The Note: Trump’s tax day

PHOTO: President Donald J. Trump and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin walk back to the White House after the President signed Executive Orders concerning financial services at the Department of the Treasury in Washington, DC on April 21, 2017.PlayRon Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
WATCH White House to unveil tax reform blueprint


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Day No. 97

THE BIG STORY: The tax reform push is shaping up as the purest slice of the Trump agenda yet, an effort, mostly independent of Congress, to distill the president’s ideas into a bold legislative concept. As such, it appears disjointed and haphazard, not to mention mixed up with the stop-and-start health care push and the lingering need to keep the government’s lights on. Wedged together are major corporate tax cuts, individual tax cuts, expanded deductions and even Ivanka Trump’s favored child-care tax credit. The so-called “pay-fors,” ideas including the border-adjustment tax, look like they’ll be left out. The package looks unlikely to comply with congressional budget rules, making the tricky politics even more complicated. As for deficit hawks, they’ll be left out or called out as this proceeds. But this is the big Trump play; that he and his team can sell reforms whose only ideology is President Trump himself.

THE SLEEPER STORY: Beating up on former national security adviser Michael Flynn may seem easy enough, now that he’s gone. Still, Tuesday’s bipartisan slap-down of Flynn by the chairman and ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee was startling, and sweeping in its implications. Flynn is in very real legal trouble, just based on the classified documents Congress has reviewed showing a failure to disclose or seek permission for accepting payments from an arm of the Russian government. And, of course, the story goes on for other Trump associates, and the Trump White House itself. According to the oversight committee, the White House is refusing to provide requested documents that may show what the Trump transition effort knew about Flynn’s contacts with foreign governments. As that gets caught up in a separation-of-powers argument, remember that the FBI is still on the case as well. Another sign the story won’t disappear: 39 percent in the new ABC News-Washington Post poll believe the Trump campaign intentionally tried to assist efforts by Russia to influence the election.

THE SHINY STORY: You almost can’t make it up. A major piece of White House messaging, in arguing the case for a high-impact first 100 days, is the number of executive orders signed by President Trump. It’s 30, by the White House count, compared with only 19 in the same period signed by President Obama. You almost have to not look for old Trump quotes, or conservative critiques of executive overreach, to miss the ironies. (“I don't like them. And our country wasn't based on executive orders,” Trump said in January 2016.) And now comes a fresh rebuke from the courts, ruling that the Department of Justice can’t withhold grant money from so-called sanctuary cities. Trump was on Twitter early today blasting the “ridiculous rulings” by judges that blocked this and the travel ban. So, yes, the president is not only touting his own executive orders as evidence of accomplishments but also touting actions that federal judges are blocking as unconstitutional. The courts, it seems, continue to take the president literally.

TLDR: It’s tax day, a few days late, as the White House unveils a tax reform plan today that will include corporate and individual tax cuts, plus Ivanka Trump’s favored child care tax credit.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: While in Berlin Tuesday, first daughter and assistant to the president Ivanka Trump also visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. In this image the director of the foundation leads her through the memorial. She went there after participating at the Women 20 Summit where she was greeted by jeers at one point during her panel discussion. (Michael Sohn/AP Photo)

PHOTO: Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser of U.S. President Donald Trump, touches a stllee when visiting the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe after she participated in the W20 Summit in Berlin, April 25, 2017. Michael Sohn/AP Photo
Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser of U.S. President Donald Trump, touches a stllee when visiting the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe after she participated in the W20 Summit in Berlin, April 25, 2017.


--HAPPENING TODAY- WHITE HOUSE SET TO UNVEIL TAX REFORM BLUEPRINT: The White House will unveil its much-anticipated blueprint for President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan Wednesday. Administration officials are calling this a "first draft" -- an outline of priorities and principles. It won't be draft legislation. In the final hours leading up to its release, some key parts were still a work in progress. But with excitement on Wall Street, and the president looking to build momentum ahead of his 100th day, aides are planning coordinated public relations blitz, explain ABC's JONATHAN KARL and CECILIA VEGA.

--NEW ABC NEWS/WAPO POLL - VIEWS ON RUSSIAN INFLUENCE REFLECT PARTISAN FINGER-POINTING: It’s a partisan cold war right here at home: A majority of Democrats think now-President Donald Trump’s campaign tried to help Russia influence the 2016 election, while a majority of Republicans think former President Barack Obama’s administration spied on the Trump campaign. And fewer than half of Americans -- in either party -- are confident that Congress will sort it all out. Overall, 56 percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll think Russia tried to influence the election, and 39 percent think the Trump campaign intentionally tried to assist such an effort. ABC’s GREGORY HOLYK has more:

--FEDERAL JUDGE RULES TRUMP CANNOT PUNISH SANCTUARY CITIES BY WITHHOLDING FUNDS: A federal judge in San Francisco ruled Tuesday that President Donald Trump cannot punish so-called sanctuary cities by withholding federal funds. The policies of sanctuary cities vary but in most cases provide some protections to unauthorized immigrants by not fully cooperating with federal immigration authorities. Trump has repeatedly called for cutting federal funding to these cities, which include New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, Seattle and Boston. ABC's JULIA JACOBO and AARON KATERSKY have more:

--MIKE FLYNN MAY HAVE VIOLATED LAW OVER RUSSIA PAYMENTS, HOUSE INVESTIGATORS SAY: House Oversight Committee leaders said Tuesday that newly provided classified documents show that President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, may have broken the law when he failed to seek U.S. government permission for or disclose his acceptance of payments from a media organization considered an arm of the Russian government, report ABC's BENJAMIN SIEGEL and JUSTIN FISHEL.


