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Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A number of Republican Party officials and Trump advisers are studying a trend that has received scant national media coverage but could pose a jarring dilemma for the president: Will Trump have to choose between releasing his tax returns and having his name on the ballot in some blue states for the 2020 election?

Driving the news: Illinois' state senate recently passed a bill that would require people running for president or vice president to disclose their tax returns from the past five years.

The big picture: Illinois is not alone. Per the National Conference of State Legislatures...

"As of February 20, 2017 legislators in 18 states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia) have introduced bills" to require "future presidential candidates to disclose income tax returns in order to be placed on the general election ballot."

The bottom line: None of these bills have been signed into law (yet). But it seems possible — even likely — that at least one blue state might put it in place. And that potential scenario is giving Trump allies pause.

Our thought bubble: Given Trump's determination so far to keep his taxes hidden, it's not crazy to imagine that he'd rather not be on the ballot in a state he's certain to lose than turn over his taxes.

  • Keep your eye on this — as Republican Party officials will surely do.

Go deeper

Updated 59 mins ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

Former Defense Secretary Esper sues Pentagon over book

Former President Trump and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the White House in 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper filed a lawsuit Sunday against the Defense Department, accusing the Pentagon of "censoring" his First Amendment rights by redacting parts of his upcoming book on the Trump administration.

The big picture: Esper, who served as defense secretary from July 2019 until he was fired by then-President Trump in November last year, alleges in the suit that "significant text" is "being improperly withheld from publication" of the manuscript "under the guise of classification."

WHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization regional director for Africa. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The World Health Organization called on countries Sunday to not impose travel bans on southern African nations amid concerns over the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The U.S. and countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific announced travel restrictions in response to Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa. It's since spread to several European countries, Canada, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong. The WHO noted in a statement that only two southern African nations have detected the new variant.