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Trump’s tax returns: What is 6103 and how will it be used to get Trump’s returns?

Trump’s tax returns: What is 6103 and how will it be used to get Trump’s returns?

Trump’s tax returns: What is 6103 and how will it be used to get Trump’s returns?
Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin testifies before the House Appropriations Committee during a hearing on President Trump's budget request for Fiscal Year 2020, Tuesday, April 9, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Mnuchin said Tuesday that his department intends to "follow the law" and is reviewing a request by a top House Democrat to provide Trump's tax returns to lawmakers.  

Trump’s tax returns: What is 6103 and how will it be used to get Trump’s returns?

Rep. Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, last week requested copies of President Donald Trump’s personal and business income tax returns to be handed over by Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news

Neal sent the request to Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig using a little-used provision in the U.S. tax code which allows a handful of House and Senate committee chairmen, with a legitimate purpose, to review the tax return of American.

Here is a link to Neal’s letter.

The law Neal invoked, Title 26, Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, allows for an exception to the traditional rule that an American’s income tax return is private. Neal has asked to see six years of returns and whether any of the returns had been “under any type of examination or audit” and “the issue(s) under examination.”

>> Democrats ask IRS for Trump's personal, business tax returns

The Trump administration has indicated the president will not willingly turn over his returns, citing an ongoing IRS audit, thus setting up a likely court battle over the returns.

Here’s a look at that law Neal used to request those returns and how it works.

What is the law

In the letter sent to the IRS last week, Neal cited a little known IRS code in his request for Trump's tax returns from 2013 to 2018.

The law, specifically Section 6103, allows for only four members of Congress to request a review of any individual’s tax returns.

The request can come from the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee – currently, that’s Neal; the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee – Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT)-- Neal is the chair of the Joint Committee on Taxation; or the chief of staff of the JCT, Thomas Barthold.

The request must be made to the secretary of Treasury – currently, Steve Mnuchin – who oversees the IRS. Once a request is made by one of those chairmen, no other action is needed or taken from the House or Senate floor.

In other words, the chairman’s request is all it takes to set the process in motion.

According to the law, if any of those chairmen send a written request for a tax refund the Treasury secretary “shall furnish” that information to that chairman. 

There is a process for receiving and viewing the returns in order to attempt to maintain the confidentiality of the information in the return.

The review of a return must take place in “closed executive session” if the chairman has gotten the documents without the individual’s consent.

Here is the text of the law:

Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Secretary [of the Treasury] shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request, except that any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished to such committee only when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure. 

Can Trump refuse to turn over his returns?

Trump, like any other American, can refuse to voluntarily turn over his returns. He has already done so for months. However, that refusal will likely mean the dispute ends up in court.

On Friday, Trump’s attorney wrote a four-page letter to the Treasury Department challenging Neal’s request for the returns, saying that to grant the request would set a "dangerous precedent."

The letter argued that the Ways and Means Committee would be overstepping its purpose as an oversight committee by acting as a law enforcement body if they forced the IRS to release the returns and the returns then led to charges against Trump.

In Watkins v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “there is no congressional power to expose for the sake of exposure.” 

Neal cited the committee’s oversight function in asking for the returns, saying that the Ways and Means committee has the responsibility to oversee the IRS and make sure the agency is correctly auditing the president’s returns.

By law, the president’s and vice president’s tax returns are automatically audited by the IRS.

Trump’s attorney, William Consovoy, asked the Treasury Department to get a formal legal opinion from the Justice Department before agreeing to turn over any information to Neal.

“Caution and deliberation are essential to ensure that the Treasury Department does not erode the constitutional separation of powers,” Consovoy wrote in Friday’s letter.

What happens if the Treasury secretary does not turn over the returns?

George K. Yin, a law professor at the University of and former Joint Committee on Taxation chief of staff, testified before a House Ways and Means subcommittee in February saying there is “no wiggle room” for the Treasury secretary to deny the request for Trump’s returns.

Mnuchin could be held in contempt of Congress if he should refuse to turn over the returns. Mnuchin could also be subpoenaed. 

According to the Associated Press, Mnuchin said Tuesday that his department intends to "follow the law" and is reviewing a request by a top House Democrat to provide President Donald Trump's tax returns to lawmakers.

>> Mnuchin says he'll 'follow the law' on Trump tax returns

What would likely happen if Neal does not get the returns by Wednesday?

