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Wait! What? Trump Only Makes $500k a Year?

News comes today that Donald Trump is digging in his heels on not releasing his tax returns ever, telling George Stephanopoulos "it's none of your business" how much tax he pays or at what rate. But last night TPM Reader JJ sent in a link to a ... well, it's just a harrowing revelation that makes me think that actually releasing his tax returns could be like heading to the ego guillotine for Trump.

Some clever sleuthing by Crain's New York Business reveals that Mr Trump, as members of the entourage call him, qualified for a tax break that requires your income be less than $500,000 a year. Yes, if you make more than half a million dollars a year, you can't qualify. But Trump did qualify.

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Come Work for Me at TPM

I'm looking for a new member of the TPM team to work directly with me on a new project we're launching. I don't want to go into great detail about the project in this post. But I can give you a pretty good sense of the sort of person we are looking for, the kind of knowledge and professional experience required. Are you a DC based journalist or a congressional staffer interested in a cool new opportunity? If so, join me after the jump for some more details. And if you're intrigued, drop me a line to discuss.

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Duckin' Donald & the Great Phone Skedaddle

Muslim-smashin', Mexican-bashin' tough guy Donald Trump seems to have been caught red-handed denying that he impersonated a non-existent spokesman to tell reporters how awesome he is. (Meet Trump Organization spokesman John Miller, who you can't meet because he doesn't exist.) Trump denied this notwithstanding the fact that he admitted to doing this in a legal deposition years ago. The story was bubbling all day. But when The Washington Post (attack organ run by Trump Arch-Nemesis Jeff Bezos) confronted him with the deception on the phone, he first went silent on the reporters and then hung up.

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Who's Your Favorite Trump Delegate Weirdo?

Katherine Krueger put together a list of the biggest extremists and freaks on Trump's various state delegates lists. We've heard a lot about the California white nationalist leader. But there's another Trump delegate - officially an alternate - currently in jail awaiting trial in February 2017 on various charges of conspiring against the US government, assaulting a federal officer and more. The judge in the case has denied him bail. So if he's going to be in Cleveland it'll probably have to be by teleconference from the federal jail cell. Who's your favorite Trump delegate extremist? Here's our list.

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Is Donald Trump Really a Billionaire?

Is the new Republican nominee for President of the United States really celebrity millionaire Donald Trump? Donald Trump's whole brand, arching from the realm of real estate and reality tv to now politics, rests on his having the Big B.

But could he really have Low B or even No B?

Back in 2009, Trump sued journalist Timothy O'Brien for calling him a "millionaire" not a "billionaire." O'Brien quoted source claiming Trump's net worth late in the last decade somewhere under $250 million. But as the Hollywood Reporter reported in 2011, not long after his humiliation at the White House Correspondents Dinner, Trump lost that suit.

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What About the Mass Expulsion?

I've been wondering about this for a few days. As Donald Trump and the GOP establishment go through this delicate dance toward a marriage of convenience, there are two or three big policy initiatives that are usually referenced as the ones that are just unacceptable to mainstream Republicans, too crazy to be considered, unconstitutional or just too politically damaging. The most frequently mentioned are Trump's proposed ban on Muslims entering the country and the Trump TajMaWall he says Mexico will agree to pay for.

This strikes me as odd because despite how odious these ideas are, there's very little mention of what is undoubtedly the craziest, most dangerous, most expensive and brutal of his policies: his plan to deport roughly 3% of the current US population in 18 months.

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Trump Gets Kochy

Start taking the establishment money and you'll start taking the establishment policy positions soon enough.

It's a little hard to get a sense of just what to make or just how seriously to take the policy initiatives Trump is getting behind as he moves from the emotive issues that are really driving his campaign to positions on the countless nuts and bolts issues the federal government must confront. At the center of the story is a guy named Sam Clovis, a Tea Party activist from Iowa who has been a campaign co-chair for some time and now is labeled his "chief policy advisor."

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