Jim Zarroli

Jim Zarroli is a business reporter for NPR News, based at NPR's New York bureau.

He covers economics and business news including fiscal policy, the Federal Reserve, the job market and taxes

Over the years, he's reported on recessions and booms, crashes and rallies, and a long string of tax dodgers, insider traders and Ponzi schemers. He's been heavily involved in the coverage of the European debt crisis and the bank bailouts in the United States.

Prior to moving into his current role, Zarroli served as a New York-based general assignment reporter for NPR News. While in this position he covered the United Nations during the first Gulf War. Zarroli added to NPR's coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the London transit bombings and the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Before joining the NPR in 1996, Zarroli worked for the Pittsburgh Press and wrote for various print publications.

Zarroli graduated from Pennsylvania State University.

Defending President Trump on television is giving longtime conservative lawyer Jay Sekulow new prominence these days, but it's also reviving questions about a pair of charities he is involved with.

Sekulow, 61, who appeared on all five Sunday morning news shows over the weekend to address questions about Trump's ties to Russia, is a fixture in the Christian conservative movement, serving as chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice.

Last June's meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer with Kremlin connections was arranged by a colorful British-born music promoter with ties to the son of a Azerbaijan-born billionaire.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A firm headed by Paul Manafort, who served as President Trump's campaign manager last year, made more than $17 million in two years working for the pro-Russia political party that controlled Ukraine's government, according to documents filed late Tuesday.

Manafort, who resigned from Trump's campaign last August after his work for Ukrainian interests came under scrutiny, has registered as a foreign agent with the U.S. Justice Department, as did his deputy, Rick Gates.

In ordinary times, New York-based Vornado Realty Trust would be a natural candidate to take on a major construction project such as the long-awaited rebuilding of FBI headquarters.

As with so much about the Trump era, however, the ordinary rules don't apply.

A commercial real estate firm, Vornado is widely reported to be a finalist to build a new campus for the FBI somewhere in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. But its financial ties to President Trump are raising concerns about conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're getting another small clue about President Trump's overall financial picture after the president released some disclosure forms late last week. What did they say? Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will donate a combined $100 million to a World Bank fund for women entrepreneurs that was the brainchild of Ivanka Trump.

The announcement by World Bank President Jim Young Kim came during a visit to Saudi Arabia by President Trump, who was accompanied by his wife, Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

For a young Donald Trump in the 1970s, the Grand Hyatt hotel on East 42nd Street was his first major development project, a chance to make a splash in the big-time world of New York City real estate.

Yet the glitzy glass-fronted hotel never would have been possible without an almost unprecedented 40-year tax abatement from the city, which was then recovering from a painful fiscal crisis.

President Trump is preparing to overhaul the nation's tax code, and at least some of the coming changes could benefit his own bottom line. Critics say voters should be able to see just how much help the president might get from a revised tax code, so they are stepping up efforts to force him to share his tax returns.

Seeing the returns would reveal some key facts about the president's finances, says Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW.

The Trump Organization is shutting down its New York-based modeling agency.

A statement released by the company said it was "choosing to exit the modeling industry."

"While we enjoyed many years of success, we are focussed on our core business in the real estate and golf industries and the rapid expansion of our hospitality division," the statement said.

Started in 1999, Trump Model Management was part of Trump's eclectic array of businesses, though it was never as visible as some of the others and didn't play a major role in the fashion business.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Angela Chen makes money hawking her ties to important people, running a consulting firm that helps companies connect with Asia's power players.

So it inevitably attracted notice when Chen spent nearly $16 million recently to buy a four-bedroom Park Avenue penthouse owned by President Trump himself.

The February deal, which was first reported by Mother Jones, underscores one of the problems posed by Trump's ongoing business interests.

President Trump has made clear he doesn't like the alternative minimum tax, a complex federal levy that will hit some 4.8 million taxpayers this year.

A two-page tax return, filed by Trump for 2005 and revealed Tuesday, may suggest one reason. Because of the AMT, Trump was required to pay about $38 million in taxes on income of more than $150 million that year.

Without it, Trump's bill would have been a lot lower.

Donald Trump and his wife Melania earned about $150 million in 2005 and paid federal taxes of about $38 million, the White House said tonight.

