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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  March 15, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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03/15/17 03/15/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> the critical point in our history, already at the beginning of the year, we are the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the united nations. now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine. without collective and corrugated global efforts, peopople will s simply starved o death. amy: as donald trump seeksks to
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cut $20 billion in funding or is united nations, the u.n. facing an unprecedented crisis as nigeria, smiley, south sudan, and yemen all face famine at the same time. we will get the latest. plus, we will speak with pulitzer prize-winning investigative journalist david cay johnston, who just obtained two pages of donald trumps 2005 tax returns. it shows most of the taxes trump paid were due to a special tax on high earners that he is now trying to abolish. but is there any hope the nation will see more of trump's tax information? pres. trump: the old one who cares about my tax returns are the reporters. the only one. i won. i mean, i became president.. i don't think they care at all. i don't think they care at all. i think you care. i think you care. amy: and we help -- look at how the state of arkansas is looking to execute eight men in 10 days. arkansas says the state supply of the sedative midazolam will
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soon expire. all of that and more coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. calls are growing for president trump to release his full tax returnrns after r part of his 25 return was made public tuesday. two pages from trump's tax return were obtained by pulitzer prize winning journalist david cay johnston of dcreport who appeared last night on the rachel maddow show on msnbc. the 2005 tax return shows trump earned $153 million -- or more than $400,000 a day. trump paid out $36.6 million in federal income taxes, much of it in the form of what's known as the alternative minimum tax, which trump now wants to eliminate. the document also shows trump wrote off more than $100 million in business losses to reduce h s federal taxes. this morning, presidenent trump tweeted -- "does anyone really believe a reporter who nobody heard of which was mailbox and found my
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tax returns?" that is despite the fact the white house confirmed the authenticity of the documents tuesday after maddow teased the scoop. the white house continues to refuse to release any other tax returns from trump. we'll have more on trump's tax returns later in the broadcast with journalist david cay johnston. house republicans are demanding changes to the republican plan to repeal and replace the affordable care act after the congressional budget office said the plan would l lead 24 million people to lose their healtlth insurance within a decade. some republicans pulled their support following monday's report, including florida congresswoman ileana ros-lehtinen, who tweeted -- "as written the plan leaves too many from my district uninsured." during a news briefing tuesday, white house press secretary sean spicer conceded that millions would lose their health insurance under the plan as it is currently written. this is spicer being questioned by cnn's jim acosta. >> s so getting back to thee congngressionanal budget offffie score, would you concede that there will be some coverage lolosses?
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ofthat there will be millions people who will not have e healh insurance as a result of what you're doing? again, sure, except you have to look at the current situation. you are mandated by law to buy insurance right now under obamacare. amy: demonstrations against the republican effort to repeal and replace obamacare continued as hundreds braved a blizzard to tuesday protest outside house speaker paul ryan's office in racine, wisconsin. also on tuesday, president trump's pick to run medicare and medicaid seema verma was sworn in by vice president mike pence after she was confirmed by the senate monday. verma's health policy firm helped design indiana's medicaid expansion under the affordable cacare act, during which t timee worked closely with vice president-elect mike pence. president trump is looking at appointing marc mukasey, who has represented former fox news chairman roger ailes, to replace preet bharara as the u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york.
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bharara was heading up an investigation into fox news at the time trump fired him after bharara refused to resign. if nominated and confirmed, mukasey likely be e forced to recuse himself from the ongoing investigation into whether fox news failed to inform shareholders about numerous settlements of some of the more than 20 women who have accused roger ailes of sexual harassment. meanwhile, michigan democratic congressman john conyers is demanding the justice department reveal all pending investigations into the trump administration and the trump family's businesses. in a statement issued saturday, congressmember john conyers cited the firing of manhattan u.s. attorney preet bharara, writing -- "it is particularly problematic that the administration would fire mr. bharara, given that mr. bharara could be reviewing a range of potential improper activity emanating from trump tower and the trump campaign, as well as entities with financial ties to the president or the trump organization." commerce and conyers wrote --
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trump has tapped goldman sachs banker james donovan to be deputy treasury secretary. if confirmed, donovan would work directly for another former goldman sachs banker, not treasury secretary steven mnuchin. trump has also tapped another half dozen more people tied to goldman sachs to join his administration, including national economic council director gary cohn, trump chief strategist stephen bannon, securities and exchange commission chairman nominee jay clayton, senior white house adviser anthony scaramucci, and senior counselor for economic initiatives dina habib powell. white house press secretary sean spicer said tuesday president trump is extremely confident the justice department will find evidence to back up his unsubstantiated claims that president obama tapped trump's phones during the 2016 election. >> he feels very confident we
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will ultimately -- we will vindicate him. amy: spicer's comments came only one day after spicer tried to back away from the claims, saying trump did not literally mean wiretapping, and that trump did not mean it was ordered by president obama directly.. >> the president use the word "wire tapping" to o mean broadly surveillance and other activities during that. that is, again, it is interesting how many news outlets reported this activity was taking place d during the 26 election cycle, and now we' wowondering whwhere the proof i. this many of the same outlets in this room that talked about the activities that were going on back then. amy: that was sean spicer, speaking monday. spicer's claim directly -- marchts a march for 4 tweet by the president in which the wiretap claim is made without quotation marks. the tweet read -- "how low has president obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. this is nixon/watergate.