According to The Wall Street Journal, Neal is likely to send another letter to the IRS requesting the returns before deciding whether to issue a subpoena for the records or sue for the chance to see them.

If the IRS does release the returns, who would get to review them?

Neal would get to see the returns as would any other staff member he chooses. That list could include members of the Ways and Means Committee or the Joint Committee on Taxation. 

Will the president’s returns be made public?

Yes, it’s likely the president’s returns would become public, but maybe not in the way you would think.

Neal could review the returns, put the Ways and Means committee into a private session and call for the committee to vote on whether Trump’s tax returns would be submitted to the full House or Senate.

Once that information is given to the full House and/or Senate,  Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution takes effect. Article 1 contains the "speech or debate" clause. What that clause does is exempt Senate and House members from civil or criminal penalties for "legislative acts" or acts committed as part of their official responsibilities.

One thing that could keep the returns from becoming public is that such information may only be shared with the full House or Senate only if there is a “legitimate legislative purpose” for making the returns public.

Can the president ask for the tax return of Democrats, or anyone else, for that matter?

According to IRS code, the agency “may disclose returns or return information to the President and/or to certain named employees of the White House upon the written request of the President, signed by the President personally.”

In that request, the president must disclose the reason he or she wants to see the return. The White House must also report quarterly to Congress “regarding the disclosures of returns or return information made … .”

