The highest tax-writing committee in the House is planning to make a request to the Internal Revenue Service for years of Donald Trump’s personal tax returns in the next week. According to congressional aides involved in the process, Democrats are fully prepared to take any and all steps necessary to obtain the tax returns, including legal action.
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has asked the committee’s attorneys to work on the request and contacted several House investigative committees to provide detailed reasons for why the president’s tax returns are necessary to conduct their probes.
Ashley Etienne, the spokeswoman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, told reporters,
Every day the American people and Congress learn more about President Trump’s improprieties, from conflicts of interest to influence peddling, potential tax evasion and violations of the Constitution — all roads leading back to President Trump’s finances.”
The Ways and Means Committee is the only congressional committee with the power to deliver a request for Trump’s tax returns. Neal has said he may wait to deliver the request until special counsel Robert Mueller has completed his investigation of the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.
Congressional aides involved in the request said Michael Cohen’s testimony in front of the House Oversight Committee earlier this week sparked the decision to include multiple committee stakeholders. Several pieces of information Cohen provided in his testimony apparently strengthen the House’s argument for Congress to obtain the records.
In one of many breaks from presidential tradition, Trump has aggressively refused to release his tax returns since the issue was addressed during his campaign for the presidency. He’s the first U.S. president going all the way back to Richard Nixon who has refused to disclose his taxes to the general public. While the Ways and Means Committee has the power to obtain any U.S. taxpayer’s returns, they are preparing for a legal challenge from the president that would drag the process on longer than necessary.
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