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Trump says tax law, US economy helping Hispanics

HIALEAH, Fla. — President Trump said Monday the Republican tax law and his push to slash regulations are driving one of the ‘‘greatest booms’’ in the US economy and helping Hispanic workers.

Trump praised the strength of the economy at a business round-table in a predominantly Latino Miami suburb, telling the audience the country is ‘‘starting to really rock’’ with businesses coming back to the country and corporations facing fewer regulations.

Trump was joined by local business owners in the Miami area and members of his Cabinet, underscoring the importance of the tax law and the business climate to Republicans’ midterm election hopes.

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Florida has long been one of the nation’s campaign battlegrounds and will be among several states contested by both parties in the midterm election fight to control Congress.

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The event included testimonials from Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a one-time campaign rival who praised the administration’s handling of Cuba and Venezuela, and several Cuban business leaders.

Speaking a day before the personal income tax filing deadline, Trump said: ‘‘This is the last time we’re going to fill out that long, complicated, horrible return.’’

The president said next year, once the tax law is fully implemented, filing a federal return will be ‘‘simple and easy to do.’’

Trump has withheld the release of his personal tax returns, falling short of the standard followed by presidents since Richard Nixon started the practice in 1969. During the 2016 campaign, Trump argued he couldn’t release his taxes because he was under an audit by the IRS.

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At the Hialeah event, the president praised his new national security adviser John Bolton for the airstrikes in Syria. As the crowd applauded, Trump joked, ‘‘Are you giving him all the credit? You know that means the end of his job.’’

Trump headed to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., later Monday, preparing for two days of meetings this week with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Earlier Monday, Trump again branded fired FBI director James B. Comey a criminal.

Trump said Comey drafted an exoneration of Hillary Clinton long before he talked to her as part of an investigation into her e-mail practices when she was secretary of state. The president labeled Comey ‘‘disgruntled’’ and accused him and allies of having ‘‘committed many crimes.’’

Their war of words escalated after Comey, in an ABC interview broadcast Sunday night called Trump ‘‘morally unfit’’ for office.

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In his scathing appraisal of the man who fired him, Comey cited ‘‘some evidence of obstruction of justice’’ in Trump’s actions and speculated that Russians might have dirt on the president.

Comey has said that nine or 10 months into the Clinton investigation, he had a ‘‘clear picture’’ where it was going and it’s common to draft statements before an investigation is complete.

Comey’s interview remarks, coupled with the release of his forthcoming book, offer his version of events surrounding his firing and the investigations into Russian election meddling and Clinton’s e-mail practices.

Several of the episodes he describes in detail, including a private conversation about former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, are central to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and his recollections are presumably valuable for prosecutors examining whether the president’s actions constitute obstruction of justice.

The ex-FBI director, who until his firing in May led an investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, acknowledged that it was ‘‘stunning’’ to think that Russia could have damaging information about a US president. But he said that in Trump’s case, he could not discount the possibility that the president had been compromised.

‘‘These are more words I never thought I'd utter about a president of the United States, but it’s possible,’’ Comey said in the interview. He also acknowledged he had no proof that Russia has dirt on Trump: ‘‘I think it’s possible. I don’t know.’’

He also answered ‘‘possibly’’ when asked if the president was attempting to obstruct justice when he cleared the Oval Office of other officials in 2017 before urging him to close the inquiry into Flynn, who by that point was suspected of lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts.

The retired general pleaded guilty in December and is now cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.

Comey also said he believed Trump treated women like ‘‘pieces of meat.’’

Trump fired Comey in May 2017, setting off a scramble at the Justice Department that led to the appointment of Mueller as special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation.