Sunday's politics & policy stories

How the coronavirus could shield Trump's tax returns

The Supreme Court canceled all oral arguments through early April due to COVID-19. Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty Images

Here's an under-the-radar side effect of the coronavirus pandemic: It might spare President Trump from having to release his tax returns before the election.

Why it matters: The Supreme Court was supposed to hear arguments last month over whether House Democrats had the legal authority to subpoena Trump's financial records.

Inside Trump's virtual 2020 campaign

Screenshot of a virtual campaign broadcast.

The Trump campaign is now doing online broadcasts seven nights a week — filling a void in physical events and field organizing due to the coronavirus.

Why it matters: So far, these online broadcasts, which have not yet featured the president, have regularly gotten more than 1 million views across all social platforms, according to the campaign.

Navy Capt. Brett Crozier tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Mai/Mai/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

Navy Capt. Brett E. Crozier has tested positive for the coronavirus just days after losing command of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, the New York Times reports, citing two of his Naval Academy classmates.

Why it matters: The ship has seen more than 100 cases of coronavirus on board, and all sailors remaining on the ship must test negative for the disease before being evacuated.

Clyburn says House coronavirus committee won't investigate Trump

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the coronavirus committee created by Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will oversee how the $2 trillion stimulus bill is distributed during the pandemic, not the federal government's initial response to the virus.

What he's saying: "This is not about the president of the United States or even the independent counsel or the inspector general. This is about focusing on how the money is spent, whether or not the people who are getting the money are actually working on behalf of the American people, or whether or not they are profiteering."

Cuomo says New York is "literally going day-to-day with our supplies"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference on Sunday that New York is struggling to maintain medical supplies while combatting the novel coronavirus — operating "literally" on a "day-to-day" basis.

Why it matters: New York City has become an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, facing mass quarantines and stay-at-home orders. Cuomo said Saturday that New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths.

Illinois governor: "The president does not understand the word 'federal'"

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that President Trump's comments about the federal government's stockpile of medical equipment suggest he "does not understand the word 'federal.'"

Why it matters: White House adviser Jared Kushner argued at a press briefing last week that the "notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile; it’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use."

Biden says he'll follow CDC mask guidance: "Listen to the Faucis of the world"

Joe Biden said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that he will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new recommendation that people wear face coverings when they leave home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: After the White House announced the guideline last week, President Trump said he will likely not wear a mask and emphasized that the guidance was "voluntary."

Trump defends firing intel community watchdog as lawmakers demand answers

President Donald Trump answers questions in the press briefing room of the White House. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump doubled down on Saturday on his decision to fire Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, calling the official a "disgrace" for his handling of the whistleblower complaint that triggered his impeachment.

Why it matters: The move is part of a broader push to purge the administration of officials deemed disloyal to the president. But both Democratic and Republican lawmakers are demanding an explanation over his latest action.

Trump blasts U.S. Navy captain who sounded alarm about coronavirus

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday said he agreed with the Pentagon's decision to relieve Capt. Brett Crozier of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt after the captain sent a letter to officials pleading for help as members of his crew contracted the coronavirus.

What he's saying: "The letter was a five-page letter from a captain, and the letter was all over the place," Trump said at a White House briefing on Saturday. "That's not appropriate. I don't think that's appropriate. And these are tough people. These are tough, strong people. I thought it looked terrible, to be honest with you."

Trump considers billionaire ally Steve Feinberg for senior intel role

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump is seriously considering installing billionaire investor Steve Feinberg in a senior role at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, according to four sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Feinberg would enter the ODNI at an especially fraught time — during a pandemic, an election year, and during a period where Trump has a deeply frayed relationship with his intelligence community.

The stimulus package has a college gap

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Congress’ CARES Act will send one-time relief checks to most Americans. But many adults who are tax dependents won’t get a cut of the more than $300 billion set to be distributed in direct payments.

Yes, but: Adults who can be claimed as dependents on another person's tax return don't qualify either for the $1,200 checks or for the $500 add-on for each child.

47% of U.S. foreign-born population in past decade was college-educated

Last July 4, Vice President Pence and Karen Pence posed with new Americans after a naturalization ceremony at the National Archives. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Nearly half of the foreign-born population that moved to the U.S. over the 10-year stretch from 2010 to 2019 went to college, a level of education greatly exceeding immigrants from previous decade, AP reports.

Why it matters: The arrival of highly skilled workers supplanted workers in fields like construction that shrunk after the Great Recession.

Trump's new purge

Michael Atkinson, arrives in October for closed-door questioning about the whistleblower complaint. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sources close to President Trump expect him to fire more inspectors general across his government, after his Friday night removal of Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community I.G. who alerted Congress to the complaint that triggered impeachment.

What they're saying: Conservative allies of the president have told him that these I.G.s are members of the “deep state” trying to undermine him. Trump appears to have embraced that view.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Apr 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Barr orders broadened use of home confinement as coronavirus hits prisons

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr instructed the Bureau of Prisons on Friday to expand the use of home confinement and accelerate the release of eligible, high-risk inmates at three federal correctional facilities struck by the coronavirus, AP reports.

The state of play: As of Friday evening, 91 inmates and 50 staff had tested positive for COVID-19 at federal prisons across the U.S., per the agency.

Biden says he's starting VP search this month

Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson / Staff

Joe Biden said he's spoken to Sen. Bernie Sanders and former President Barack Obama about selecting a running mate — and that he wants to build "a bench of younger, really qualified people" who can lead the nation over the course of the next four presidential cycles.

Driving the news: Biden spoke about the state of the 2020 race during a virtual fundraiser on Friday night that was opened to pooled coverage.

Trump ousting intelligence community inspector general

Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community. Photo: Bill Clark / Getty Images

President Trump notified key lawmakers on Friday that he’s firing Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, who first alerted Congress last September of an "urgent" complaint from an official involving Trump's correspondence with the Ukrainian president.

Why it matters: The move, to take effect in 30 days, comes amid a broader initiative to purge the administration of officials seen as disloyal to the president.

Trump invokes DPA to target "wartime profiteers" of medical equipment

President Trump answers questions from reporters on April 3. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump accused "wartime profiteers" of buying, hoarding and exporting medical equipment and protective gear on Friday, in a Defense Production Act directive for FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security to prevent such conduct.

The big picture: Health care workers and the federal government are scrambling to stretch limited inventories of medical equipment to fight the coronavirus crisis, as the U.S. is unlikely to be able to manufacture enough medical masks and ventilators in time for a surge in demand expected to hit in mid-April.