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bad or sick guy!" the deadline has now been extended for the justice department to turn over evidence supporting trump's unsubstantiated allegations obama wiretapped him to the house intelligence committee. the justice department failed to meet the first deadline. south carolina republican senator lindsey graham has also demanded the fbi hand over any evidence about the alleged wiretap to the senate judiciary committee, saying tuesday if the agency doesn't respond to his letter "they're about to screw up big time." reflecting the growing an acrimonious divisions within the republican party over its embattled health care plan, the far right wing news outlet breitbart previously headed by white house chief strategist steven bannon, has published an audio recording of an october conference call in which house speaker paul ryan says he would never defend then-republican presidential nominee donald trump. >> to do things i want to make really clear.
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i'm not going to defend donald trump. not now, not in the future. you have probably heard i disinvited him for my first congressional district gop event this weekend i i do every year. i will not be campaigning with him over the next 30 days. amy: speaker ryan's comments came after the release of the this 2005 videotape recorded by "access hollylywood" showing trump boasting about sexually assaulting women. pres. trump: i just start kissing them. it is like a magnet. and when you are a star, they let you do it. you can do anythining. grab them by the pussy. you can do anything. amy: that was donald trump. despite speaker ryan's pledge during the conference call, he began working with president trump immediately after the november election, vowing to help lead a unified republican government. legal challenges to president trump's revised travel ban are mounting as the order is slated to take effect at 12:01 p.m. thursday.
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federal judges in both hawaii and maryland are slated to hear arguments today claiming the ban targets muslims and is a violation of the first amendment. trump's executive order would bar refugees from entering the country fofor 120 daysndnd would bar all people from iranan, lib, syria, somalia, sudan, and yemen from entering the country for 90 days. president trump met with saudi arabia's deputy crown prince mohammed bin salman at the white house tuesday, during which the two reportedly discussed their opposition to the landmark 2015 iran nuclear deal. price mohammed and president trump were also expected to discuss u.s. arm sales to saudi arabia for the ongoing saudi-led war in yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians. amnesty international urged trump to block future arms sales, writing -- "arming the saudi arabia and bahraini governments risks complicity with war crimes, and doing so while simultaneously banning travel to the u.s. from yemen would be even more unconscionable." the white house has reportedly
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instructed the state department to look for ways to cut more than one third of its budget. this could include slashing in half the united states' annual $10 million in funding for u.n. programs such asas peacekeeping, vaccines, and children's aid. the outline of president trump's preliminary budget is slated to be released on the " "new york thursday. times" reports trump's supreme cocourt nominee neil gororsuch s multiple ties to colorado billionaire philip anschutz, an oil baron who now also owns railroads, real estate, sports teams and stadiums, and conservative newspapers like "the weekly standard" and "the washington examiner." judge gorsuch has represented anschutz and his companies. anschutz, whose fortune is estimated to top $12 billion, went on to lobby the bush administration to tap gorsuch to the federal appeals court. the senate judiciary committee is slated to consider gorsuch's nomination for the supreme court next week. voters in the netherlands are heading to the polls today in a closely watched presidential
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race, which pits prime minister mark rutte against far-right politician geert wilders. this is wilders in the final debate before today's vote. >> if we don't there to see islam for what it is, the problem will not only be jihad, but islam itself. in the netherlands in a free western countries could no longer exist. we should not tolerate this. amy: that was far-right politician geert wilders who has been surging in the polls in recent days. he has vowed to close all mosques and ban the koran, if elected. he was found guilty by a dutch court of inciting racialal discrimination l last year. he's also called for the netherlands to leave the european union. the europepean court of justice ruled tuesday that companies across the european union can prohibit workers from wearing headscarves as part of company-wide policies banning all religious or political symbols. religious freedom groups came out against the ruling. the open society justice initiative said -- "it will lead to muslim women being discriminated in the