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Iran’s health ministry confirmed 10 new cases of the virus – bringing the country’s total to 28 – and a fifth fatality. The ripple effect among travelers, however, is sounding alarm bells among infectious disease experts. According to the New York Times, cases confirmed in both Canada and Lebanon have been traced to travel to and from Iran. “The cases that we see in the rest of the world, although the numbers are small, but not linked to Wuhan or China, it’s very worrisome,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said Friday at a news conference at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. “These dots are actually very concerning.” Kianoush Jahanpour, Iran’s health ministry spokesman, said that of the 10 latest reported cases, two were diagnosed in Tehran and eight are in Qom. According to The Associated Press, two elderly patients died in Qom Wednesday and the two Tehran patients either visited or had links to Qom. Novel coronavirus cases diagnosed outside mainland China surpass 1,500  Update 3:24 a.m. EST Feb 22: With health officials monitoring the novel coronavirus’ spread beyond its epicenter in Wuhan, China, the number of confirmed cases diagnosed outside mainland China hit a new milestone early Saturday morning. The latest figures indicate more than 1,500 cases and 15 deaths attributed to the virus have been recorded in more than 30 countries and territories outside mainland China since December, CNN reported. The geographic breakdown of confirmed cases and deaths is as follows: • Australia: at least 21 cases • Belgium: at least 1 case • Cambodia: at least 1 case • Canada: at least 9 cases • Egypt: at least 1 case • Finland: at least 1 case • France: at least 12 cases, 1 death • Germany: at least 16 cases • Hong Kong: at least 68 cases, 2 deaths • India: at least 3 cases • Iran: at least 18 cases, 4 deaths • Israel: at least 1 case • Italy: at least 17 cases, 1 death • Japan: at least 738 cases, including 639 linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship; 3 deaths • Lebanon: at least 1 case • Macao: at least 10 cases • Malaysia: at least 22 cases • Nepal: at least 1 case • Philippines: at least 3 cases, 1 death • Russia: at least 2 cases • Singapore: at least 86 cases • South Korea: at least 347 cases, 1 death • Spain: at least 2 cases • Sri Lanka: at least 1 case • Sweden: at least 1 case • Taiwan: at least 26 cases, 1 death • Thailand: at least 35 cases • United Arab Emirates: at least 9 cases • United Kingdom: at least 9 cases • United States: at least 35 cases • Vietnam: at least 16 cases Mainland China death toll reaches 2,345  Update 3:22 a.m. EST Feb 22: China’s National Health Commission confirmed early Saturday the death toll from the novel coronavirus has increased by another 109 fatalities to 2,345. According to CNN, all but three of the latest mainland deaths occurred in the outbreak’s Hubei province epicenter. The latest figures bring the global death toll to 2,360. Meanwhile, confirmed cases in increased by 397 on Friday, bringing mainland China’s total number of recorded cases to 76,288. Health authorities contend a total of 20,659 patients have recovered from the virus and been discharged from medical facilities. Australia confirms 6 new cases  Update 3:20 a.m. EST Feb 22: Six people repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, boosting Australia’s total infection count to 21. According to the Australian government’s Department of Health, 10 patients have recovered from the illness. Diamond Princess cruise ship awaits scrub down  Update 3:18 a.m. EST Feb 22: The Diamond Princess cruise ship will soon undergo a thorough deep cleaning to prepare the vessel to resume sailing on April 29. Negin Kamali, Princess Cruises’ public relations director, told CNN Travel the company is working in tandem with the Japanese health ministry to hammer out sanitation specifics for the 116,000-ton ship. The vessel will be “fully sanitized by a cleaning company with an expertise in this area following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization,” Kamali told CNN. Only 31 passengers remained onboard the ship Saturday morning after 253 who tested negative for the novel coronavirus were allowed to disembark on Friday. The ship’s 924-member crew also remains aboard. The ship has been moored in Yokohama Bay off the coast of Japan since early February. To date, the virus-stricken ship, which housed 3,600 crew and passengers upon arrival, is linked to at least 639 coronavirus infections, CNN reported. Japan reports 12 new cases  Update 3:16 a.m. EST Feb 22: Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare confirmed early Saturday the diagnoses of 12 new novel coronavirus cases, including three teenagers. The latest report brings Japan’s total number of infections to 738, including 99 on land and 639 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.  Italy confirms first novel coronavirus death Update 3:14 a.m. EST Feb 22: Italian officials confirmed Saturday their first citizen has succumbed to the novel coronavirus. The 78-year-old man died in a Padua hospital in northern Italy. To date, the country has recorded a total of 17 infections. Taiwan confirms 2 new cases Update 3:12 a.m. EST Feb 22: Taiwan’s novel coronavirus infection count now stands at 26 after two additional cases were confirmed on the island Saturday. The most recent patients are the daughter and granddaughter of a previously diagnosed patient, and neither had traveled recently. 142 new cases of the virus reported in South Korea  Update 9 p.m. EST Feb 21: South Korea reported a six-fold jump in viral infections in four days to 346, most of them linked to a church and a hospital in and around the fourth-largest city where schools were closed and worshipers and others told to avoid mass gatherings.  Of the 142 new cases in South Korea, 131 are from Daegu and nearby regions, which have emerged as the latest front in the widening global fight against COVID-19.  China the daily count of new virus cases there fell significantly to 397, with another 109 people dying of the disease, most in the epicenter of Hubei province.  