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Trump recommending Herman Cain for Federal Reserve Board

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By Hallie Jackson, Geoff Bennett, Dartunorro Clark and Allan Smith

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he has recommended Herman Cain, a former pizza company executive and 2012 Republican presidential candidate, for the Federal Reserve Board.

“He’s a very terrific man, a terrific person,” Trump said. “He is a friend of mine. I have recommended him highly for the Fed. I’ve told my folks that that’s the man.”

Trump added that Cain is going through a background check, “and I would imagine he would be in great shape.”

“I find Herman to be an outstanding person, a truly outstanding individual,” Trump continued. “I would think he would do very well there.”

Two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News earlier Thursday that Trump was considering nominating Cain for the position, which carries a 14-year term and must be confirmed by the Senate. Cain’s possible nomination was first reported by Bloomberg in January and again by Axios on Thursday.

The possible nomination comes as Trump’s most recent Federal Reserve pick, Stephen Moore, has come under fire for reports about his back taxes and failing to make alimony payments to his ex-wife. Trump has repeatedly criticized the Fed for its monetary policies and its stewardship of the economy under Chairman Jerome Powell, who was confirmed in January 2018.

A spokesperson for Cain declined to comment when contacted by NBC News.

Cain ran the Nebraska-based Godfather’s Pizza franchise from 1986 to 1996 and has claimed his leadership saved the company from bankruptcy. He frequently touted his business acumen in his run for president and was briefly a front-runner and tea party favorite among a crowded field of GOP hopefuls.

The businessman ended his presidential campaign, however, after allegations surfaced that he had sexually harassed several women around the time he headed the National Restaurant Association, which he ran from 1996 to 1999, and that he had an extramarital affair.

Four women alleged inappropriate sexual behavior during their time at the association, two of whom were reportedly paid a settlement by the trade group. One of the women accused Cain of groping her and attempting to force her head toward his lap. Another woman alleged Cain had a 13-year extramarital affair with her that ended just before he started to run for president.

Cain vehemently denied the allegations at the time.

“The charges and the accusations I absolutely reject. They simply didn’t happen,” he said at a press conference in 2011.

Trump at the time publicly defended Cain, calling the accusations an “unfair witch hunt.”

Cain joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in 1989, later becoming its deputy chairman and then chairman. During a GOP presidential debate in 2011, Cain criticized the direction of the Federal Reserve, arguing that it should be more accountable to the public.

“Yes, it should be audited,” he said. “And, secondly, I believe that its focus needs to be narrowed. I don’t believe in ending the Fed, I believe in fixing the Fed.”

“For many, many decades, the Fed did its job when it was singularly focused on sound money,” Cain continued. “When we wake up in the morning, we expect 60 minutes to be in an hour. Now when we wake up, because of some of the actions of the current Fed, we don’t know what the value of the dollar is going to be.”

In recent years, Cain tweeted favorably about raising interest rates — something Trump has repeatedly criticized the Fed for doing last year.



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Bill Weld announces run against Trump on GOP line

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By Dareh Gregorian

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld announced Monday he was officially running for president on the GOP line — making him the first Republican to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 primaries.

“America deserves better,” Weld’s campaign announcement video said, before showing video clips of Trump mocking John McCain, imitating a disabled reporter, praising Wikileaks and the notorious “Access Hollywood” tape where he was caught on audio making inappropriate comments about women.

“It is time for patriotic men and women across our great nation to stand and plant a flag. It is time to return to the principles of Lincoln — equality, dignity, and opportunity for all. There is no greater cause on earth than to preserve what truly makes America great. I am ready to lead that fight,” Weld said in a statement.

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Sanders releases 10 years of tax returns showing income bump from campaign book

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By Shaquille Brewster

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., released 10 years of tax returns Monday evening, showing the majority of his income came from his U.S. Senate salary until 2016, when his income jumped with the publication of a book on his first presidential run.

His total income popped to over $1 million in 2016 and 2017, after he wrote “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In” in November 2016, raising his effective tax rate for those years to over 30 percent.

“I consider paying more in taxes as my income rose to be both an obligation and an investment in our country,” Sanders said in a statement released by his campaign. “I will continue to fight to make our tax system more progressive so that our country has the resources to guarantee the American Dream to all people.”

His book debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at #3, and has sold approximately 227,000 copies, according to the industry tracker NPD BookScan. Two subsequent books, “The Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution” and “Where Do We Go From Here: Two Years in the Resistance” sold over 27,000 and 26,000 copies, respectively.

During his 2016 campaign, Sanders initially released just a summary of his 2014 tax returns, before releasing his full return later in the primary.

“We had a good idea based on his 2014 returns what to expect,” Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute, told NBC News after reviewing his returns. “He made a whole bunch of money as an author now, which is sizable. Running for president has been a lucrative business for him.”

Sanders has been under pressure to release his returns since he launched his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in February. In a televised CNN town hall shortly after, the senator promised to release them “sooner than later.”

However, after several weeks without producing documents, questions continued to grow. Sanders then told reporters he would release them by tax day, April 15th.

“You sort of wonder why he resisted releasing more returns in prior years,” Rosenthal said. “Now he’s released 10 years of returns but they all look the same, all of which is pretty modest in what he’s showing.”

On the trail, Sanders — who makes the fight for economic justice a fundamental theme of his candidacy — routinely rails against the millionaire and billionaire class, saying the “1 percent may have unlimited resources and power, but they are the 1 percent. We are the 99 percent.” In January, he introduced the “For the 99.8 Percent Act” that his office says would raise $2.2 trillion through a dramatic increase to the estate tax on wealthy families.

Sanders now joins several other 2020 candidates who have released their tax documents to the public. Sunday, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., released 15 years of returns. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., added 2018 to the 10 years of returns released last August. In March, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., was the first to release her 2018 returns, publishing 12 years total, and started an online petition that calls on every candidate to disclose their taxes.

Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., have released their returns for this year as well.



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Bill Weld announces run against Trump on GOP line

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By Dareh Gregorian

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld announced Monday he was officially running for president on the GOP line — making him the first Republican to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 primaries.

“America deserves better,” Weld’s campaign announcement video said, before showing video clips of Trump mocking John McCain, imitating a disabled reporter, praising Wikileaks and the notorious “Access Hollywood” tape where he was caught on audio making inappropriate comments about women.

“It is time for patriotic men and women across our great nation to stand and plant a flag. It is time to return to the principles of Lincoln — equality, dignity, and opportunity for all. There is no greater cause on earth than to preserve what truly makes America great. I am ready to lead that fight,” Weld said in a statement.

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