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workplace, but also jewish men who wear kippas, sikh men who wear turbans, people who wear crosses. it affects all of them, but disproportionately muslim women." reuters is reporting that russia appears to have e deployed specl opoperations troops toto an aire in egypt near the border with libya. citing unnamed u.s. and egyptian officials, reuters reports the deployment signals a possible russian intervention i in the conflict in libya on behalf of libyan military commander khalifa haftar, who opposes the u.s.- and u.n.-backed government of national unity based in tripoli. egypt has publicly denied any russian troops on egyptian soil. "the wall street journal" is reporting expanded authority by trtrp to carry out lethal drone ststrikes - -- a reversal o of presesent obama's polieses of limiting theia''s abilitity to carry out such s strikes.. meanile,e, nbcews s has reported trumump's administration has tan steps toto make it easier for rh the pentagon and the cia to carry out lethal drone strikes. the moves involve declaring
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parts of yemen and somalia areas of active hostilities, giving the agencies greater powers to carry out strikes. a federal grand jury has indicted high-ranknking active d nine retired navy members as part of an investigation into a bribery scandal known as "fat leonard." the justice department says the nine have been charged with accepting luxurious dinners, trips, gifts and the service of , sex workers as bribes in exchange for handing over classified military information to singapore-based defense contractor leonard francis. acting u.s. attorney in san diego alana robinson said -- "this is a fleecing and betrayal of the united states navy in epic proportions, and it was allegedly carried out by the navy's highest-ranking officers." the senate armed services committee questioned marine corp commandant general robert neller on tuesday over the growing scandal over an invite-only 30,000-person facebobook group where male marines have been posting thousands of naked or sexually suggestive photos of their fellow female marirines, along with a barrage of
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misogynistic comments, including some saying the women should be raped. this is new york senator kristen gillibrand. investigated d and found guguilty, anybody. if we cannot crack facebook, how are we supposed to be able to confront russian aggression in cyber hacking throughout our military? it is a serious problem when we have members of our military denigrating female marines who will give their life to this country in the wayay they have with no response from leadership. amy: and newly released research shows hate crimes in major cities across the united s stats surged more than 20% last year. the e data released momonday bye center foror the study of hate & extremism at california a state university, san bernardino, shows there were more than hate-related crimes committed in 1000 2016, a 23% percent increase ovever 2015. the center's director brian levin says the number of hate crimes appears to have increased
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following the election of president trump. and ththose are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. calls are growing for president trump to release his full tax returns after part of his 2005 return was made public on tuesday. two pages from trump's tax return were obtained by pulitzer prize winning investigative journalist david cay johnston of dcreport who appeared last night on the rachel maddow show on msnbc. soon after maddow teased her big scoop, the white house confirmed the authenticity of the documents. but the white house continues to refuse to release any other tax returns from trump. the 2005 tax return shows trump earneded $153 million. that's more than $400,000 a day. trump paid out $36.6 million in federal income taxes, much of it in the form of what's known as the alternative minimum tax which trump now wants to , eliminate. the document also shows trump wrote off more than $100 million in business losses to reduce his federal taxes. but the documents also leaves
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-- leave many questions unanswered about trump's finances and his sources of income. in january, trump dismissed calls to release his taxax rereturns. pres>> will you release your tatax returns? preses. trump: as you know, they're under audit. >> but every president since the 1970's -- nevertrump: gee, i've heard that. the only one who cares about my tax returns are the reporters. >> [inaudible] pres. trump: i won. i begin president. i don't think they carere at al. i don't think they care at all. i think you care. i think you carare. amy: this morning, presisident trump p tweeted -- that is dedespite the fact the white house confirmed the authenticity of the documents on tuesday. for more, we are joined by that man that donald trump is describing, david cay johnston
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the journalist who obtained , donald trump's 2005 1040 tatax foforms. welcome back to democracy now! well, thisis morningng, donald p is questionining how you got the tax returns. >> i must have gotten under donald skin pretty deeply that he has issued this tweet, whoever heard of me. donald and i have been talking to each other for 30 years. at war with his own press office. either way, i'm very pleased, amy, that you got correctly in myr intro fact that both former newspaper "the new york times" and "the new york post" got wrong. you have the right amount of tax and some other figures that were wrong in those major newspapers. i think that says a lot about the quality of work you do and yoyour viewers shohould know that. amy: can youou talk about how yu got these two pages of his 2005 tax return?
