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By Shaquille Brewster

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., released 10 years of tax returns Monday evening, showing the majority of his income came from his U.S. Senate salary until 2016, when his income jumped with the publication of a book on his first presidential run.

His total income popped to over $1 million in 2016 and 2017, after he wrote “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In” in November 2016, raising his effective tax rate for those years to over 30 percent.

“I consider paying more in taxes as my income rose to be both an obligation and an investment in our country,” Sanders said in a statement released by his campaign. “I will continue to fight to make our tax system more progressive so that our country has the resources to guarantee the American Dream to all people.”

His book debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at #3, and has sold approximately 227,000 copies, according to the industry tracker NPD BookScan. Two subsequent books, “The Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution” and “Where Do We Go From Here: Two Years in the Resistance” sold over 27,000 and 26,000 copies, respectively.

During his 2016 campaign, Sanders released a summary of his 2014 tax returns but this is the first time he has made his full releases public.

“We had a good idea based on his 2014 returns what to expect,” Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute, told NBC News after reviewing his returns. “He made a whole bunch of money as an author now, which is sizable. Running for president has been a lucrative business for him.”

Sanders has been under pressure to release his returns since he launched his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in February. In a televised CNN town hall shortly after, the senator promised to release them “sooner than later.”

However, after several weeks without producing documents, questions continued to grow. Sanders then told reporters he would release them by tax day, April 15th.

“You sort of wonder why he resisted releasing more returns in prior years,” Rosenthal said. “Now he’s released 10 years of returns but they all look the same, all of which is pretty modest in what he’s showing.”

On the trail, Sanders — who makes the fight for economic justice a fundamental theme of his candidacy — routinely rails against the millionaire and billionaire class, saying the “1 percent may have unlimited resources and power, but they are the 1 percent. We are the 99 percent.” In January, he introduced the “For the 99.8 Percent Act” that his office says would raise $2.2 trillion through a dramatic increase to the estate tax on wealthy families.

Sanders now joins several other 2020 candidates who have released their tax documents to the public. Sunday, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., released 15 years of returns. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., added 2018 to the 10 years of returns released last August. In March, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., was the first to release her 2018 returns, publishing 12 years total, and started an online petition that calls on every candidate to disclose their taxes.

Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., have released their returns for this year as well.



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John Bercow makes prime ministers’ lives ‘hell’ by breaking precedent, claims Cameron

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DAVID CAMERON has revealed that Commons Speaker John Bercow used to make his “life hell” and was often left baffled by his actions as he made unprecedented decisions to side against the Government.

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Barr praised 2017 book that claims colleges unfairly went after male students accused of sexual assault

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WASHINGTON — Before being nominated by President Donald Trump to be attorney general, William Barr strongly endorsed a 2017 book accusing colleges and universities of unfairly punishing male students accused of rape.

Barr’s praise for “Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America’s Universities” by K.C. Johnson and Stuart Taylor, is posted on the book’s Amazon.com page. But during his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, Barr was not questioned about the blurb, which suggested men are often railroaded by a politically correct campus “mob.”

In the blurb, Barr praises the book for examining multiple cases where, as he described, “Male students are sacrificed to the mob, with academic leaders happily serving as the hangmen.”

Barr’s professed skepticism about some campus sexual assault claims surfaced after Trump’s call this week for the Justice Department to “rescue” Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, after The New York Times published an excerpt of a new book detailing asexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh while a student at Yale that he had previously denied. The book also includes information about a new allegation.

Several Democratic presidential hopefuls have called for further investigation or for the impeachment of Kavanaugh in light of the allegations.

Barr’s endorsement of the book includes a broadside on the Obama administration’s approach to the issue of campus sexual assault.

During Obama’s presidency, colleges and universities were directed to aggressively pursue sexual misconduct allegations under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans sex discrimination in education. In 2017, the Trump administration ordered those Obama-era protections to be reversed.

“President Obama’s Education Department — promulgating regulations beyond its statutory authority, invoking erroneous data, and fanning the false narrative of a ‘rape culture’ on college campuses — has created a regime of kangaroo justice,” Barr wrote in the blurb.

Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for Barr at the Justice Department, declined comment.

The book by Johnson and Taylor — and Barr’s endorsement of it — were part of the administrative record Education Secretary Betsy DeVos relied on to make her decision to roll back the Obama-era rules, according to records ordered released by a judge in response to a lawsuit challenging the rollback. DeVos, not Barr, has led the Trump administration’s effort to change campus sexual assault policy.

Taylor told NBC News that now that Barr is attorney general, “I am hopeful he will help move policy in the direction Betsy DeVos is trying to do,” while acknowledging that many of DeVos’s proposals could easily be undone by a future administration.

