:We have a lot of people looking at this… Technical people… I think he’s going to get himself out… I think sending sons to another country to make a financial deal for his company and then have that covered with government expenses… I think those government expenses should not be allowed.. we are working on a bill that will deal with conflict of interest… it’s difficult…
Videos of Feinstein speaking to what appears to be a local press pool of reporters and protesters appear below. You can jump to 1:30 in the first video to listen to Feinstein discuss Trump’s conflicts of interests, or watch from the beginning to hear Feinstein’s response to how her husband’s firm directly benefited from bills she voted into law, proving once again that the hypocrisy of socialist Congressional representatives from California has no bounds…
In the latest legal setback for the President, moments ago Trump’s latest attempt to temporarily bar new immigrants and refugees from six Muslim-majority nations was blocked by a Hawaii Federal Judge, pushing the young administration toward a second defeat on one of the president’s core campaign platforms.
U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson froze the order nationwide
Anyone who has taken their children to Disney world in the U.S. has felt the pressure to go on “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.” Based on the character from the children’s classic, “The Wind in the Willows,” Mr. Toad is the reckless scion of the largest building in the forest, Toad Hall. Fabulously wealthy, he buys a car to impress his friends, although he has no idea how to drive. He loads his companions into the vehicle, liberally honking the horn as he careens on a path of destruction, heedless of the damage he does and exhilarated by the fear he engenders.
U.S. trade policy is now on “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” with the difference being that the Disney version ends where it began, with no harm done. The Trump administration’s lack of predictability and indifference to global risk is the new normal. Nowhere does President Donald Trump’s trade policy carry a greater risk than in the interplay of the world’s two largest economies, the U.S. and China.
Out of disbelief or disorientation, markets have examined the Trump challenge to U.S.-China trade and concluded it is manageable. That conclusion ignores the consequences of a decisive turn in U.S. policy toward Trump’s version of “America First” isolationism and trade protection, coupled with his apparent animosity toward China and his failure to view the relationship within a wider context. Further, it rejects the belief that the direction of Trump’s China and trade policy is real and durable, even though it was central to the argument that won him the presidency.
Even before he seeks new legislation from Congress, Trump has an impressive range of options in dealing with Chinese trade issues. These include:
The US Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump’s nomination for treasury secretary, a former Goldman Sachs banker and hedge fund manager.
The Senate confirmed Steve Mnuchin’s nomination to be secretary of the Department of the Treasury by a vote of 53-47.
Mr Mnuchin spent 17 years at Goldman before becoming a hedge fund manager, film financier and chairman of Pasadena-based OneWest Bank. His confirmation as secretary means that former Goldman employees hold two of the top economic jobs in the US, as former president and chief operating officer Gary Cohn left the bank to become director of the White House’s National Economic Council.
U.S. President Donald Trump criticized on Saturday the action of a federal judge in Seattle blocking Trump’s executive order banning anyone from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States, calling it “ridiculous” and vowing to overturn it.
Trump said on Twitter, “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned.”
The bench order to lift the travel restriction was issued Friday. It suspends the executive order that Trump signed, banning travelers from the seven countries from entering the United States for 90 days, and refugees for 120 days, triggering a wave of protests across the United States.
Nearly 60,000 people had their U.S. visas cancelled due to the travel ban, the State Department said Friday.
The people will continue to be affected while the U.S. government reviews its screening process for admitting travelers from Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya and refugees from any country, the department said.
Update: The White House has just released a statement confirming this is similar to President Obama’s plan…
President Donald J. Trump Statement Regarding Recent Executive Order Concerning Extreme Vetting
“America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. America has always been the land of the free and home of the brave. We will keep it free and keep it safe, as the media knows, but refuses to say.
My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.
The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror.
To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days. I have tremendous feeling for the people involved in this horrific humanitarian crisis in Syria. My first priority will always be to protect and serve our country, but as President I will find ways to help all those who are suffering.”
As we detailed earlier, a president who chooses to ban immigrant refugees from majority-Muslim nations on the basis of national security and fears over terrorism is – according to the mainstream media and 1000s of Americans at various protests today – a vicious, soul-less, fascist, Islamophobic racist, and as bad as hitler (we are paraphrasing).
Having taken on the Keystone pipeline and America’s struggling manufacturing sector in a flurry of executive actions on Tuesday, moments ago Reuters reported, citing several congressional aides and immigration experts briefed on the matter, that on Wednesday Donald Trump will sign several executive orders restricting immigration. The president is expected to sign the orders at the Washington headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security, whose responsibilities include immigration and border security.
Trump’s orders are said to involve restricting access to the United States for refugees and some visa holders from seven mostly Muslim nations including Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Additionally, Trump’s restrictions on refugees are likely to include a multi-month ban on admissions from all countries until the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security can increase the intensity of the vetting process.
During his presidential campaign, Trump initially proposed a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States to protect Americans from jihadist attacks. Many Trump supporters decried Democratic President Barack Obama’s decision to increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States over fears that those fleeing the country’s civil war would carry out attacks. However, since then both Trump and his nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, have said they would focus the restrictions on countries whose emigres could pose a threat rather than placing a ban on people who follow a specific religion.
As Reuters adds, to block entry from the designated countries, Trump is likely to instruct the U.S. State Department to stop issuing visas to people from those nations, according to sources familiar with the visa process. He could also instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop any current visa holders from those countries from entering the United States. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Tuesday that the State and Homeland Security departments would work on the vetting process once Trump’s nominee to head the State Department, Rex Tillerson, is installed.
The latest diplomatic spat between the US and China erupted overnight, when China said on Tuesday it had “irrefutable” sovereignty over disputed islands in the South China Sea after White House spokesman Sean Spicer vowed to defend “international territories” in the strategic waterway. Spicer’s first official comments on Monday signaled a sharp departure from years of cautious U.S. handling of China’s assertive pursuit of territorial claims in Asia.
“The U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there,” Spicer said when asked if Trump agreed with comments by his secretary of state nominee, Rex Tillerson. Two weeks ago, Tillerson said China should not be allowed access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea.
“It’s a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country,” Spicer said.
This led to the now traditional escalating Chinese response, when, as cited by Reuters, the country’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing on Tuesday “the United States is not a party to the South China Sea dispute”.
“It’s a great thing for the American worker, what we just did,” Trump said on Monday after signing an order withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord with 11 other nations. He didn’t sign any actions to direct a renegotiation of the Nafta accord with Mexico and Canada, yet he said on Sunday he would begin talks with the two leaders on modifying the accord, BBG reported. “We’ve been talking about this a long time,” Trump said.
As the AP notes, the move is basically a formality, since the agreement had yet to receive required Senate ratification. Trade experts say that approval was unlikely to happen given voters’ anxiety about trade deals and the potential for job losses. It remains unclear if Trump would seek individual deals with the 11 other nations in TPP— a group that represents roughly 13.5 percent of the global economy, according to World Bank figures. Trump has blamed past trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization for a decline in U.S. factory jobs.
Trump’s trade focus fulfills a campaign promise to rewrite America’s trade policy during his first days as president. In declaring his determination to renegotiate Nafta, Trump would rework an agreement that has governed commerce in much of the Western hemisphere for 22 years. By scrapping the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord negotiated by former President Barack Obama, Trump will delight many of his most fervent supporters as well as a good many Democrats, while opening an economic vacuum in Asia that China is eager to fill.
Trump campaigned against the TPP and other trade deals, including Nafta, during his campaign for the White House. In a video released in November, Trump promised to exit TPP “on day one,” calling it “a potential disaster for our country.”