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>> ozone palm beach on monday and i am my cell phone in hand and i were shooting pictures across the water of mar-a-lago because i'm working on a new trump biography, a second one. i have one out now. this one for simon & schuster. i got a text from one of my eight children who told me to call right away. herhad open the mail at home in rochester, new york, and here was this envelope with the two pages of text. admittedly begin -- i immediately begin to go to work on it so we could get the story out right away at dcreport.org. amy: talk about what you see in these two pages, what you u foud mostst signifificant. > the most significant thingi believe is donald trump wants to eliminate the alternative minimum tax. most all affluent americans, people who own homes, have more than two children and lives in
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onh tax states are all alternative minimum tax. --ause of that, donald paid if he wants to repeal his taxes, he would have paid only $5 million of income tax on $153 million of income. thanis a tax rate of less 3.5%. you know who pays that in this country? the poorest half in americans. they pay a little more than three point 5%. donald trump have a lower tax rate of people who make less than $33,000 a year. if his tax fight had been in effect in 2005. when donald trump says, i'm the champion of working people, don't pay attention to that. when he says, wages are too high, that is one sign. at his tax plan -- you make $600 a week, you're more heavily
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taxed than he isis. amamy: so o how did he endnd upg the amount of taxes he did? million donald had $103 of negative income. that may be a hard concept for people to get around. in tax law, you can have a negative income, just like her bank account to be overdrawn and yet the negative bank balance. donald negative income comes from a dubious tax shelter he bought in 1995. that allowed him to get out of a very big tax bill. donald did not pay back to his bankers $918 million that he borrowed from them. toinary people, they have pay taxes on this. if you borrow money from a bank and do not pay it back, that is taxable income accccording to te u.s. congress. donald out a tax shelter that turn into tax savings for him. congressrepublicans in
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learned about this tax shelter, they shut it down right away. it only took them a couple of days to shut it down. it was a credible how fast thehy moved in congress to do this. but as often is the case, our congress said, oh, those of you who already bought this dubious tax shelter, you can keep your ill-gotten tax savings. so donald had $918 million that he could write off of negative income against his positive income. in this return, 11 years later, shows he had $103 million left -- although, he may have had additional tax losses in the meantime. were presentthat the residue from the 918 landoll's, it also tells us donald average income in 1995-2004, was $81.5 million. amy: what doesn't the two pages tell us? does not tells a lot of
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important things we need to know. it does not tell us who are the sources of his income was the only the kinds of income. capital gains, is this profits, wages. we do not know how much money donald is getting from the russian oligarchs. we know he gets money from the russian oligarchs, but not how much. the russian oligarchs are essentially state-sponsored criminal. we do not know who his partners are in the various entities he has. donald has over 500 partnerships ands corporations and other business entities. third and perhaps most important, we don't know who he is paying money to. we know he has borrowed a lot of money from the bank of china. kind of remarkable to think about having republican president of united states who is borrowed a huge sum from a communist government owned bank, which, by the way, is also the biggest tenant in trump tower.
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we're going to need to know both on matters of criminality and national security who the president is doing business with, who his partners are, who his sources of income are, who he is paying fees to, and who is papaying fees to him. wewe need his cocomplete tax res for the last 30 years t to do that. otheher people r running for ofe -- hillalary clintnton, for exa, have made public their complete tax returns going back to the 1970's. amy: that is for interesesting about china, considering dononad trump is very laudatory of russia. there's been a lot t made about his relationshship with russian oligararchs, but you donon't hes mumuch aboutut china.. >> rigight now t there is a d dl with a sketchy chinese companyny who isis proposing t to buyy 66h avenue i in new york, owned by e famimily of hisis son-in-n-law d kushnener. in the offer is apparently for $1 billion more than the
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kushners paid for ththe buildina decadego. the kushners get allll sorts of goododies in this. ththis certatainly raiaises the spspecter of whether the governrnment may havave decidede bebest way, these are relatitios with thihis white house, i is to prime the presidents family. and ago i want to ask you about the white house statementt yesterday. tododay, they are questioning how you got these documents. i mean, clearly, donald trump knows exactly who you are, pulitzer prize-winning journalist who worked for years that "the new york times" and wrote a book about donald trump. but last night, the white house said, just before you went to air, they wrote -- "you know you are desperate for ratings when you're willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago before being elected president, mr. president was one of the most successful businessmen in the world with a responsibility to his company, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required. that being said, mr. trump paid
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$38 million even after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction, on an income of more than $150 million, as well as paying tens of millions of dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes and this illegally published return proves just that. despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns. the dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda, while the president will focus on his, which includes tax reform that will benefit all americans." again, that from the white house last night. thesese illegagally acquired and published -- - published, rathe. tax returns. david cay johnson, cacan you respond? >> amy, there is so mucuch in a statement, i inclung t the amout of tax presisident paid. not $38in dollars, million. it just makes my head spin. is absolutely well-established