The new figures bring the total number of cases in mainland China to 76,288 with 2,345 deaths, as strict quarantine measures and travel bans continue to contain the disease that emerged in China in December and has since spread world-wide. The daily figure is down from 889. WHO’s latest situation report The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization says that coronavirus has been found in 30 countries around the world. Read the latest situation report from the WHO below. Italy’s virus cases quadruples Update 1:20 p.m. EST Feb 21: Officials in Italy are reporting that the number of people infected by coronavirus has quadrupled. As of Friday, the country has seen 17 cases, with 14 of them new. They are being considered secondary contagion cases and are clustered in small towns around Lodi, in the Lombardy region, The Associated Press reported. It was previously reported that a 38-year-old man, who is in critical condition due to coronavirus, passed the illness to his wife and a close friend after he picked it up from a person who had been in China, but not showing any symptoms. The person who was in China is in isolation and may have antibodies to battle the illness. Three patients at the hospital where the patient who is in critical condition visited when he was being treated for flu-like symptoms have tested positive. As do five nurses and doctors at the same facility. Three people who went to the same cafe as the 38-year-old man who is sick also have tested positive. Because of the cluster, the mayor of Codogno has closed schools, public buildings,s restaurants and coffee shops. And has ordered the 14-day quarantine of anyone who came in contact with the man and the two people first diagnosed, the AP reported. 1 new coronavirus case confirmed in Singapore Update 11 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Officials with Singapore’s Ministry of Health have verified another case of coronavirus in the country, bringing the total number of people infected in Singapore to 86. Authorities said the newest case involves a 24-year-old Singaporean man who was under isolation Friday at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. His illness was linked to one reported earlier this week involving a 57-year-old woman who had no history of recent travel to China. Officials said 47 people who have been diagnosed with coronavirus in Singapore have since recovered and been released from hospitals. Lebanon, Israel confirm 1st coronavirus cases Update 10 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Health officials in Lebanon and Israel announced Friday the first confirmed coronavirus cases in the countries. Lebanon’s health minister, Hamad Hassan, said Friday that a 45-year-old woman tested positive for coronavirus after entering the country from Iran, Reuters reported. She was being quarantined Friday at a hospital in Beirut, according to Reuters. The Jerusalem Post reported an Israeli who returned to the country Thursday after being evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship has tested positive for the virus. The coronavirus case marked the first in Israel, though health officials noted the passenger had contracted virus while in Japan. Earlier this month, thousands of people were quarantined on the Diamond Princess, docked off the coast of Japan, due to coronavirus fears. Hundreds of people on the ship ended up testing positive for the viral infection. South Korea reports 2nd coronavirus death  Update 9 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Officials in South Korea reported the country’s second death due to coronavirus Friday, The Washington Post reported. Citing the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Post reported a woman in her 50s died after testing positive for the virus Friday at Daenam Hospital. She was transferred to a bigger hospital in Busan, where she died around 6 p.m., according to the newspaper. The death marked the second related to COVID-19 in South Korea. On Wednesday, a 63-year-old patient died after suffering symptoms of pneumonia in what was suspected to be the country’s first coronavirus death, according to The New York Times. Iran confirms 18 cases, 4 deaths Update 7:50 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Iranian officials confirmed on Friday that 13 new cases of the novel coronavirus have been diagnosed and two additional patients have died. Friday’s figures bring Iran’s total number of infections to 18 and the death toll from the virus to four, CNN reported. “According to the latest laboratory reports 13 more contractions of coronavirus have been confirmed, including 7 in Qom, 4 in Tehran, and two in Gilan. Unfortunately, out of these cases two have lost their lives,' health ministry spokesman Kianoosh Jahanpour tweeted Friday. 3 novel coronavirus cases confirmed in Italy Update 7:32 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Italy confirmed its first novel coronavirus cases Friday, noting three people in a city near Milan have tested positive for the illness. According to The Washington Post, the first patient to contract the virus was a 38-year-old man in the northern region of Lombardy, who fell ill after dining with a friend who had recently returned from China. The man then passed the illness on to his wife and a close friend. All three patients have been hospitalized, the Post reported. Confirmed novel coronavirus cases, fatalities continue to increase globally Update 6:46 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Globally, more than 76,900 novel coronavirus cases have been reported, according to the latest figures released Friday morning by health officials in China. Although the majority of cases – around 75,600 – remain clustered in mainland China, more than 1,300 cases have been confirmed in 29 countries, CNN reported. Meanwhile, 118 additional deaths were confirmed in mainland China Friday, with the global death toll reaching 2,247, the network reported. Vaccine nearing clinical trials in China Update 