Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Pelosi Urges Patience In Going After Trump's Tax Returns

Pelosi Urges Patience In Going After Trump's Tax Returns

That goal has been high on their list of priorities since they won control of the House in November's midterm elections, but asking for Trump's returns is likely to set off a huge legal battle with his administration.

In early 2016, Trump said he'd release the returns after a federal audit was complete.

At the same time 3rd District Rep. Adrian Smith, a member of the powerful tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, says he would have preferred the president "voluntarily release them to avoid our current situation".

Republicans rejected the need to obtain Trump's tax returns, saying a required annual IRS audit of presidential tax records should provide adequate safeguards without threatening the privacy normally afforded to individual tax data.

The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has said he plans to request Trump's returns using IRS code 6103, a provision that Democrats say allows the chairman of the House Ways and Means committee to request Trump's tax returns. "We didn't want the government shut down the first time", he said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

Shelby said he thinks that if the bipartisan, bicameral group works out a deal in the "context" he spoke with Mr. Trump about Thursday, he thinks Mr. Trump "would sign it".

"I don't see any wiggle room for the Treasury secretary to refuse the request", said George Yin, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law and former chief of staff for the Joint Committee on Taxation, adding it would be "unprecedented" for the secretary to refuse.

As House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, said on Wednesday, "To say that we can't do [oversight] is to say that we shouldn't do our constitutional duty".

But Republicans maintained a steady theme: that obtaining Trump's tax returns is both unnecessary and sets a unsafe precedent. "We will not agree to $2 billion in funding for barriers", said Evan Hollander, a spokesman for House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. "The law is on our side".

"It's not a question of just sending a letter", Pelosi said. Lawmakers face a February 15 deadline when large portions of the government will shutdown unless Congress and Trump act first. "I gotta believe that the Mueller team already has their hands on the president's tax returns". Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin could ask the Democrats to re-submit any request with a stronger argument.

Just a month into their new majority, House Democrats are demanding sensitive documents that could shed light on how security clearances were granted at the White House, how companies got contracts to clean up after Hurricane Maria and whether the president's decisions have been influenced by his foreign financial interests.

Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani has made it clear that the President intends to fight any request in court. Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani has suggested the Democrats could have a hard time proving their demand was intended for pursuing legitimate congressional oversight and was not a political scavenger hunt.

In 1974, both major party candidates disclosed tax returns for the first time, according to CRS, though President Gerald Ford released only "partial" tax returns.

Trump also continues to keep the door open to declaring a national emergency but the White House has floated in recent days that another shutdown is not out of the realm of possibilities.

"A lot of the American public would like to see the returns, but in the back of their minds they're thinking that they don't want their returns to go public", said Rep. Kenny Marchant, a Texas Republican.

Schiff's Intelligence Committee is planning a deep-dive into Trump's financial and business ties to Russian Federation, suggesting that they could involve money laundering. There are questions about what if any financial dealings he's had with Russian Federation, what conflicts of interest his business and political roles might pose, how philanthropic he is, how much Trump might benefit from the tax-cut plan he signed and, perhaps most directly, how much or how little he's paid in taxes.

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