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law in the united states when a journalist receives a documenent that they did not solicit, then they can publish it. there's nothing illegal whatsoever about publishing this. this is part of the effort of donald trump to confuse people and further his very authoritarian views. donald clearly talks a about his office as the president is a dictator. judges don't agree with him. bad judges, etc.. what happened here is, somebody familiar with my work, a and i'm very well known for my coverage of taxes, won a pulitzer prize, --e beeeen called the fact oh because of my exposes of the tech systetem, decided to send e ratherer than sosome other journalist the documents. maybe it was sent to others and they have not looked in their mailbox. my report on that is accurate. the white house confirmed it. the white house did something
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actually quite unethical yesterday. i have benjamin with whwhite hohouses sinince -- been dealing with white houses since richard nixon. i have never before sent the white house document to allow them to comment on it and have them take my exclusive story and give the information to other reporters. that is what they did. they never responded to me. they want to other reporters and said, here is what is going to happen. that is the most unethical conduct by the white house press office that i have ever seen. they don't have to answer your questions. what to do this is just indicative of the utter lack of moral character of donald trump, who i am sure a approved and roughed out that statement. amy: david, are you sang you gave the two pages that you had for verification to them and theyey gave those twowo pageseso
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other prpress outlets? >> i don't know if they get the two pages, but they clearly get the numbers out. there are some journalists who wrote about itit -- my wife told me about them because i have not had time to look at them -- but it is very clear from various press reports, and when i was on another tv station today, the producers said to me, did you know trump paid out your story just before it went public at dcreport.org? and then i am on the rachel maddow show a minute later. that really is just not the way you do things. it lacks honor. of course, donald trump lacks honor, so i should not be surprised. donald trumpmp does not know wht hohonor is. amy: david cayay johnston, whenn u u got this e envelope that had thtwo o pages in i it, where wee you? >> i was using my cell phone to shoot a picture in palm beach of mar-a-lago from across the water
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, because it was part of the research i was doing for my next trump book. that is when i got this message. one of my eight room children said, something came in the mail. send the pdf document to my phone. toaid, i have to get back the airport and get back to work.. amy: david, you talked about how much donald trump has paid in his taxes in 2005. in response to, they said, we have to get back to more serious work of changing the tax system. if you succeeds in changing the tax system. ththis alternative minimum tax that requirered he pay even the amount he did come he wowould eliminate? >> yes. donald trump, in writing and his campaign documents, has said they're going to get rid of the alternative and among tax.
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the $36.6 million in taxes he paid, more than $31 million was because of the alternative minimum tax. the reason for that is that $103 million that was disallowed under the alternative minimum tax, allowed under the regular tax, even with it being disallowed, donald trump does -- got a 20% tax discount. at that level of income in 2005, your tax rate is 35% of your income. if you are on the tentative and moan tax, your tax rate is only 28%. $.80 ons only paying the dollar to begin with. this is part of why i have been writing -- what i've been writing about for years. we have a tax system in america which taxes your wages from your labor income. if you're a business owner and like donald trump you're willing to buy aggressive and dubious tax shelters to do sketchy things, you can pay very little
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tax. in we know there are at least two years would donald trump did not pay any income taxes, even though he had multimedia income because he had to put some of that information into the public record. amy: who do you believe that you this, david? >> it is possible that donald sent it, although, his attacks on me -- he tweeted about me today, so i clearly got under his skin. just not. when donald has leaked something about himself, usually does not have a complaint. he did not complain about -- the crude demographic pictures of his wife when she was a porn model or the partial tax returns that were released last year. so i suspect those came from him. most likely, this was somebody who was for milieu with my work, who knows that i have written a great deal about this idea of negative income and the alternative minimum tax, and trusted i would get the maximum
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possible value out of these two pages. amy: finally, if it were donald trump, why do you think he would do this? whahat led you to think it might be? >> first of all, because donald has a long, well-documented history of leaking things about himself, posing as his own pr men and calling himself john barron or john miller, planting stories that famous beautiful women were pounding on his bedroom door, when in fact, they had nothing to do with them. in this case, donald was to divert people from a couple of things. he wants us to be thinking about his connection -- he wants us to forget about his connection to russian oligarchs. he wants to get people off what appears to be the the asko of the republican health care plan that he has put his name on without clearly understanding what it means that contradict his promises, and other matters. big onis very distraction. he is always trying to get journalists who are not well-known for sticking to something for a long time to
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distract them and get them to write about something else or put on tv something else. if you were to have done it, that would be part of that strategy. amy: david cay johnson, thank you for spending this time pulitzer prize-winning , investigative reporter prpreviously witith the "newew k times," now founder and editor of dcreport.org, where he published donald trump's 2005 form 1040 federal tax return. david's biography of donald trump is titled "the making of donald trump." this is democracy now!, democracynow.org. whwhen we come back, famine. what the u.n. is doing about it. what the u.s. is doing about it. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the united nationsns has warned that the world is facing its largest humamanitarian cririsis