6:44 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Xu Nanping, China’s vice minister of Science and Technology, told reporters Friday that Chinese researchers expect to submit the first COVID-19 vaccine for clinical trials around late April. The status update comes roughly one month after Chinese officials established a coronavirus scientific research group, consisting of 14 experts led by renowned pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan, The Washington Post reported. “One month is a very short time for scientific research, but a very long time for patients struggling with the disease. The scientific and technological community nationwide will put the safety of people’s lives and health first and spare no effort to continue to produce tangible and effective scientific research results,” Xu told reporters during the briefing. Protesters attack Wuhan evacuee bus in Ukraine; 9 police officers, 1 civilian injured Update 6:42 a.m. EST Feb. 21: The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs said nine police officers and one civilian were injured Thursday when protesters attacked a bus carrying evacuees from Wuhan, China. According to CNN, protesters had blocked roads in Noviy Sanzhari, the town where the evacuees are to be monitored for two weeks at a medical facility belonging to the Ukrainian National Guard. “Those people who today threw stones at the evacuees of Ukrainians and law enforcement officers ... We will make a decision on their punishment,” said Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, confirming one officer was seriously injured in the incident instigated by “aggressive citizens,” the network reported. South Korean coronavirus infections continue to increase Update 3:46 a.m. EST Feb. 21: The number of confirmed novel coronavirus infections in South Korea increased to 204 on Friday, nearly doubling in 24 hours and almost quadrupling in three days, the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed in a statement issued early Friday. Health officials believe the majority of the new cases are connected to a church in Daegu, a city of about two and half million people in the southeastern region of the country. Specifically, 42 of the newest cases reported Friday have been traced to the church called Shincheonji. The country also reported on Thursday what officials believe could be South Korea’s first fatality from the virus. The 63-year-old woman exhibiting symptoms of pneumonia died Wednesday at the Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo, The New York Times reported. Prison outbreaks boost novel coronavirus cases in mainland China Update 3:43 a.m. EST Feb. 21: More than 500 novel coronavirus cases have been confirmed in prisons across China, including 271 cases – 51 of which had been counted in previous tallies – in Hubei province, CNN reported. Meanwhile, officials announced in a joint news conference on Friday that of the 2,077 prisoners and staff at Rencheng prison in China’s eastern Shandong province tested for the virus, 200 prisoners and seven staff members tested positive. Zhejiang province announced 34 prison cases on Friday, bringing the correctional total to 512, CNN reported. Canada records its 9th confirmed novel coronavirus case, 6th in British Columbia Update 3:41 a.m. EST Feb. 21: British Columbia’s Ministry of Health confirmed Friday a woman in her 30s has become the province’s sixth diagnosed case of novel coronavirus and the ninth for Canada. According to the statement, the woman had recently returned from Iran and is being isolated at home while public health officials identify and contact those people with whom she had contact upon returning Meanwhile, 47 of the 256 Canadian passengers aboard the beleaguered Diamond Princess cruise ship – moored off the coast of Japan – have tested positive for the virus. All 256 will be subject to a 14-day quarantine in Ontario once their evacuations are complete, CNN reported. 11 of 13 people evacuated to Omaha test positive for COVID-19  Update 11 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Federal experts confirmed that 11 of 13 people evacuated to an Omaha hospital from a cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for COVID-19, Nebraska officials announced Thursday night. The University of Nebraska Medical Center said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had verified test results completed Monday by the Nebraska Public Health Lab. Ten of those people are being cared for at the National Quarantine Unit while three are in the nearby Nebraska Biocontainment Unit. The medical center said only a few of the patients were showing symptoms of the disease. All 13 people were passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship who were evacuated to the U.S. on Feb. 17. China reports fall in new virus cases, 118 deaths  Update 10 p.m. EST Feb. 20: China reported a further fall in new virus cases to 889 as health officials expressed optimism over containment of the outbreak that has caused more than 2,200 deaths and is spreading elsewhere.  New infections in China have been falling for days, although changes in how it counts cases have caused doubts about the true trajectory of the epidemic.  China’s figures for the previous 24 hours brought the total number of cases to 75,465. The 118 newly reported deaths raised the total to 2,236. More than 1,000 cases and 11 deaths have been confirmed outside the mainland. 4 Americans who tested positive for COVID-19 sent to hospital in Spokane, Washington  Update 7:30 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Four Americans who tested positive for the new virus that caused an outbreak China are being sent to a hospital in Spokane, Washington, for treatment, officials said Thursday.  The four were passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and were flown back to the U.S. over the weekend, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services. They were being transferred from Travis Air Force Base in California, hospital officials said.  Two patients arrived at the hospital Thursday in satisfactory condition with two more expected soon, said Christa Arguinchona, who manages a special isolation unit at Sacred Heart Medical Center. The hospital is one of 10 in the nation funded by Congress to treat new or highly infectious diseases.  “The risk to the community from this particular process is zero,” said Bob Lutz of the Spokane Regional Health District at a briefing Thursday at the hospital. WHO: ‘This is no time for complacency’ Update 2:25 p.m. EST Feb. 20: World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday that recent declines in the number of new coronavirus cases being reported in China were encouraging, but he warned, “this is no time for complacency.” As pf 6 a.m. Geneva time Thursday, 74,675 people in China and 1,076 people in order parts of the world had been sickened by coronavirus, according to WHO. Officials said 2,121 people in China and seven people outside of the country have died thus far of the viral infection. 'This is the time to attack the virus while it is manageable,” Tedros said, according to The Washington Post. “You will get sick of me saying that the window of opportunity remains open for us to contain this COVID-19 outbreak.” CDC warns travels to take precautions for travel to Japan, Hong Kong Update 12:20 p.m. EST Feb. 20: The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new coronavirus-related travel advisories Thursday for Americans visiting Japan or Hong Kong. The advisories warned travelers to avoid contact with sick people, avoid touching their eyes, noses or mouths with their unwashed hands and recommended using soap and water often to wash hands for at least 20 seconds. Officials said Thursday that it remained unnecessary to postpone or cancel trips to Japan or Hong Kong due to the virus. However, the CDC advisories noted “multiple instances of community spread' in both locales, meaning people “have been infected with the virus, but how or where they became infected is not known.” Officials with the CDC previously issued an advisory warning travelers to avoid non-essential travel to China. According to Japanese health officials, authorities have seen 73 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the country. One person in Japan has died of the viral infection. Health official in Hong Kong have confirmed 65 cases of coronavirus. Japan reports 12 new coronavirus cases, Singapore confirms 1 more  Update 11 a.m. EST Feb. 20: Officials in Japan have reported a dozen new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, CNN reported, citing the Japanese health ministry. The new cases include two government officials who worked on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, according to CNN. Thousands of people were quarantined on the ship for two weeks as it was docked off the coast of Japan due to coronavirus fears. Hundreds of people on the ship ended up testing positive for the viral infection.  Officials with the Singapore Ministry of Health said Thursday that a new case of coronavirus had been confirmed in the country. The case, involving a 36-year-old Chinese national who was in Singapore on a work pass, is the 85th reported in Singapore.  Global death toll hits 2,126  Update 7:40 a.m. EST Feb. 20: More than 2,120 people have died globally and thousands of others have fallen ill due to the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to multiple reports.  At least 2,126 people globally have died from coronavirus, CNN reported Thursday. A majority of the deaths have been reported in China, where health officials announced 114 more deaths and 394 more confirmed cases of the illness. Overall, 75,730 coronavirus cases have been reported worldwide, including 74,576 in China, according to CNN.
  • A woman in her 20's has died in what police say appears to be an accidental shooting.  JSO responded Tuesday night to a home on Mecca Street, off New Kings in the Grand Park area, where they found the woman had been shot in the head.  She later died at the hospital.  Police said they were interviewing as many as ten witnesses. They say no one has been arrested and no persons of interest were outstanding.
  • Another soaking is expected today after hours of rain messed up the Tuesday rush home from work.  We are tracking a few isolated showers this morning, followed by areas of rain this afternoon as a cold front pushes into the area. We will see wet roads for the afternoon commute in Jacksonville. Highs will make it back up to the lower to mid 70’s briefly before the cold front moves through. Skies will begin to clear this evening and cooler air will move in. Morning lows tomorrow will be in the lower 40’s for Jacksonville and mid to upper 30’s well inland. Highs Thursday will only be in the upper 50’s! The weekend will be dry and cool. 
  • A Florida woman is facing second-degree murder charges after she zipped her boyfriend inside a suitcase and left him in there for several hours, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Sarah Boone, 42, is being held without bond in connection to the death of Jorge Torres Jr. Around 1 p.m. Monday, deputies responded to the 4700 block of Frantz Lane in Winter Park after Boone reported that Torres was deceased. Boone told deputies the two thought it would be funny if Torres got inside a suitcase in the living room during a game of hide and seek, the arrest affidavit states. She then zipped him inside it. Boone told deputies the two had been drinking alcohol that night, and she went upstairs and passed out in her bed with Torres still inside the suitcase. She woke up several hours later to her cellphone ringing multiple times and went downstairs. She did not see Torres anywhere in the apartment. She “then realized that he was possibly still inside the suitcase,” the arrest affidavit states. She unzipped it to find Torres inside, unresponsive and not breathing. He was pronounced dead by the responding Orange County Fire Department a short time later. A small laceration was on Torres’ lip as well as some bruising around his eye. Video found on Boone’s phone showed Torres repeating yelling her name. In the video, Boone says, “For everything you’ve done to me, (expletive) you. Stupid.' Boone is laughing in the video, too, according to the affidavit. Torres is heard saying, “I can’t (expletive) breathe.” She replied, “That’s on you. That’s what it feels like when you cheat on me,' and “that’s what you do when you choke me,” and that he “should probably shut the (expletive) up.” The video shows the suitcase facing down and Torres inside, pushing on the suitcase in an attempt to get out, the affidavit states.