The changes include requiring schools to disclose the identity of accusers to alleged assailants and allowing the accused to question alleged victims during campus investigations.

In light of Trump’s recent tweet about the Justice Department and Kavanaugh, it’s unclear Barr has the power to do anything to “rescue” Kavanaugh or any male student accused of sexual misconduct. Most sexual offenses are prosecuted locally, not by the Justice Department, which handles sex trafficking and child exploitation cases.

In an interview, Taylor said Barr had agreed to write a blurb for his book at a time when neither expected Barr would serve in the Justice Department again. Barr was attorney general under President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993.

Barr’s blurb has also raised concerns among some Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who said it should have been raised during his confirmation hearings last January. A spokesman for Judiciary Democrats said they had not been aware of the blurb at the time.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the committee, is among those who say they would have wanted to question Barr about the statement.

Due process is always important, Blumenthal told NBC News, but Barr’s comments are “way over the top.”

Emily Martin, vice president for education and workplace justice at the National Women’s Law Center, said Barr’s comments are “incredibly disturbing” coming from someone who is now the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

His statement “really discounts the experiences of survivors and the challenges they face,” Martin said.

She went on to raise concerns that Barr’s comments would mean his Justice Department would “leave schools less safe, especially for women and girls.”

Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, also members of the committee, agreed that Barr should have been pressed on the matter during his confirmation.

“This statement seems very out of step with the improvements that have been made in recent decades” around how victims of rape are “taken seriously,” said Whitehouse.

Trump and a number of administration officials have come under scrutiny for expressing skepticism about whether females alleging sexual assault should be believed.

In July 2017, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education Candace Jackson told The New York Times that 90 percent of accusations fall into the category of “we were both drunk, we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation.” She later apologized for the comments.

Earlier, DeVos delivered a policy address in which she said “if everything is harassment, then nothing is.”

At least 17 women have accused Trump of inappropriate behavior, including allegations of sexual harassment or assault. Trump has strongly denied the accusations multiple times.

Taylor, the book’s author, said he doesn’t believe Barr’s endorsement of his book has any bearing on how he would pursue prosecution of sex crimes as attorney general.

Taylor said that he and his co-author are “strong critics” of Trump, adding, “I’m quite willing to believe a lot of the accusations against him are true.”

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Trump names Robert O’Brien as new national security adviser

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday named Robert O’Brien, a State Department official who has specialized in hostage issues, as his new national security adviser.

“I have worked long & hard with Robert,” Trump tweeted. “He will do a great job!”

O’Brien will replace John Bolton, whom Trump fired last week after a string of disagreements.

O’Brien had been on Trump’s list of finalists, and the president had praised him as recently as Tuesday as “fantastic.”

Trump, speaking to reporters in California with O’Brien at his side later Wednesday, said his administration has “had a tremendous track record with respect to hostages.”

O’Brien, for his part, said “it’s a privilege to serve with the president.”

O’Brien was integrally involved in the release of rapper ASAP Rocky by Swedish authorities last month. The rapper had been detained and charged with assault in connection with a June 30 scuffle between his entourage and a 19-year-old man in Stockholm.

Trump had emerged as a vocal supporter of the rapper in the criminal case.

O’Brien had been present in court in Sweden when the rapper’s trial began and had written to Swedish prosecutors urging them to release him.

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As a State Department envoy for hostage affairs, O’Brien led American diplomatic efforts on overseas hostage matters, working closely both with families of American hostages and senior government officials, according to his State Department biography.

Previously, O’Brien was the co-chairman of the State Department’s Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan, for both the Obama and George W. Bush administrations. He was nominated in 2005 by Bush and confirmed by Senate to serve as a U.S. representative to the United Nations General Assembly.

The position of national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation.

O’Brien replaces Bolton — who had been one of the most hawkish voices in Trump’s inner circle on a number of issues, including Taliban negotiations and China trade talks — and will be Trump’s fourth national security adviser. His first, Michael Flynn, was in court for a status hearing last week before his sentencing for lying to U.S. officials. Flynn’s successor, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, said he was retiring after repeated disagreements with Trump.

Bolton, known as a fierce infighter, had few loyal allies internally. He had clashed with many senior members of the administration at times, including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Trump’s announcement comes as his administration deals with a number of international hot spots, including North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Afghanistan.

The tweet also came just moments after the president vowed to “substantially increase” sanctions on Iran as tensions in the Middle East rise after an attack on a Saudi oil field, and with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo headed to Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the recent attack.

American officials believe the attack originated from Iranian territory and the president tweeted over the weekend that the U.S. was “locked and loaded” in preparation for some sort of retaliatory action.



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