The Weekly National News Roundup | Shlomo Rudman

Congress to get Trump’s Tax Returns – The income tax returns of former President Donald Trump must be released by the IRS to Congress, the Department of Justice said Friday. The DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel in a written opinion said that the House Ways and Means Committee had made a request with a legitimate legislative purpose to see Trump’s tax returns, with a stated objective of assessing how the IRS audits presidents’ tax returns. Under federal law, the tax-related committees of Congress have a “broad right” to obtain taxpayer information from the Treasury Department, the IRS’s parent, the opinion noted. “The statute at issue here is unambiguous: ‘Upon written request’ of the chairman of one of the three congressional tax committees, the Secretary ‘shall furnish’ the requested tax information to the Committee,’ ” the opinion said. The opinion said that the tax information of Executive Branch officials, which include presidents, should be denied to a tax committee of Congress “only in exceptional circumstances,” and when that request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.”

Congress Passes Bill to Fund Capitol Police, Afghan Visas –  Congress sent President Joe Biden an emergency $2.1 billion spending bill to cover costs associated with defending the Capitol in the wake of the Jan. 6 pro-Trump protest and to grant immigrant visas to Afghans who aided the U.S. during the war in Afghanistan. The House cleared the legislation 416-11 on Thursday shortly after it passed the Senate on a 98-0 vote. Biden is expected to sign it into law. Looming funding shortfalls for the National Guard and the Capitol Police along with the prospect of Afghan allies being executed by the Taliban as it claims territory in the country drove quick action in Congress.

Biden Allowing Eviction Moratorium to Expire – The Biden administration announced Thursday it will allow a nationwide ban on evictions to expire Saturday, arguing that its hands are tied after the Supreme Court signaled the moratorium would only be extended until the end of the month. The White House said President Joe Biden would have liked to extend the federal eviction moratorium due to spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. Instead, Biden called on “Congress to extend the eviction moratorium to protect such vulnerable renters and their families without delay.” Aides to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Sherrod Brown, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, said the two are working on legislation to extend the moratorium. Democrats will try to pass a bill as soon as possible and are urging Republicans not to block it.

Biden Announces End of US Combat Mission in Iraq – President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Monday sealed an agreement formally ending the U.S. combat mission in Iraq by the end of 2021, more than 18 years after U.S. troops were sent to the country. Coupled with Biden’s withdrawal of the last American forces in Afghanistan by the end of August, the Democratic president is completing U.S. combat missions in the two wars that then-President George W. Bush began under his watch. Biden and Kadhimi met in the Oval Office for their first face-to-face talks as part of a strategic dialog between the United States and Iraq. “Our role in Iraq will be … to be available, to continue to train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS as it arises, but we’re not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission,” Biden told reporters as he and Kadhimi met.

Biden Picks Holocaust Historian as Anti-Semitism Envoy –  President Joe Biden is set to nominate Deborah Lipstadt, the Emory University Holocaust historian, to be the State Department’s antisemitism envoy. The White House alerted top Biden supporters of the pick, which has been expected for weeks, on Thursday night. Lipstadt is perhaps best known for defeating Holocaust denier David Irving after he sued her in a British court for defamation for calling him a Holocaust denier. Her 2005 book, “History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier,” was made into a 2016 movie with Rachel Weisz starring as Lipstadt. Lipstadt, 74, has been for years a go-to expert for the media and for legislators on Holocaust issues, particularly on how the genocide’s meaning should be understood in the 21st century, and whether it had any cognates among anti-democratic forces in the current day. She twice endorsed Barack Obama for president but has on call for her expertise across the political spectrum.

Economy Expands at 6.5% Rate – Fueled by vaccinations and government aid, the U.S. economy grew at a 6.5% annual rate last quarter, a solid gain that fell short of some expectations. The total size of the economy has now surpassed its pre-pandemic level. Thursday’s report from the Commerce Department estimated that the nation’s gross domestic product — its total output of goods and services — accelerated in the April-June quarter from a 6.3% annual growth rate in the first quarter of the year. The quarterly figure was less than analysts had expected, but the economy was likely held back mainly by supply shortages in goods, components and labor. Analysts surveyed by Refintiv had expected 8.5% growth, according to reports. For all of 2021, the economy is expected to expand as much as 7%. If so, that would be the strongest calendar-year growth since 1984. And it would mark a sharp reversal from last year’s 3.5% economic contraction — the worst in 74 years — as a result of the pandemic.

Sailor Charged over Fire that Destroyed Navy Ship – A US Navy sailor has been charged in connection with last year’s devastating fire on board the USS Bonhomme Richard, which burned for four days and forced the Pentagon to scrap the amphibious assault ship. A statement from the Navy’s 3rd Fleet did not identify the sailor, but did say that the suspect was a member of the ship’s crew. Spokesperson Sean Robertson told the Associated Press the sailor was charged with aggravated arson and the willful hazarding of a vessel. Under the military’s code of justice, a preliminary hearing will be held at which a presiding officer will review the evidence against the sailor. After that, the officer will recommend whether the evidence warrants a court-martial or whether the charges should be dropped. The Navy’s statement did not elaborate on the nature of the evidence against the sailor, nor did it mention any possible motive.

This content, and any other content on TLS, may not be republished or reproduced without prior permission from TLS. Copying or reproducing our content is both against the law and against Halacha. To inquire about using our content, including videos or photos, email us at [email protected].

Stay up to date with our news alerts by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

**Click here to join over 20,000 receiving our Whatsapp Status updates!**

**Click here to join the official TLS WhatsApp Community!**

Got a news tip? Email us at [email protected], Text 415-857-2667, or WhatsApp 609-661-8668.