HC Wake-Up Call: Trump Tax Drama, Judge Protects Immigrants, & Sarah Sanders Defends Trump Mocking Dr. Ford

Good morning Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

Trump Responds to NYT Tax Investigation as Backlash Ensues

ICYMI, The New York Times published a bombshell report on Tuesday which accused President Trump of participating in fraudulent tax schemes throughout the 1990s to greatly increase the payout he'd later receive from his parents. Trump was able to reportedly pocket at least $413 million in today's dollars, mostly due to him helping his mother and father dodge taxes by doing things like setting up a fake corporation to disguise millions in gifts. 

Trump responded to the report on Wednesday by lashing out at the NYT. He also referenced a common term used in economics — "time value of money" — to somehow claim the newspaper's reporting style was "old." Regardless, the Times' article adjusted figures for inflation and did not appear to calculate time value of money.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also refuted the report's claims. "Fred Trump has been gone for nearly twenty years and it’s sad to witness this misleading attack against the Trump family by the failing New York Times," Sanders said in a statement, referring to Trump’s late father.

She continued, "Many decades ago the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions. The New York Times’ and other media outlets’ credibility with the American people is at an all time low because they are consumed with attacking the president and his family 24/7 instead of reporting the news."

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats publicized the report in a renewed effort to get Trump to release his tax returns. Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch said that he would be "happy" to look into the report's allegations. The state of New York is currently investigating the claims.

Judge Blocks Trump Administration's Termination of Legal Protections for Immigrants

On Wednesday, a California judge blocked the Trump administration's attempts to end protections — known as TPS, or temporary protected status — which allowed immigrants from four countries to live and work in the US. Prior to the ruling from US District Judge Edward Chen, hundreds of thousands of immigrants were facing the possibility of being deported. According to CNN, Chen ruled that the government has to uphold TPS and employment authorizations for TPS beneficiaries as a lawsuit challenging the government's attempted elimination of the protections continues. 

As TPS currently stands, people from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador — otherwise known as countries currently facing natural disasters or war — can remain in the US until conditions improve back home. The lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's decision to end the temporary protections accuses them of being motivated by racism, citing Trump's reference to "shithole countries" in January. 

Devin O'Malley, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, condemned the ruling in a statement. "The Court's decision usurps the role of the executive branch in our constitutional order," the statement read. "The Court contends that the duly elected President of the United States cannot be involved in matters deciding the safety and security of our nation's citizens or in the enforcement of our immigration laws. The Justice Department completely rejects the notion that the White House or the Department of Homeland Security did anything improper. We will continue to fight for the integrity of our immigration laws and our national security."

Others, such as Working Families United, celebrated the decision. "This shows that Trump’s move to terminate TPS was based on his racial motivations and not in any law or consideration of safety," the group said in a statement. "With the suit still in court, Congress must act to create a pathway to legal residency and make the protections permanent."

Sarah Sanders, Kellyanne Conway Defend Trump Mocking Christine Blasey Ford

As the FBI continues its investigation into Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when the two were in high school, Trump used a campaign rally on Tuesday to cast doubt on the accusation and make fun of Ford. "I had one beer. Well, do you think it was — nope, it was one beer," Trump said, mocking Ford's testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, when she recounted her assault with as much detail as she could remember. "How did you get home? I don't remember. How'd you get there? I don't remember. Where is the place? I don't remember. How many years ago was it? I don't know."

A number of senators spoke out against Trump's behavior — even Sen. Jeff Flake, who was once a staunch supporter of Kavanaugh's nomination, called the comments "insensitive and appalling," — but Sarah Sanders and White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway defended the president. When asked about what Trump said at the rally, Conway first insisted that the White House and Senate Judiciary Committee have been "incredibly accommodating" when it comes to Ford. "She provided her testimony, she still has no corroboration for her testimony,” Conway said. "The president is pointed out factual inconsistencies. By Ford’s own testimony, there are gaps in her memory, there are facts that she cannot remember."

Sanders had a similar response, saying that Trump "is simply putting out the facts of the matter." She reportedly refused to say whether Trump still thinks that Ford is a "very credible witness," as he said just last week.

What to look for...

A Star Is Born. The film is set to be released tomorrow, but it's premiering in a number of theaters across the US tonight!