WASHINGTON — Eager to garner Democratic support for a still-emerging tax overhaul package, President Donald Trump on Wednesday expressed a willingness to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

During a meeting with lawmakers from both parties, Trump pledged that he wants lawmakers to craft a bill focused on slashing middle-class tax rates and doing things to create jobs — code for a dramatic corporate tax rate cut.

“The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan. We are looking for the middle class and we are looking for jobs — jobs being the economy,” Trump told reporters as the White House meeting began. “So we’re looking at (the) middle class and we’re looking at jobs.

“I think the wealthy will be pretty much where they are, pretty much where they are,” Trump told reporters of tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. “If they have to go higher, they’ll go higher.”

Leading Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, have flatly stated their conference will not support any tax measure that cuts rates for the highest-earners.

—CQ-Roll Call


Judge urges Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin to divorce amicably

NEW YORK — Divorcing amicably would “certainly be better for your son,” a judge told former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner and Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin on Wednesday at the couple’s first divorce-court hearing.

Weiner, who is awaiting prison sentencing later this month on a federal obscenity charge involving a 15-year-old girl, and Abedin walked into the courtroom together, sat together and chatted during breaks in the proceedings, in Manhattan.

The judge, Michael Katz, said the couple appeared to be on track to “resolve this amicably” and said he is seeking to “hopefully help you work something out that works for your family” and “save you a lot of stress.”

Abedin’s lawyer, Amy Donehower of Manhattan, asked the judge to keep the case, filed as Anonymous v. Anonymous, confidential.

“Because there is a child involved, we’d like to keep the proceedings secret to the extent your honor will allow,” she said.

The judge said he would rule on the secrecy motions at a later date but allowed the media to photograph the proceedings, citing the American presumption of open courts.

Abedin, Clinton wrote in her new book, broke into tears when learning about her sexting husband’s latest troubles involving photographs of an underage teen, and how it implicated Clinton’s private email server.

Neither answered reporters’ shouted questions in the courthouse corridor.



Lawsuit aims to end commercial fur trapping in California

LOS ANGELES — Conservation groups, aiming to end California’s dwindling fur trade, filed a lawsuit Wednesday that would force state wildlife authorities to raise license fees to levels required by law to cover the full costs of regulating the trapping, killing and skinning of wild animals.

That would drive the fees so high it would effectively kill off the trade introduced centuries ago by California’s first explorers and settlers, said Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote, one of the plaintiffs.

“We hope the filing of this lawsuit will be remembered as the moment California said goodbye to the handful of people who still kill mammals so that their pelts can be auctioned off in foreign markets and then made into slippers and fur-trimmed coats,” she said.

The lawsuit, filed against the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state Fish and Game Commission, alleges that revenue generated from the 200 commercial trapping licenses purchased in 2016 for about $117 covered only a fraction of the state trapping program’s total costs.

Consequently, taxpayers are illegally subsidizing the state wardens, biologists and administrators who oversee and enforce trapping regulations, according to the lawsuit. It was filed in Alameda County Superior Court by the Center for Biological Diversity and Project Coyote.

State wildlife authorities declined to comment.

Trappers say their days are already numbered.

“As far as I’m concerned, trapping is dead in California,” said Reid Aiton, a woodsman in North Coast redwood country and executive director of the National Trappers Association’s California chapter. “A way of life has died with it.”

Thirty-five years ago, 3,540 trappers were still at work in California’s wildlands.

But volatile international markets, the success of fur farms and the growing ranks of the animal rights movement have combined to make it difficult for them to turn a profit.

—Los Angeles Times

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