Business as usual
December 13, 2019

President Trump now has three chances to keep his financial records a secret.

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear Trump's appeal of three cases that involve subpoenas for his financial records, giving no explanation for the decision. Oral arguments for the separate cases are likely slated for March, with a decision expected at the end of June.

In three separate cases, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, the House Oversight Committee, and the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees requested Trump's financial records from his banks and other businesses he worked with. Trump's lawyers sued to block those subpoenas, but in each case, courts ruled against them. So they appealed the decisions to the Supreme Court, first getting stays on the rulings to block the records' immediate release to the oversight committee, and then getting the whole case accepted Friday.

Previous judges have noted that past presidents released their tax returns to the public, and Trump's lawyers subsequently argued that the subpoenas are not a legitimate legislative inquiry. Kathryn Krawczyk

September 26, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) just earned a free campaign advertisement.

As the candidate surges in the 2020 race on a platform of big business breakups, some Wall Street Democrats have indicated they'd hold onto their usual donations or even send them to President Trump if she ends up the nominee, CNBC reports. But seeing as Warren has had no trouble condemning banks and the absurdly wealthy throughout her time in government, that's probably not going to influence her campaign.

Warren has spent her campaign calling for a wealth tax, higher big business taxes, and a massive breakup of conglomerates in the tech and finance industries. Unsurprisingly, some finance types are not big fans. One senior private equity executive told CNBC they felt "in a box" because, while they "want to help the party," Warren is "going to hurt me." "They will not support her. It would be like shutting down their industry," an executive at a top bank similarly said of his industry.

But as soon as the CNBC story went up, tweets that surmised Warren's reaction came pouring in. Some pundits guessed the article would end up in a Warren fundraising email. The Washington Free Beacon's David Rutz suggested Warren herself gave a quote in disguise. And The Washington Post's Dave Weigel jokingly asked if the Warren campaign paid for the article altogether.

A spokesperson for Warren declined to comment to CNBC, but her approval of an earlier CNBC clip reporting that Wall Street executives are afraid of a Warren presidency speaks for itself. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 20, 2018

On Wednesday, the Treasury Department informed Congress that it intends to lift sanctions on three companies tied to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a name familiar to people following Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference. The U.S. imposed sanctions on Deripaska and his three companies — Rusal, the world's No. 2 aluminum company; Russian energy company EuroSibEnergo; and their parent company, EN+ Group — in April, in retaliation for the Russian election meddling and other hostile acts.

The sanction on Deripaska himself will remain in place, and the Treasury Department has allowed the companies to continue operating since April while they negotiated a settlement with U.S. regulators. Under the binding agreement announced Wednesday, Deripaska will reduce his stake in EN+ to 44.95 percent from 70 percent, won't be able to increase his stake, and won't have access to the proceeds from the sales of his shares or future dividends issued by the companies. Those and other concessions will be overseen by the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The announcement was made shortly after the Treasury Department disclosed new sanctions on 15 Russian agents linked to the 2016 election interference, including a former Russian military intelligence officer who reports to Deripaska, according to the U.S. The Treasury Department cited the economic costs to the U.S. and other nations of sanctions against Rusal, echoing talking points in a multimillion-dollar lobbying and legal campaign waged by the companies.

The lifting of sanctions on Deripaska's companies amounts to President Trump "sliding another big gift under Vladimir Putin's Christmas tree," said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas). He said the agreement "appears to be a shell game brokered by a sanctioned Russian bank, VTB Bank, involving one of Putin's closest buddies, Oleg Deripaska," and he urged Congress to look into the deal. Unless Congress acts in 30 days, the sanctions will automatically be lifted. Peter Weber

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