  • Seven candidates took the stage Tuesday night in Charleston, South Carolina, for the Democratic presidential primary debate, including former Vice President Joe Biden; billionaire and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont; California billionaire Tom Steyer; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Here are five memorable moments from the event: 1. Buttigieg, Sanders spar over Sanders’ progressive agenda. Buttigieg and Sanders had a heated exchange over whether Sanders’ agenda is too “radical,” leading to the pair talking over each other for half a minute. The sparring match began when Buttigieg said: “I am not looking forward to a scenario where it comes down to Donald Trump, with his nostalgia for the social order of the 1950s, and Bernie Sanders with a nostalgia for the revolutionary politics of the 1960s.” Sanders later replied: “Let us be clear, do we think health care for all, Pete, is some kind of radical communist idea?” Crosstalk ensued, with Buttigieg arguing that the way Sanders is talking about implementing his plans “is radical,” while Sanders insisted that voters back his agenda. >> Click here to watch 2. Warren takes aim at Bloomberg ... again. Warren and Bloomberg quickly butted heads Tuesday night, with Warren calling the billionaire the “riskiest candidate” and Bloomberg claiming the Massachusetts senator has been bringing up “sideshows.' ”You know, this is personal for me,' Warren said. “When I was 21 years old, I got my first job as a special education teacher. I loved that job. And by the end of the first year, I was visibly pregnant. The principal wished me luck and gave my job to someone else. Pregnancy discrimination, you bet. But I was 21 years old. I didn’t have a union to protect me, and I didn’t have any federal law on my side. So I packed up my stuff, and I went home.” Then, referring to allegations in a 1998 lawsuit filed by former Bloomberg employee Sekiko Sakai Garrison, Warren continued: “At least I didn’t have a boss who said to me, ‘Kill it,’ the way that Mayor Bloomberg is alleged to have said to one of his pregnant employees.” Bloomberg, who has denied Garrison’s claims, fired back: “I never said that. Oh, come on.” Warren later added: “Then let ... the women have an opportunity to speak. The Bloomberg corporations and Mayor Bloomberg himself have been accused of discrimination. They are bound by nondisclosures so that they cannot speak. If he says there is nothing to hide here, then sign a blanket release and let those women speak out so that they can tell their stories the way I can tell my story without having the fear they’re going to be sued by a billionaire.” >> Watch the moment here 3. Bloomberg, Buttigieg discuss ‘stop and frisk.’ When asked why he has apologized for implementing “stop and frisk” as mayor of New York, Bloomberg said his administration “let it get out of control.' ”When I realized that, I cut it back by 95 percent,' Bloomberg said. “And I’ve apologized and asked for forgiveness. I’ve met with black leaders to try to get an understanding of how I can better position myself and what I should have done and what I should do next time.” Moderator Gayle King then asked Buttigieg if he believed that New York’s “stop and frisk” policy was racist. “Yes, in effect, it was,” Buttigieg said. “Because it was about profiling people based on their race. And the mayor even said that they disproportionately stopped white people too often and minorities too little.” >> Click here to watch 4. Candidates discuss the novel coronavirus outbreak. Klobuchar was asked the first question about the novel coronavirus outbreak, saying she would close borders to Americans who have been exposed to the illness. She then pivoted to say helping infected Americans is more important. “I’m not gonna give you my website; I’m going to give the CDC’s site, it’s cdc.gov,” she said. Biden said he would restore funds that had been cut from the CDC and insist on openness from China, while Sanders heavily criticized Trump’s response to the outbreak. ”In the White House today, we have a self-described ‘great genius’ – self-described – and this ‘great genius’ has told us that this coronavirus is going to end in two months,' Sanders said. “April is the magical day that this great scientist we have in the White House has determined. I wish I was kidding; that is what he said.” He went on to add that international cooperation and restoring funding to health agencies are necessary to combat the spread of the virus. >> Watch the video here Trump later tweeted in response. “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus, including the very early closing of our borders to certain areas of the world,” he wrote. “It was opposed by the Dems, ‘too soon,’ but turned out to be the correct decision.” >> See the tweets here 5. Warren, Buttigieg advocate for ending Senate filibuster. In response to a question about gun reform, Warren argued that eliminating the Senate’s filibuster is a necessary step to getting legislation passed. “What I’ve seen is gun safety legislation introduced, get a majority, and then doesn’t pass because of the filibuster,” she said. “Understand this: The filibuster is giving a veto to the gun industry.” >> See Warren’s response here Buttigieg also argued in favor of ending the filibuster while criticizing Sanders for not supporting the rule change. “This is not some long-ago bad vote that Bernie Sanders took; this is a current bad position that Bernie Sanders holds,” Buttigieg said. >> Watch Buttigieg’s response here here

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