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The Coronavirus Relief Package Includes a Major Tax Break—For Trump, Jared Kushner, and the One Percent

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As the Times notes, the lifted restriction could be a “potential bonanza” for these one-percenters, and marks the second-biggest tax provision in the entire stimulus package. “It’s a pretty big deal,” Peter Buell, who runs tax services for accounting firm Marcum’s real estate practice, told the Times. All told, the move could result in $170 billion in tax breaks for real estate investors—which, surprise surprise, just so happens to include Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner. The Times previously reported that both Trump and Kushner had seemingly been taking advantage of the pre-2017 tax law to avoid paying federal income taxes, using real estate losses and depreciation to their benefit just as the new stimulus bill now re-allows. Tax accountants who analyzed Kushner’s returns told the Times in 2018 that Kushner had used depreciation to “[pay] little or no federal income taxes during at least five of the past eight years,” while Trump’s 1995 tax return included a $916 million loss that likely allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for at least 18 years. While those tax breaks should have been curbed under the Trump administration’s own tax bill, the new economic stimulus package means the president and his son-in-law can now keep their wealth to themselves and away from the federal government once again.

Despite the specific provisions designed to keep Trump from using the bill to benefit his company, the legislation could also stand to help the Trump Organization and Kushner even beyond the tax breaks. The Times notes that the real estate companies run by Kushner’s family likely won’t be bound by the same restrictions that the Trump Organization is, despite the First Son-in-Law’s governmental role. The government officials restriction singles out companies controlled by “the spouse, child, son-in-law or daughter-in-law” of elected officials and department heads, but only applies if the family member in question owns at least 20% of the company—which, sources cited by the Times assert, is more than Kushner’s stake in his family’s properties. And while the restriction on governmental leaders’ businesses prevents the Trump Organization from receiving assistance through a $500 billion fund set up through the Treasury Department, the president’s company could still likely take advantage of other provisions aimed at the hotel and restaurant industries. Trump himself has deflected questions about whether he could personally benefit from the bill, saying Sunday, “I just don’t know what the government assistance would be for what I have. I have hotels.”

The Senate bill is overwhelmingly likely to be enacted in its current form, as the House is expected to speedily pass the legislation Friday and Trump has signaled his intention to sign it into law. Despite all of its expensive provisions, however, the $2 trillion plan still won’t go far enough to combat the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus outbreak, especially with no clear timeline yet of when the country will be able to get back to normal. “No economic policy could fully end the hardship so long as public health requires that we put so much of our nation’s commerce on ice,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday. Economists cited by Politico say the economic stimulus, which marked the third phase of the government response to the coronavirus outbreak, will likely need to be followed by at least a fourth phase of relief, if not more after that, as the pandemic’s still-uncertain future plays out. “The Federal Reserve and Congress are helping avert for now a massive self-feeding economic and financial decline that threatens a devastating combination of a 1930s-like depression and a 2008-like global financial crisis. That’s the good news,” Mohamed A. El-Erian, chief economic advisor at Allianz, told Politico. “There will definitely be a need for a phase four.” Whether Congress’s next moves to save the economy will also stand to line the president’s pockets, however, remains to be seen.

More Great Stories From Vanity Fair

— Trump Awakens to the COVID-19 Danger
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— Jared Kushner Told Trump the Coronavirus Was Fake News
— Tucker Carlson on How He Brought His Coronavirus Message to Mar-a-Lago
— The 12 Most Insane Moments From Trump’s National Emergency Presser
— How a QAnon Coronavirus Conspiracy About Oprah Went Viral
— From the Archive: Inside the Week of Hurricane Katrina, Revealing the Foolishness, Fear, and Politics That Turned a Natural Disaster Into a Man-Made Catastrophe

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Samantha Bee on the Wonders (and Oddities) of Taping in Her Backyard

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“My cell phone doesn’t really work well out here,” Samantha Bee told Vanity Fair on Wednesday, explaining why she was on a landline handset that crackled every time she stepped too far from its base. She was speaking from the upstate New York property where she, husband Jason Jones, and their three children have improbably now filmed two episodes of her TBS late-night show Full Frontal With Samantha Bee in the backyard. (The second episode airs Wednesday night.) It’s TV production in the time of coronavirus pandemic. Said Bee, “It’s not ideal.”

“I mean, yesterday we had to hold shooting because someone was chainsawing logs in their backyard,” said Bee. “They definitely had felled a tree and were chopping it into, like, carrot coins. It was like they were operating a wood chipper back there.”

