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Trump fires back at protesters demanding tax returns: 'The election is over'
19 April 2017, 09:37 | Clarence Schmidt
Pressure is mounting on President Donald Trump from outside the beltway to release his tax returns as ordinary Americans strive to meet Tuesday's filing deadline.
Trump tweeted Sunday: "I did what was an nearly an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College!"
Saturday saw tens of thousands turn out in the streets in Tax Day protests, hammering the president for keeping his tax returns private, leading to speculation that Trump has something to hide including possible Russian money invested in his companies.
"When we check in with our members, this is something they care about deeply", said Ben Wikler, Washington director of MoveOn.org, a progressive political group.
He was the first major-party nominee in four decades to not release his tax returns, saying it was because he was under audit.
Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas said, the "President says he's still under audit", to a booing crowd.
The rallies were largely peaceful but in Berkeley, California, police arrested 13 people at unrelated gatherings in a park after fistfights broke out between pro- and anti-Trump factions.
A resident at Cotton's town hall Monday said that Trump's tax returns would expose his overseas interests - a hint at the central role Trump's tax returns have taken in the continuing investigations into Russia's meddling with USA elections.
Liberal activists last weekend took to the streets in cities such as Washington, D.C., NY and Los Angeles in an attempt to convince Trump to allow the American people to have a look at his filings.
But many demonstrators said they hoped Saturday's marches would convince Trump otherwise.
"Without seeing his taxes, we'll never really know who he's working for", said Dinkin, who expects the marches to draw at least 100,000 protesters.
Pushing her walker, Karin Arlin, 85, a Holocaust survivor who came to the US from Germany when she was 9, said she's also anxious about the direction of the country. She said she was concerned that conflicts of interest in Trump's tax returns might foreshadow selfish interests in his tax reform policies.
It was seen by some as the unofficial mascot for the protest - to suggest that the Republican president was afraid, or chicken, to publish his records.
Registered nurse Pam Craig of Greensboro says Trump's returns may show he has paid little or nothing to run the government he now heads.
For decades, USA presidents and presidential candidates have released their returns voluntarily, although there is no legal obligation to do so. "It's a routine one that continues", White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday.
And making the audits automatic may have been meant to bolster public confidence that the IRS will audit presidents of both parties and not let it become something the agency does at its discretion, according to tax lawyer Steven Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center.
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But former President Hamid Karzai accused the United States of using Afghanistan as "a testing ground for new and unsafe weapons". As coalition forces have surely learned after 16 years in Afghanistan - fighting in the Spin Ghar mountains is always uphill.