SCOTUS rejects Trump, Army vet hero talks Club Q shooting: 5 Things podcast – USA TODAY

On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Supreme Court denies Donald Trump request to block release of tax returns
USA TODAY Supreme Court correspondent John Fritze explains what happens next. Plus, USA TODAY Money Reporter Elisabeth Buchwald looks at the state of unemployment ahead of the holidays.
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Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.
Taylor Wilson:
Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Wednesday, the 23rd of November 2022. Today the Supreme Court has a decision on former President Donald Trump’s fight for releasing his tax returns. Plus we look at whether mass layoffs will continue and how an Army veteran helped stop the gunman in the Colorado LGBTQ club shooting.

The Supreme Court yesterday declined a request from former President Donald Trump to block the release of his tax returns to a House Committee seeking them. It’s the latest legal setback the former president has gone through from a court that he helped to shape. For more, producer PJ Elliott spoke with USA TODAY Supreme Court correspondent John Fritze.
John Fritze:
Yeah. I mean, this is a battle that goes back to at least 2019 when Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee had requested these records, six years of tax returns from former President Donald Trump. And so House Democrats sought this when Trump was still president.
PJ Elliott:
So what does this mean for the former president? Will he actually turn these over to the House Committee or are we looking at more appeals from his lawyers?
John Fritze:
So it’s important to note here that it’s actually the Treasury Department that has them and is going to turn them over. So I think the question is timing a little bit, right, since this litigation came onto the Supreme Court, the political landscape has really shifted. Trump has announced he will run for reelection again in 2024, so that’s one big thing. And House Republicans have taken over that chamber in the midterm election and they have said affirmatively that if they had control of the Ways and Means Committee, they would drop this request.
PJ Elliott:
John, is there any significance that the three justices that Trump put on the bench didn’t dissent?
John Fritze:
I mean, I think it’s interesting that this is of course a conservative court and we’ve seen the court move more and more to the right over the past several years. But despite that, and despite the fact that as you note, Trump named three of the justices to this court, Trump has not had very good luck at the Supreme Court, at least not post-presidency. The court has repeatedly, over and over, turned him down on some of these requests.
Taylor Wilson:
You can find a link to John’s full story in today’s show notes.

Workers have been dealing with mass layoffs in recent weeks from the tech sector to the news media business and fears of a looming recession continue. To get a better understanding of the unemployment outlook heading toward the end of the year, I’m now joined by USA TODAY money reporter, Elisabeth Buchwald. Elizabeth, thanks for being here.
Elisabeth Buchwald:
Thanks for having me.
Taylor Wilson:
So Elizabeth, do we expect this trend to continue in the coming months?
Elisabeth Buchwald:
Yeah, unfortunately, it’s not a pretty picture. Companies that haven’t done layoffs yet likely will be considering it. I think the holiday season will be a test of how strong they are and how strong the consumer is and kind of be a what do we do next question based on their sales data. Now, for the state of layoffs so far it’s really been concentrated in tech, concentrated in media as you highlighted. And then also industries that touch mortgages that’s been an industry that’s taken a big hit from the cooling housing market, so we’ve seen Zillow, LoanDepot do some pretty big layoffs. Retailers haven’t really done big layoffs yet, at least in the people that you see in the store. So I haven’t heard of say Target slashing workers as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates and perhaps they’re going to cool down a little bit. It just makes it harder for businesses to finance. And when they want to cut back on costs, one of the most expensive costs they have are workers. And that’s going to probably get a lot worse as the situation worsens.
Taylor Wilson:
All right, the elephant in the room, recession. Is it here?
Elisabeth Buchwald:
Every time I think, okay we’re definitely in a recession or we’re definitely heading to one, there’s a piece of data that comes out that causes me to think twice. Now, one recent piece of data was the jobs report. It’s still been pretty positive and even though many economists are predicting a slowdown, it hasn’t shown up in the data yet, even though there are these widespread layoffs, there’s a net positive employment effect going on right now. So the fact that we’re still adding jobs, even though the economy, the outlook isn’t great, is somewhat incredible. But I don’t know how much longer that’s going to last.
Taylor Wilson:
Elisabeth Buchwald, thanks so much for stopping by.
Elisabeth Buchwald:
Thank you so much for having me.

Taylor Wilson:
The White House is extending the pause on federal student loan payments until as late as June 30th of next year. The pause had been scheduled to end December 31st. President Joe Biden’s plan for wider student loan debt forgiveness remains tied up in courts, but he defended his plan in a message posted to Twitter yesterday.
President Joe Biden:
And I’m completely confident my plan is legal, but right now it’s on hold because of these lawsuits. We’re not going to back down though in our fight to give families breathing room. That’s why the Department of Justice is asking the Supreme Court of the United States to rule on the case. But it isn’t fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers eligible for relief to resume their student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuit.
Taylor Wilson:
The exact end to the pause is still uncertain. The Education Department said payments would start two months after litigation ends, or the mass debt relief plan has been implemented. It could last until June 30th, but borrowers won’t be required to make payments for an additional two months. The extension coincides with the end of the Supreme Court’s current session. Around 26 million people have applied for student loan debt relief. Borrowers received notices from the Education Department over the weekend telling them their loans would be canceled if and when the litigation was resolved. The Department has warned that restarting payments without mass relief could lead to a historically large increase in the amount of loan defaults.

