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NATION ROUNDUP: New York puts Democrats a step closer to Trump tax returns

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York lawmakers gave final passage to legislation Wednesday that would allow President Donald Trump’s state tax returns to be released to congressional committees that have, so far, been barred from getting the president’s federal filings.

The Democrat-led Senate and Assembly both approved the measures Wednesday, sending them to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat. A spokesman has said the governor supports the principle behind the legislation but will review the bill carefully before deciding whether to sign it.

The legislation doesn’t target Trump by name, but it would allow the leaders of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee or the Joint Committee on Taxation to get access to any New York state tax returns filed by elected officials and top appointed officials. The legislation would apply to personal income tax returns, as well as business taxes paid in New York.

 

Michael Avenatti charged with defrauding Stormy Daniels

NEW YORK — Michael Avenatti, the attorney who rocketed to fame through his representation of porn star Stormy Daniels in her battles with President Donald Trump, was charged Wednesday with ripping her off.

Federal prosecutors in New York City say Avenatti used a doctored document to divert about $300,000 that Daniels was supposed to get from a book deal, then used the money for personal and business expenses. Only half of that money was paid back, prosecutors said.

Daniels isn’t named in the court filing, but the details of the case, including the date her book was released, make it clear that she is the client involved.

Avenatti denied the allegations on Twitter.

“No monies relating to Ms. Daniels were ever misappropriated or mishandled. She received millions of dollars worth of legal services and we spent huge sums in expenses. She directly paid only $100.00 for all that she received. I look forward to a jury hearing the evidence,” he wrote.

Avenatti added in a later tweet that his agreement for representing Daniels “included a percentage of any book proceeds.”

 

3 minutes: Trump meeting with Democrats goes bust in a flash

WASHINGTON — The curtains in the Cabinet Room were drawn. The Democrats were waiting. And President Donald Trump came and went in three minutes, never stopping to sit down or shake hands.

Trump’s angry walkout on Wednesday left behind a shattered bipartisan infrastructure effort and an escalation of tension between the president and the congressional Democrats investigating him. He barked at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for earlier suggesting he was involved in a “cover-up” and headed to the Rose Garden for an impromptu news conference in which he declared that he would not work with Democrats if they continue with their probes.

“I don’t do cover-ups,” Trump said. “You can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with.”

Trump’s anger had been building well before he stepped into the Cabinet Room for a follow-up meeting with Democrats about an infrastructure deal that both parties already suspected was on life support.

 

‘American Taliban’ John Walker Lindh to be released

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — John Walker Lindh, the young Californian who became known as the American Taliban after he was captured by U.S. forces in the invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, is set to go free after nearly two decades in prison.

But conditions imposed recently on Lindh’s release, slated for Thursday, make clear that authorities remain concerned about the threat he could pose once free.

Lindh, now 38, converted to Islam as a teenager after seeing the film “Malcolm X” and went overseas to study Arabic and the Quran. In November 2000, he went to Pakistan and from there made his way to Afghanistan. He joined the Taliban and was with them on Sept. 11, 2001, when al-Qaida terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The U.S. attacked Afghanistan after the country failed to turn over al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Lindh was captured in a battle with Northern Alliance fighters in late 2001. He was present when a group of Taliban prisoners launched an attack that killed Johnny Micheal “Mike” Spann, a CIA officer who had been interrogating Lindh and other Taliban prisoners.

 

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