The Morning Scroll: Taylor Swift Donates Over $100,000 to a Tennessee LGBTQ Advocacy Group & Treasury Secretary Grilled on Request for Trump's Tax Returns

Morning! While you were sleeping (or staying up to binge-watch Friends for the tenth time, or pulling an all nighter in the library), a few things went down that you’ll probably want to know about. So grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and get scrolling.

Rumor Has It

Taylor Swift has been establishing her political voice and meant it when she said she was going to get more involved in politics. (Which we are totally for!) Keeping to her promise, Swift donated $113,000 to Tennessee Equality Project, an LGBTQ+ organization aimed at securing equal rights through legislative advocacy, to stop anti-LGBTQ legislation in the Tennessee legislature.

Along with her donation, the Look What You Made Me Do singer sent a handwritten note, writing, “I’m writing you to say that I’m so inspired by the work you do, specifically in organizing the recent petition of Tennessee faith leaders standing up against the Slate of Hate in our state legislature. Please convey my heartfelt thanks to them and accept this donation to support the work you and these leaders are doing. I’m so grateful that they’re giving all people a place to worship.”

The “Slate of Hate” the pop singer references in her letter is a series of 12 bills introduced in the Tennessee legislature earlier this year that, if passed, would limit the rights of LGBTQ citizens, NBC News reports. Among the bills are the Tennessee Natural Marriage Act, which would ban gay marriage, as well as a bill that would protect adoption agencies from turning away gay parents.

According to PEOPLE, the Tennessee Equality Project recently gathered more than 100 religious leaders in the state to support a petition against the bills.

Tennessee Equality Project executive director Chris Sanders thanked the singer for her support and contribution.

“She sees our struggle in Tennessee and continues to add her voice with so many good people, including religious leaders, who are speaking out for love in the face of fear,” Sanders wrote on Facebook. “Tennessee Equality Project is honored and grateful to reveal Taylor Swift has made a donation of $113,000 to support our efforts at this critical moment.”

News You Can Eat

Oreo always seems to have a never-ending parade of delicious limited edition cookies. Despite just being gifted with the Game of Thrones Oreos just in time for the premiere of the final season, it appears that Oreo is cooking up some out of this world cookies for another special occasion.

In the latest Oreo leak, Instagram account CandyHunting, which always seems to be spot on with Oreo news, posted on Friday that “New Marshmallow Moon Oreos will be out soon!” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

The very first human moon landing was the Apollo 11 mission on July 20th, 1969, where Neil Armstrong took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

“The cream appears to be a light shade of purple and marshmallow flavored,” CandyHunting wrote of the new cookies. “The pack uses phosphorescent (glow in the dark) ink and has stickers on the back. If you’re wondering why the name Marshmallow Moon sounds familiar, it’s because Ben & Jerry’s released a Special Stash flavor by that name in 2017.”

The cookie will also have a moon and three little stars stamped on it instead of the traditional Nabisco stamp, according to Delish.

Instagram account JunkBanter had also posted a photo of the Marshmallow Moon Oreos, but this package appears to be the real deal, as you can see someone is actually holding it.

According to Food & Wine, JunkBanter also posted two other photos of Baskin Robbins Mint Chocolate Chip Oreos and Maple Crème Oreos, which will supposedly come out sometime this year.

Now our only question is: when can we eat a whole package of all of the new Oreos?

Then This Happened

During a congressional hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin if he would comply with Democrats’ request for six years of President Donald Trump’s personal and business tax returns.

“I want to acknowledge we have received the request,” Mnuchin said, skating around giving a direct answer as to whether the tax returns will be furnished or not. “As I said before, we will follow the law. We are reviewing it with our internal legal department and I would leave it at that.”

When asked by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) if the Treasury Department had consulted with the White House, Mnuchin told the committee that his agency’s lawyers had consulted with but did not take direction from the White House.

“I don't see that as interference. They consulted with them before. It was not related to the President's tax returns, only the expectation of getting the request,” Mnuchin said. "We would not ever ask for the White House's permission on this nor did they give us the permission. As I’ve said we consulted which I believe was appropriate of our legal department.”

But Maloney called “any communication” with the White House “troubling” and said it “violates the spirit of the law.”

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) requested Trump’s tax returns from the Treasury Department using a little-known provision in the tax code that allows the chairman of House Ways and Means to make such requests for personal tax returns, CNN reports. Neal and his fellow Democrats have argued that the law clearly states that if the chairman requests the information, the Treasury Secretary “shall furnish” those documents.

“There is a requirement for presidents to have financial disclosure. I believe this president has complied with that, as other people, and the general public when they elected President Trump made the decision to elect him without his tax returns being released,” Mnuchin said.

When asked if he was afraid of being fired for complying with the Democrats’ request, Mnuchin said, “I’m not afraid of being fired at all.”

The meeting, however, ended before all lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee got a chance to question Mnuchin, according to ABC News, as he was eager to rush to the Treasury Department to meet with a foreign leader at 5:30 p.m. Waters refused to dismiss Mnuchin, and the two squabbled about whether he would return to voluntarily testify in May.

Waters ultimately dismissed him, saying, “You are free to leave. Any time you want, you may go.”

The Treasury Department has until Wednesday to comply with Democrats’ deadline for Trump’s tax returns, The Hill reports. 

Happy Thoughts

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