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since the end of the second world war with nearly 20 million people at risk of starvation in nigeria, somomalia, south sudan anand yemen. , the u.u.n.'s huhumanitarian cf stephen o'brien told the u.n. security council on friday that $4.4 billion was needed by july to avert a famine. >> we stand at a critical point in our history. already at the beginning of the year, we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the united nations. now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine will stop without collective and coordinator global efforts, people will simply starve to death. allll four countries have one thing in common -- conflict will you,this means that we, have the possibility to prevent and end further misery and suffering. the u.n. and its partners are ready y to scale up, but we need
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the access and the funds to do more. itits a preventable. it is possible to avert this crisis, to avert these famines, to avert these looming human catastrophes. amy: last month, the u.n. declared a famine in parts of south sudan, but o'brien said the biggest crisis was in yemen. earlier this week, aid officials said they'rere in a race against time to prevent a famine brought on by a u.s.-backed saudi-led war and blockade.. almost 19 millioion peop i in yemen, two-thirds of the total populatition, are in need of assistance and more than 7 million are facing starvation, an increase of 3 million since january. the executive director of the world food programme said her agency had just three months' wortrth of food ststored, and tt offificials were o only able too provide hungry yemenis withh abouout a third ofof the rations they needed. this all comes as the trump administration is seeking billions of dollars in cuts in funding to the united nations. to talk more about the crisis, we're joined now by joel charny is director of the norwegian refugee council - usa.
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thank you for joining us. can you talk about this worst human and caring crisis since wrote or two? >> stephen o'brien described it very well. in four countries, because of conflict, only in one case, somalia, do we have trout, which is also driving the deprivation, but in yemen, somalia, south sudan, and northern nigeria, millions of people are on the brink of famine, largely because of the structure and of food production, the inability of aid agencies to get in, and just ongoing conflict -- which is making life a misery for millions of people. amy: so let's start with yemen, joel. you have the picture of president trump yesterday sitting with the saudi leader in the white house. the war that is taking place in yemen.
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by thedi bombing, backed united states. can you talk about the effect this has had on the population? >> it has been a relentless war with violations of international humanitarian law by the saudis and the coalition they are a part of, as well as why the houthis that are resisting the saudi assault. from the beginning of the bombing -- i vividly remember when the bombing first started within the space of a couple of weeks, the warehouses anand offe fourings of three or nongovernmental organizations working in yemen or hit by the saudi a assault. foodn imports 90% of its even in normal times. so this is not so much a disruption of food production, but a disruption of commercrce e to the bombing, due to the blockade, due to the movement of
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the national bank from sonatata down to aden. anand taken altogethther, it is creating impossible situation in a country that is completely forndenent on food imports its susurvival. amy: on monday, the world food programme said they're in a race against time to prevent a famine . this is the executive director ertharin couousin. >> we have about three month's food stored inside the country today. we also have food that is on the water on the way there. but we don't have enough food to support the scale up that is required to ensure that we can avoid a famine. what we have been doing is taking a limited amount of food that we have in the country -- the limited amounts of food that we have in the country, and spreading it as far as possible. each means we have been giving in most rations in months. we need to go to what hundred
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percent rations. amy: the u.s. is supplying weapons for the saudi campaign, the war campaign in yemen? the strikes have increased. what do you think needs to happppen to save the people of yemen at this point. at this point, the solution is some kind of agreement between the parties to the conflict, the saudis and their allies and the houthis. over the last year, 18 months, several times we have been close to seeing an agreement that would at least produce a cease-fire or end some of the relentless bombing that is been going on. yet every time the agreement breaks down -- i mean, this is a case wherere if the war contini, people will d die from famine. i don't t ink there'e's any estitionbout t that. we just haveve to findnd a way r the war r to end. right now there is just a complete lack of diplomatic
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effort to try and solve this situatation. i think as a humanitarian representing the norwegian refugee council, we can do what we can in the face of this conflict, but the fundamental solution is an agreement between the parties that will stop the war, open of commerce, you know, have the port be open and allow him a therefore, the aid she and her from the world food programmmme and nongovernmentntl organizations like nrc to function. amy: i mean, this is not the u.s. intervening and trying to program an agreement between others. this is the u.s. directly involved in causing this conflict. >> and, amy, it needs to be stressed that this is not something that, you know i'm a stararted on january 20. humanitarian agencies in washington, you know, myself and
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my colleagues, we have been pointing out dating back well into the last year of the obama administration that, you know, the bombing campaign was leaving to an untenable humanitarian situation. u.s. support of that bombing campaign was highly problematic from a humanitarian standpoint. so this is something that the u.s. has been driving for some time post up again, as with many things right now, it has to be seen within the context of the war or the proxy war between the saudis and iran for control and supremacy in the middle east. the houthis are perceived as an iranian proxy. many dispute that, but that does not change the fact t that there is an ongoing war that seems unable to be resolved.
