President TrumpDonald John TrumpColbert mocks Trump for ‘oranges’ gaffe Dem wins Trump district in swing-state Pennsylvania Trump says health care plan will be first vote after 2020 election MORE on Wednesday downplayed a move by House Democrats to secure six years of his personal and business tax returns, the latest escalation in the party’s efforts to probe the president’s administration, campaign and business.
The president told reporters in the Cabinet Room that he would not voluntarily release his tax returns, insisting that he remains under audit.
“We’re under audit despite what people said, and we’re working that out,” Trump said. “I’m always under audit it seems. But I’ve been under audit for many years because the numbers are big, and I guess when you have a name you’re audited.”
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOn The Money: Trump shifts on border shutdown threat | Lawmakers fear ‘catastrophic economic impact’ from closure | Waters warns bankers she will take ‘a hard look’ to catch misconduct | Uncertainty over Dem spending proposal Dem tax-writers forming working group on SALT deduction cap Bipartisan IRS reform bill heads to House floor MORE (D-Mass.) on Wednesday evening formally requested copies of six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns, covering 2013 to 2018. Neal set a deadline of April 10 for the IRS to turn over the documents.
“On behalf of the American people, the Ways and Means Committee must determine if that policy is being followed, and, if so, whether these audits are conducted fully and appropriately,” Neal said of the IRS auditing a sitting president.
“In order to fairly make that determination, we must obtain President Trump’s tax returns and review whether the IRS is carrying out its responsibilities,” he added.
Trump broke with decades of precedent during the 2016 presidential campaign when he refused to release his tax returns. The president and White House officials have insisted that his taxes are under audit, and therefore cannot be made public. The IRS has said that audits don’t prevent people from releasing their own tax information.
Democrats have asserted that Trump’s tax returns could reveal potential conflicts of interest or improper financial dealings.
Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenTop Trump Organization official to step down Davis says evidence shows Trump Jr. could be indicted Trump exaggerated wealth, hid debts as a businessman: report MORE, testified before a House panel in February that he doubted the president is under audit as he’s claimed. Cohen further alleged that Trump had inflated and deflated his assets for insurance purposes.
Democrats are attempting to obtain Trump’s taxes using a provision in the federal tax code that gives the chairmen of Congress’s tax committees the power to ask for any tax returns and return information and examine them in a closed session.
The statute says that the Treasury secretary “shall furnish” the documents, so long as they are reviewed in a closed session. But it’s unclear how quickly the IRS will respond and if they will provide Neal with the documents.