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5 things for Wednesday March 15: Trump taxes, snowstorm aftermath, Dutch elections
You know how President Trump promised to release his taxes if he won the election, but there is serious doubt he ever will? Well, now we have them -- sort of. The White House released partial information Tuesday night about the President's 2005 taxes. It shows Trump earned more than $150 million in income and paid $38 million in taxes, after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction.
The information is fairly uneventful. Its release was spurred by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who teased that she had the long-sought-after tax returns and would release the info Tuesday night on her show. The reveal turned out to be a dud -- incomplete, and far from the incriminating bombshell many Trump critics were hoping for. If anything, she merely proved the White House was fully capable of releasing tax info -- and has just decided not to.
The big late-winter storm spared parts of the Northeast, but five weather-related deaths were reported in three states and Canada. Some of the heaviest-hit areas were upstate New York, which got 30 inches of snow in some parts, and the Hartford, Connecticut area, where as much as 19 inches fell. Parts of New Jersey got 20 inches of snow, while other places were barely dusted. Life should start getting back to normal today. Schools, businesses and roads will reopen, though more than 1,000 flights are canceled, most in the storm zone.
Voters in the Netherlands head to the polls today in an election widely seen as an indicator of populist sentiment across Europe. Conservative Prime Minister Mark Rutte is facing a tight battle with far-right rival Geert Wilders, whose anti-immigrant, anti-Islam tirades have landed him in court -- but also won him widespread support in a country that is increasingly polarized by austerity and immigration issues. The Dutch have 28 different parties on the ballot. Concerned lawmakers say Wilders' charisma and controversy are pulling other parties to the right.
The upcoming French elections, meanwhile, continue to be marked by scandal. Republican nominee François Fillon was placed under formal investigation Tuesday on multiple counts, including embezzlement of public funds. He is accused of paying his wife and children for work they did not do. Fillon was already under pressure to stand down as a nominee, and those calls will likely get louder now.
And he's not the only one: Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, a Trump supporter and a front-runner, is also under scrutiny after several members of her staff were accused by officials of being paid for non-existent jobs. She is also under inquiry for violent images she sent on Twitter of ISIS killings.
So, is the FBI investigating ties between Russia and the Trump campaign or not? We should know today, according to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who said FBI Director James Comey promised to tell him whether such an investigation exists, and if so, its scope. Whitehouse, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, is leading one of three Congressional investigations into Russia's interference in the US elections.
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