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agagain, he does not necessarily have to come from the u.s. perhaps itit can come from the u. under the leadership of the secretary-general antonio guterres. but we need diplomatic initiative as it relates to yemen to avert the famine. amy: i want to ask about the u.s. threats to cut billions of dollars in funding to the united nations. can you talk about the effect of this and what is president trump saying? >> the budget will come out thatrow, but the report is there will be 50% cut across the board in trump's budget for 2018. now, the u.s. is a very significant supporter of the humanitarian arms of the united nations, as well as the u.n. across the board. it in the context of 20 million people being on the brink of famine, you are proposing to cut funding for the high
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commissioner for refugees, the u.n. refugee agency, for the world food programmme, and for unicef. and those three agencies are on come on thee have frontline of responding to the situations we're talking about. is ancall this ill-timed, incredible understatement. i mean, to -- and the other rumor, amy, there will be devastating cuts to the u.s.'s own monitoring funding through agencies like the office of assistanceasterous and at the state department. we are anxiously awaiting the release of the trump budget tomorrow, but we're obviously quite concerned in the context of the massive need we are facing and the normal u.s. leadership that we see in responding to famine situations, these cuts, not just for the
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u.n., but also for domestic -- our international responsee agencies in the u.s. government and the will be devastating. amy: i want to turn to the new u.n. secretary-g-general youou referencnced, antonio guterres, recently calling on greater international financial support. >> one of the biggest obstacles we face now is funding. humanitarian operations in these four countries require more than $5.6 billion this year. we need at least $4.4 billion by the end of march 2 of her catastrophe. generous pledges, around two cents for every dollar needed has been received. we are in the beginning of the year, but these members are very worrying. funding shortages have already forced the world food program to cut russians in yemen by more than half since last year. worsenshortages will
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within months. amy: thahat is antonio guterres, secretary-general. i want to turn to a mother of nine children in south sudan. >> crilly, we have no food in the entire family defense on waterlily and a pong. amy: joel charny, can you talk about south sudan? >> south sudan is a place where there was so much hope in 2011 when the country was founded after years of support from around the world, including from the united states. basically, the leaders of south sudan decided they would rather fight over ultimate control than govern their country in a way that worked for all of their people. so south sudan is a classic example of another famine or
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food shortrtage that is driven with an ethiclict to mention, but alsoso a politil dimension, unresolved political conflicts within the south sudanese ruling class that date all the way back to the 1990's. that were covered up during the independence struggle that have since emerged. again, in south sudan, we face just immense just a goal difficulties -- immense difficulties but the woman you just showed, and we have to overcome obstacles from the government itself. we have to overcome the just a goal difficulties. -- logistical difficulties. oil, south sudan soil totively fertile feed itself. the issue is just the inability
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of the authorities and working with out side agencies to come together -- with outside eight agencies to come together to meet the needs of the people of south sudan. it is a desperate situation. of the four countries that we're discussing, south sudan is the one place where famine has officially been dececlared in oe part of the country, affecting 100,000 people. and he felt can yoyou talk about somalia and nigeria? -- amy, i know i am depressing or listeners, but somalia is the one place i think where a rapid response actually can make a difference because although there is conflict in somalia, the famine threat this time, the severe drought is namely a parts of the country that are reachable by the is,rnment, as weak as it and reachable by the international aid community.
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if we are able to mobilize quickly, and this is what everyone is saying right now, if we are able to mobilize food and cash quickly, we can overcome the situation of somalia in somamalia if we get m moving. in nigeria, it is a question of him you know, boko rom is disrupting areas in the northern part of the country. there has been a response by the nigerian government that have led to people being driven in the camps and away from their homes. because of the conflict there. food production has been disrupted. it is veryry difficult to reach people. again, from the perspective of an outside agency, like norwegian refugee council, the kia northern nigeria is either to reach some kind of peace agreement, or at least what a prosecutor the war that does not disrupt life in villages and does not harm people who aree so
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vulnerable. amy: i want to go back to where we began in yemen. president trump that was saudi arabia step in the crown prince at the white house tuesday during which they reportedly discussed their opposition to the arendt nuclear deal. they also are expected to discuss u.s. arms sales to saudi arabia for this ongoing saudi led bombardment of yemen, which has killed thousands. amnesty international urged trump to block the arms sales writing -- don google arming the --ernments risks implicitly complete city with war crimes. in doing so while simultaneously banning travel to the u.s. from yemen would be evenn more unconscionable." joel, tonight at midnight because what they call with the fromm ban 2.0, when people six countries, includining yeme, will not be allowed into the united states unless it is stopped in court. how does this go together with what you're seeing right now in these places?
