Oct 11, 2019

Axios PM

Happy Friday! Today's newsletter — edited by Shane Savitsky — is 603 words, a 2.5-minute read.

🇨🇳 Situational awareness: "The U.S. and China reached a partial agreement Friday that would broker a truce in the trade war and lay the groundwork for a broader deal." (Bloomberg)

  • President Trump, alongside Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, told reporters in the Oval Office that it was "a very substantial phase one deal." (WSJ)
1 big thing: The fight for Trump's taxes

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A panel of federal appeals judges upheld this morning a House subpoena for President Trump's financial records to Mazars USA, the president's longtime accounting firm.

  • Why it matters: Unless the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals hears the case or the Supreme Court takes it up on appeal from Trump's legal team, the president could lose his long, bitter fight to keep his finances private.

It's just one of many ongoing battles to gain access to Trump's tax returns and financial records — but it might be Democrats' best chance.

  • House Democrats have sought financial records for Trump, his family members and his businesses via Deutsche Bank in federal court in New York. But the court indicated in a ruling this week that Deutsche Bank is not in possession of the president's tax returns.
  • Trump won an emergency stay from a federal appeals court earlier this week after losing a key ruling in a case brought by Manhattan's district attorney for 8 years of the president's personal and corporate tax returns. The case is awaiting "expedited review" by a court panel.
  • The House Ways and Means Committee sued the Treasury Department in July to compel the IRS to turn over 6 years of Trump's tax returns. That case is awaiting a hearing next month.

California and New York have passed their own laws to attempt to get a look at Trump's taxes, but both have faced quick lawsuits from the president — resulting in injunctions while the cases proceed.

The other side: The Trump administration's position is that the requests for his returns serve no "legitimate legislative purpose," and therefore don't have to be fulfilled.

  • The Justice Department also says it's for this reason that Congress can't subpoena the documents.

What we do know: A decade of Trump's tax documents received by the New York Times in May revealed that he racked up $1.17 billion in losses from 1985 to 1994.

  • He seems to have lost enough money that he was able to avoid paying income taxes for 8 of the 10 years.
Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Alastair Grant/WPA Pool/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes part in an art class at a primary school in Beaconsfield, England.

2. What you missed
  1. Former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch told 3 House committees that President Trump pressured a top State Department official to oust her in May. What she said.
  2. EU ambassador Gordon Sondland plans to make an appearance before the same committees next week, defying a State Department order. The context.
  3. A federal judge blocked the Trump administration's proposed rule to deny residency to immigrants who use or are likely to use public benefit programs. Details.
  4. Defense Secretary Mark Esper urged Turkey to stop its offensive in northern Syria and insisted the U.S. had "not abandoned the Kurds." Go deeper.
  5. The 2020 presidential debate schedule includes a stop in the key battleground of Michigan. Where they're heading.
3. 1 turn-of-the-decade thing

Beyoncé performs on stage during the "On the Run II" tour in Cardiff last year. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images For Parkwood Entertainment

It's only October, but this week has seen a slew of publications kick off the turn-of-the-decade debate a little early by releasing their lists of the best albums of the 2010s.

Pitchfork's top 3:

  1. "Blonde" by Frank Ocean (2016)
  2. "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" by Kanye West (2010)
  3. "Beyoncé" by Beyoncé (2013)

Paste's top 3:

  1. "To Pimp a Butterfly" by Kendrick Lamar (2015)
  2. "Lemonade" by Beyoncé (2016)
  3. "This Is Happening" by LCD Soundsystem (2010)

Uproxx's top 3:

  1. "Good Kid, M.A.A.D City" by Kendrick Lamar (2012)
  2. "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" by Kanye West (2010)
  3. "Red" by Taylor Swift (2012)