Richard Fierro is a US Army vet who was at Club Q in Colorado Springs on Saturday night when the shooting that killed five and injured 17 others began. Fierro spoke to reporters outside his home about his heroic and life saving decision to take down the shooter.
Richard Fierro:
Pull the dude down, pin him against the side, and just start … oh, I think he went for his pistol. I don’t know either way I grabbed the pistol from him and then I told the guy, “Move the AR.” The kid in front of me, he was at his head. I said, “Move the AR, get the AR away from him.” And the kid did it. And then I started wailing on this dude, and I’m on top of him. I’m a big dude man and this guy was bigger. And I just kept wailing on him. And I told the kid in front of me, “Kick him in his head, keep kicking him in his head.”
Taylor Wilson:
Producer PJ Elliott spoke with USA TODAY national correspondent Trevor Hughes for the latest on the story.
Trevor Hughes:
The shooter is in custody. He actually has a court appearance on Friday morning here in Colorado. We still haven’t learned about the specific charges he’ll face or even the injuries that he suffered in this attack. He was taken down by patrons at the club, including an Army veteran who basically ripped him to the ground to just beat him mercilessly with his own pistol.
PJ Elliott:
Trevor, how were people in Colorado Springs processing what happened just a few short days ago?
Trevor Hughes:
We’re still seeing a steady stream of people coming to the memorial here in Colorado Springs. Every few minutes a new car pulls up, parks, and comes out with a bunch of flowers. People are walking quietly and looking at the names, looking at the pictures of the dead, and remembering the times that they had at this club. Club Q is a really important part of this community for this specific community that it served. People felt safe there and so they, they’ve lost that sense of safety. And I think there is some catharsis, some processing that’s going on by people who are coming back and saying, “You know what, I’m ready to go back when they reopen.”
PJ Elliott:
Trevor, you’ve been covering this story since the beginning. What’s the feeling or the mood of the people there?
Trevor Hughes:
I think people are still very much in shock that this happened. I mean Colorado Springs is a big city. It has the same issues that other cities have around the countries, small towns and big cities. But people were there just for fun, it’s not like these are folks who were out courting danger. These were folks in a safe environment with people who they loved and felt supported by. And I think just the sort of shock and terror that people felt has compounded the violence.

Taylor Wilson:
$400 million of New York taxpayer money and COVID aid is gone. Fraudsters hatched schemes to steal millions from the state, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as USA TODAY network health reporter David Robinson is here to explain. David, thanks for making the time.
David Robinson:
Yes, thanks for having me.
Taylor Wilson:
So what kind of fraud are we talking about and how did this happen?
David Robinson:
Sure. So we’re talking about a mix really of different COVID aid programs like the Paycheck Protection Program that helped out small businesses and large businesses, and also unemployment insurance was a big chunk of the fraud. And to be clear, this $400 million is really just the tip of the iceberg. We’re expecting this total to be into the billions of dollars and there’s already some auditing coming in, in New York showing the unemployment insurance fraud alone at an estimate of $11 billion plus. So really as we dug into this, this year’s scale, as the size of fraud, really was striking. The concern was that actually there was so much fraud that it was going to take too long to dig into it from the prosecutor’s standpoint. And so they put pressure on federal lawmakers earlier this year to try and extend that statute of limitations. And President Biden in August signed into law an extension of the statute of limitations to 10 years for this. So they really want a lot of time and a lot of effort to go into trying to track down all these tax dollars that were stolen.
Taylor Wilson:
David, you write in your piece that fraud like this can shape public perceptions of government. What do you mean by that?
David Robinson:
When people see this amount of fraud, when they see their tax dollars being wasted and they see a lack of oversight and transparency and really kind of incompetence and negligence from lawmakers and from regulators, that erodes the trust in democracy and in our elected representatives to protect our interest and to protect our money that we send to the federal government, to the state government. And so when you see fraud on this scale, you can’t help but think that people further distrust the people that they put in office and the systems and the agencies that are involved in oversight and transparency. And so spotlighting the cases and the efforts to go after this money is important, but also spotlighting the flaws and gaps in the systems and agencies and their failures is also important in trying to avoid this going forward.
Taylor Wilson:
David Robinson, thanks so much.
David Robinson:
Well, thanks for having me. It was a pleasure.
Taylor Wilson:
And thanks to you listener for stopping by another episode of 5 Things. We’re here every morning of the week, wherever you get your pods. I’ll be back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.

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