Bee normally has as many as 70 staffers helping her tape an episode. But these days, she’s working with her skeleton crew of five—with Jones, who is an executive producer on the show, filming from a phone, and her kids manning the equipment. Her kids’ compensation is…still being negotiated.

“My children definitely feel that they should be paid,” said Bee. “That’s a debate that’s raging in our household. And I don’t disagree. We have informed them that once normal life is restored in some capacity, we will buy them a present.”

In the meantime, Bee is doing her own hair, makeup, and wardrobe—and personally uploading the footage to send her staff once backyard filming wraps. “I’m definitely like, ‘Hey, kids, get off the internet. I have to upload massive files to people’s apartments in Brooklyn.’”

Filming outside is a somewhat risky endeavor, and Bee and Jones are trying to plan for unexpected weather patterns that could curtail production.

“We’re figuring out a plan for if it rains, because we want to be as in-the-moment as possible,” said Bee, explaining that she wouldn’t want to tape two days ahead of airing given the timeliness of her show’s subject matter. “We are now trying to figure out how we would do the show in a storm…. I’m also really praying for spring weather. Our backdrop will just look so much prettier when the trees start to come out, when there’s more greenery back there. Right now, it really does look like The Blair Witch Project.

As strange as the experience of filming a late-night show at home is, Bee said that it has been fulfilling for her and Jones, who previously collaborated as correspondents on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and as costars on multiple films.

“It’s a very interesting experience, as a couple and as constant collaborators,” said Bee. “Jason and I are having a good time working together, and figuring it out. He’s so good at just figuring out how to make a shot beautiful with very little. He really has an eye for it, and thank God. And we speak each other’s language, so we move quickly through it.”

When she isn’t filming, Bee has actually been trying to stay out of the news stream. “I can’t watch every presidential press conference because they are just pushing me into full derangement,” she said. “I feel the leadership vacuum, and it is critical. Boy, I will take inspiration from almost anybody now. I just need a person to stand on TV, and issue forthright words. I need it like I need oxygen. We all need it.”

Full Frontal has had to adapt so fast—just three weeks ago Bee was filming her last in-studio episode—that she is still, like the rest of the world, trying to adjust to the new normal.



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Watch Chance’s First Punk’d Trailer With Lil Nas X, Megan Thee Stallion, Offset

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Chance the Rapper is the host and executive producer of the Punk’d reboot, which arrives on April 6 via the streaming service Quibi. Today, the first trailer and clips have been released. Lil Nas X, Offset, Megan Thee Stallion, and Ty Dolla $ign are among the celebrities who get pranked. Watch the trailer and individual clips from the show below.

Chance recently appeared on the new G Herbo song “PTSD” alongside Lil Uzi Vert and the late Juice WRLD. Watch Chance the Rapper on Pitchfork’s “Over/Under” below.





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Leighton Meester Is Pregnant! Revisit Her and Adam Brody’s Romance

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This is no Gossip (girl), it’s true that Adam Brodyand Leighton Meesterare expecting their second baby together.

In photos obtained by the Daily Mail, the actress was spotted sporting a large baby bump while out and about in Los Angeles, Calif. where she and her husband live. Her and Brody’s reps have not commented nor confirmed the happy news.

Their bundle of joy will join their daughter Arlo Day Brody, who was born in 2015. Fans have not yet met little Arlo as her parents are quite private, but Adam previously said this wasn’t intentional. “She’s more inherently private than I am,” Brody said of Meester. “I don’t seek publicity but if I’m sitting next to you on the subway, I’ll tell you everything about me.”

This explains why people are just now learning of Leighton’s pregnancy, when she appears to be nearing her due date. 

Other than that, Seth says their life isn’t all that different from anybody else’s. He shared, “We’re homebodies. We don’t go to a lot of things that perhaps we could, and don’t seek out promotion in that way.”

When they do go out, however, the couple sure makes a striking impression with their dazzling good looks and good deeds to boot. To see some of these outings, check out the gallery below!

Deano / Splash News

Adam Brody, Leighton Meester

AKM-GSI

Leighton Meester, Adam Brody

Allan Bregg / Splash News

Leighton Meester, Adam Brody

REX USA/Tania Coetzee

Leighton Meester, Adam Brody

Henry S. Dziekan III/WireImage

Leighton Meester, Adam Brody, Shazam Premiere

Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Adam Brody, Leighton Meester, Real Estate

Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images

Leighton Meester, Adam Brody

Araya Diaz/Getty Images

Adam Brody, Leighton Meester, Real Estate

ABC/Kelsey McNeal





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