Overnight Finance

On The Money: Manhattan DA obtains Trump tax returns | Biden nominee previews post-Trump trade agenda | Biden faces first setback as Tanden teeters

Happy Thursday and welcome back to On The Money, where we're fighting off nightmares about the new Rugrats. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL-Manhattan DA obtains Trump tax returns: They finally got them.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office has obtained former President Trump's tax returns, according to a spokesman for Cyrus Vance, Jr., the top state prosecutor for New York City's most iconic borough.

How we got here: The Supreme Court on Monday rebuffed an effort from Trump's lawyers to shield the documents.

What prosecutors have: 

  • CNN, which first reported the news, said that prosecutors have obtained millions of pages of documents, including tax returns from January 2011 to August 2019, financial statements and documents concerning the preparation and review of the tax returns.
  • The district attorney's office obtained the documents from Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, which it had subpoenaed in 2019 as part of a grand jury investigation. 

What happens now: The DA's office now has a trove of documents to analyze for any connection to its investigation into payments made prior to the 2016 president election to silence two women who alleged they had affairs with Trump. Prosecutors have also said they are looking into potential financial crimes by the Trump Organization.

The Hill's Naomi Jagoda breaks it down here.

So, when do we get to see them? Not any time soon. The documents are subject to grand jury secrecy rules, so they are unlikely to become public in the near future. But we do know, thanks to the New York Times, that Trump paid little to no federal income taxes in many recent years.

 

LEADING THE DAY

Biden nominee previews post-Trump trade agenda: Katherine Tai, President Biden's pick for U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), previewed the administration's post-Trump trade agenda at a confirmation hearing Thursday where senators signaled bipartisan support for her nomination.

Tai, a former general counsel to the USTR and top lawyer for the House Ways and Means Committee, jumped right in with her opening statement by addressing a frequent criticism of U.S. trade in recent administrations: that it has left too many people behind.

"We must pursue trade policies that advance the interests of all Americans - policies that recognize that people are workers and wage earners, not just consumers; policies that promote broad, equitable growth here at home; policies that support American innovation and enhance our competitive edge," she said.

The Hill's Niv Elis takes us there.

 

Tai's takes on...

  • Trade deals: "Having gone through four years of Trump administration trade policies, the previous years of efforts to negotiate the [Trans-Pacific Partnership] and the last year of living in a pandemic world ... I think that our trade policies need to be nuanced, and need to take into account all of the lessons that we have learned, many of them very painful, from our most recent history."
  • China: "China is simultaneously a rival, a trade partner, and an outsized player whose cooperation we'll also need to address certain global challenges. We must remember how to walk, chew gum and play chess at the same time."
  • Tariffs? Tai didn't say much about when or how the administration might lift tariffs on billions of dollars of goods from China, Europe and a variety of key allies that Trump imposed, an irritant to major trade groups. She also sidestepped questions on whether she supported stronger oversight on the use of section 232 tariffs, which Trump used liberally to impose tariffs under the guise of national security.

 

What happens next: Tai seems like she's on track for a smooth confirmation. Her hearing featured glowing endorsements from House and Senate trade leaders in both parties, so there's little doubt about her viability.

Biden faces first setback as Tanden teeters: While Tai is cruising ahead, President Biden looks like he's going to take his first big loss as Neera Tanden's nomination circles the drain.

  • Tanden's nomination to head the Office of Management and Budget looks more imperiled by the day, with a growing expectation that she could drop out as soon as Friday.
  • The White House remains publicly loyal to Tanden, insisting they are not wavering from their desire to see her confirmed. But if the plug gets pulled in the end, it will deal Biden his first significant setback.

JUST IN: The Hill's Niall Stanage shares his perspective on what Tanden's defeat means for Biden.

Read more: Black Caucus members lobby Biden to tap Shalanda Young for OMB head

 

GOOD TO KNOW

  • The Labor Department on Thursday expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits to those who refused to return to work or declined a job offer because the worksite was not following coronavirus safety protocols.
  • Democratic senators on Thursday said that they don't know if the Senate parliamentarian will allow the final version of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package to include a provision that would direct the Treasury Department to make advance payments of the child tax credit (CTC) on a monthly basis.
  • A group of House Democrats is urging leadership to provide tax relief for recipients of unemployment benefits in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package the House is expected to vote on this week.
  • The stock market took steep losses Thursday as a sharp increase in Treasury bond yields drove investors away from high-priced shares of companies that boomed throughout the pandemic.
  • The House on Thursday passed the Equality Act, a sweeping civil rights bill that expands protections in education, housing, employment and more to LGBT people. 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Costco CEO Craig Jelinek told a Senate panel Thursday that the wholesale retailer will increase its starting wage to $16 next week, putting it ahead of competitors like Walmart and Target.
  • Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) will introduce legislation to codify a tabled Trump administration rule that sought to force banks to serve the fossil fuel and firearms industries. 
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