The Trump administration made the revelation after copies of the tax returns anonymously were put in the mailbox of journalist David Cay Johnston.

The numbers have not been independently verified by NPR.

After purportedly stopping in at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump's Palm Beach resort, not long ago, a visitor went straight to Google's online review site to complain about the restaurant ambience.

"Very loud and distracting dinner atmosphere," the visitor noted. "I just wanted a quiet peaceful meal, but White House staff and diplomats at the next table kept shouting out classified information."

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

With Congress showing no signs of taking action, a group of ethics watchdogs is turning to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to look into whether President Trump's many business interests violate the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway acted "inadvertently" when she urged shoppers to buy Ivanka Trump's products on Fox and Friends last month and won't make the same mistake again, the Trump administration says.

Office of Government Ethics Director Walter M. Shaub Jr. is recommending an investigation and possible disciplinary action be taken against Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to President Trump, for urging shoppers to buy fashion products sold by Trump's daughter Ivanka.

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to President Trump, may have violated federal ethics rules Thursday when she urged shoppers to buy Ivanka Trump's retail brand, following the decision by several retail companies to drop the line because of poor sales.

"Go buy Ivanka's stuff, is what I was [saying] — I hate shopping and I'm going to go get some myself today," Conway said in an interview on Fox & Friends.

The Defense Department's plan to lease space in Manhattan's Trump Tower is already raising ethical concerns, with critics saying it would give the nation's chief executive another way to profit off his new role.

"It creates the appearance that President Trump, through his businesses, may directly benefit financially from charging the Department of Defense to do its job," says Meredith McGehee, chief of policy, programs and strategy at Issue One, a nonprofit that works to remove money from politics.

Donald Trump's presidential campaign had many unusual aspects, not the least of which was the huge amount of money it funneled into Trump's own businesses.

And now there's a new twist: Such payments can continue indefinitely because he's already declared himself a candidate for re-election in 2020.

President Trump may be breaking many of the rules in Washington, but the tradition of secret-money politics shows no sign of ending anytime soon.

A half-dozen of Trump's campaign aides have formed a nonprofit group called America First Policies to support and promote the president's agenda, The Associated Press reported Monday.

Leaders in the U.S. technology sector say President Trump's executive order banning immigrants from some Muslim-majority countries will sow confusion in their businesses and undercut the diversity that has been a linchpin of the industry's growth.

The CEOs of Google, Twitter, Facebook and Apple all issued statements condemning the ban and complaining that the order was pushed through so quickly it left great uncertainty about the status of some of their best employees.

Updated at 12 p.m. ET

A team of ethics experts and legal scholars filed a lawsuit in federal court Monday morning that says President Trump's overseas businesses violate the Constitution's Emoluments Clause, which bars presidents from taking money from foreign governments.

No evidence exists so far that President Trump or his elder daughter has taken steps to sever ties with their businesses, despite promises to do so by Inauguration Day, ProPublica has reported.

A top aide to President Donald Trump says he won't release his tax returns, insisting that voters aren't concerned about the issue.

"The White House response is he's not going to release his tax returns," said Trump's senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway, on ABC's "This Week."

"We litigated this all through the election. People didn't care," Conway added.

These days, plenty of consulting firms make money peddling advice on cybersecurity. Only one is run by a man designated special adviser to the president of the United States.

Earlier this month, President-elect Donald Trump named former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who heads a cybersecurity practice at the Miami-based law firm Greenberg-Traurig, as his chief adviser on cybersecurity issues.

Some prominent conservatives have signed on to a letter warning President-elect Donald Trump that he needs to sell off his businesses to address his many conflicts of interest.

"Respectfully, you cannot serve the country as president and also own a world-wide business enterprise, without seriously damaging the presidency," says a letter sent Monday by a bipartisan group of politicians, ethics advocates and academics.

As Donald Trump prepares to become president, he's promising to explain how he'll deal with the many conflicts of interest posed by his businesses and charitable foundation, even as he insists they pose "no big deal."

But short of selling his properties and putting the proceeds in a blind trust, it's not clear that Trump can completely resolve the controversies over his many businesses.

President-elect Donald Trump insists he can do all the business deals he wants while serving in the White House, but a 2012 law barring insider trading by government officials could make doing so a lot more complicated.

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