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outs people have pointed for the six countries in the van -- four of the six countntries n the van are in conflict in which the u.s. is involved. our view on the ban is very simple. the people in these countries and indeed refugees worldwide, in among the most vulnerable the world. they are vetted before they come to the united states. it is just an absolute priority from our standpoint that the u.s. remain open to the most vulnerable refugees and that we have an immigration program from these countries that allows people to redefine with their families, to study in the u.s., and so one. this contrast between having wars going on, yet not being able to be a safe haven, is obviously a clear r and worrying contrast. amy: joel charny, thank you for being with us director of ththe , norwegian refugegee council u.
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eighte come back, why are men scheduled to die in arkansas within 10 days? .e will talk about the reason stay with us. ♪ [music break] amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the state of arkansas is planning to execute eight men within 10 days in that's nearly april. a quarter of its entire death-row population. earlier this month, republican governor asa hutchinson signed
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proclamations setting four execution dates for the eight prisoners between april 17 and april 27, which would be an unprecedented rate of executions in modern u.s. history arkansas has suspended executions since 2005 amid challenges in acquiring lethal injection drugs, and lawsuits over the drugs used. arkansas says it is rushing the executions because the state's supply of the sedative midazolam will soon expire. for more, we're going to philadelphia, where we're joined by megan mccracken, an attorney with the death penalty clinic at the university of california, berkeley, school of law. can you explain what is happening? is about toug expire, age men will be executed within 10 days? >> that's right. the state of arkansas has said that because current supply of midazolam expires at the end of april, the scheduling these eight executions very close together, four days within the course of 11 days, in order to use the drug before it expires. amy: what is midazolam? >> midazolam is an anti-anxiety
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.rug it is pototent as an ananticlotg drug and used -- anti-anxiety drug and used around surgery. but it is not an ananesthetic drug.. it is not used to take a person who is awake and conscious and used alone -- it is not used alone to put that person under surgical anesthesia and keep that person there. the reason that is relevant is because that is what is needed for an execution to bee humane o comport with the constitution. and so this drug iss inappropriate for the task. so you had a situation created by the s state where it is rushg to use the drug before it expires, even of the drug itself is inappropriate for the use. amy: who supplies it? >> that is not known. arkansas, like many states, has
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secrecy surrounding its execution procedures and specifically protects that type of information. drugs, who madehe it come you know, exactly what our product is. amy:y: it has been lininked to innful botched executions states likike alabama and other places. can you expxplain, when you talk about it is not even a proper drug? >> because it is not an anesthetic drug, it cannot maintain anesthesia, meaning it cannot give the prisoner insensate to pain and suffering. we're seen time and again when midazolam is used in executions, things do not go as planned. we have seen executions like dennis mcguire in ohio, clayton lockett in oklahoma, joe would in arizona where the prisoner remained alive much longer than dissipated. the eyewitnesses describe struggling --
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go to the january 16, 2014 execution in ohio of dennis mcguire u using an untesd two-drugug method despite wawarn it might cause immense suffering. the e execution took 25 5 minut. his son, also named dennis,, witnessed the execution. >> shortly after the warden buttoned his jacket to signal the start of the execution, my dad began gasping, struggling to breathe. i watched his stomach heave. i watched them try to sit up against the straps on the gurney. i watched him repeatedly clenched his fist. it appeared to me he was fighting for his life, but suffocating. and terror of watching before that lasted more than 19 minutes. it was the most awful moment in my life to witness my dad's execution.
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i cannot think of any other way to describe it than torture. amy: that is dennis mcguire, son of dennis mcguire, executed by the state of ohio in 2014. we have 3030econds. is this set in stone that these men will be executed in arkansas? this country has never seen anything like this. >> that's right. that is certainly the plan that arkansas has from moving forward . but it is not an appropriate plan. this drug is not effective and appropriate for this use. and there is no reason to rush toto carry out thehese executioy the enend oapril l en otherer drugs aree available. and even as trump continues to be available to other states. it is really a manufactured situation that can be avoided. amy: megan mccracken, thank you for being with us an attorney , , with the death penenalty clc at the universitity of californ, berkeley, school of law. that does it for our broadcast. check our job listings at democracynow.org. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who
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