GOP MAKES GOVERNMENT FUNDING OFFER EXCLUDING MONEY FOR WALL. Congressional Republicans have offered Democrats a government funding deal that does not include new funds for the construction of a border wall, according to congressional aides familiar with the offer. The move from GOP leaders comes as Capitol Hill scrambles to pass a government funding measure by midnight Friday to avert a shutdown on President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office, write ABC's ALI ROGIN, BENJAMIN SIEGEL and JONATHAN KARL.

TRUMP VOWS 'WE WILL CONFRONT ANTI-SEMITISM' AT HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL CEREMONY. President Trump vowed to crack down on anti-Semitism during a speech on Capitol Hill as part of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s National Days of Remembrance Tuesday. "This is my pledge to you: We will confront anti-Semitism,” he said. Trump's strongly worded speech comes nearly two months after a series of threats against Jewish community centers across the country and questions about rising anti-Semitism during the course of the election season and the new administration, writes ABC's MEGHAN KENEALLY.

TRUMP PICKS FIGHT WITH CANADA OVER DAIRY PRODUCTS AND TRADE. President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that the United States 'will not stand for' Canadian dairy trade policies that hurt American dairy farm exports, adding that the rules have "made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very difficult." It's the third time in the last week that Trump has bashed America's northern neighbor and close ally for its rules on imported dairy products, explains ABC's RYAN STRUYK.

IVANKA TRUMP DENIES SHE WAS BEHIND FATHER'S DECISION TO STRIKE SYRIA. Ivanka Trump dismissed the idea that her father was influenced in his decision to authorize a strike against Syria because of her reaction to the chemical attack there days prior that killed dozens. "That’s a flawed interpretation," said Ivanka, first daughter and assistant to the president, while on her first foreign trip to Germany on the behalf of President Trump. Ivanka Trump's comments come after her brother Eric Trump said in an interview with "The Daily Telegraph" that a "heartbroken and outraged" Ivanka was the influence behind the president's decision. ABC's JORDYN PHELPS has more:

STATE DEPARTMENT EXPLAINS BLOG POST CRITICS SAID PROMOTED MAR-A-LAGO. The Department of State provided explanation Tuesday for a story posted on one of its blogs that critics said promoted the Mar-a-Lago estate owned by President Donald Trump. State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said that no one was ordered to write the article posted to ShareAmerica, a State Department blog that creates content for embassies and consulates overseas. He added that it was “researched and written by staff members of the International Information Programs bureau,” notes ABC's CONOR FINNEGAN.

BORDER PROTECTION OFFICIAL NAMED AS NEW SECRET SERVICE DIRECTOR. The Trump administration has settled on a new appointment to lead the agency charged with protecting the president. Randolph "Tex" Alles, who currently serves as acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, was announced Tuesday by the White House as its pick to head the Secret Service. Selecting an outsider as director is a big shift for the insular agency, which has long promoted its leaders through the ranks, reports ABC's JACK DATE.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RISING TENSIONS ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA. All 100 U.S. senators will gather Wednesday for a White House briefing on the volatility in North Korea. The meeting -- announced last week and requested by Senate leadership – comes amid the U.S. Navy’s bilateral military exercises with South Korea and Japan, and North Korea’s live-fire drills to celebrate the anniversary of its military's founding. ABC's ELIZABETH MCLAUGHLIN has what you need to know about the situation:

5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MELANIA TRUMP. First Lady Melania Trump has maintained a mostly low profile for the first three months of Donald Trump's presidency, choosing to remain in New York with son Barron so as not to disrupt the 11-year-old's schooling. Like on the campaign trail, when she made infrequent campaign appearances and gave few interviews, she has largely avoided the spotlight, a departure from her high-profile modeling days early in her career when she made regular stops in places like Paris and London. As the first lady turns 47 years-old today, ABC's MEGHAN KENEALLY notes a few fast facts to know about her.


@marykbruce: By the end of the day, the full Congress will have been briefed on NK. After Senate briefing at WH, full House will be briefed at Capitol

@DavidWright_CNN: .@HallieJackson asks Ivanka Trump about US accepting Syrian refugees: IVANKA: "That has to be part of the discussion." (@TODAYshow)

@akarl_smith: White House readout of a call between Trump and Trudeau: "It was a very amicable call"

@realDonaldTrump: First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings. See you in the Supreme Court!