Trump Must Turn Over Tax Returns, Democratic Lawmaker Says

Most of those planning to watch Tuesday's State of the Union address consider themselves Trump supporters.             
    CBS News

Most of those planning to watch Tuesday's State of the Union address consider themselves Trump supporters. CBS News

Namely, the House Ways and Means Committee can request the tax documents of the president or anyone else for confidential review.

"This is our first real crack", panel member Rep.

Thursday's hearing was a step aimed at helping Democrats bolster their case for why the American people need to see Trump's tax returns, arguing given his array of business dealings, including overseas, should be revealed to the public.

Pascrell insists he believes committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., will go the full distance to request Trump's returns within "two to three months".

But, the fight over Trump's returns is just beginning.

"I'm cautiously optimistic, but we'll find out over the weekend", said Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, one of the members of the committee tasked with putting together a deal.

George Yin, a professor of law and taxation at University of Virginia Law School, testified to the panel that he doesn't see any "wiggle room" in the law for the Treasury secretary to refuse Neal's request for Trump's returns.

The report said the main disagreement appears to be - yet - how much money for "barriers" and what those would look like. It could take years to resolve, possibly stretching beyond the 2020 presidential election.

"There's nothing to learn from them", Trump said in an interview with The Associated Press in May 2016. "Such an abuse of power would open a Pandora's box". Lawmakers and activists on the right have been critical allies of the president on judicial nominations and have stressed that an emergency declaration could set a precedent for a future Democratic president to take far-reaching action on climate change or gun violence.

"Hopefully, we'll get some good news in a short period of time", said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Joseph J. Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project, agreed that presidential candidates disclosing their tax returns is "tradition, not a law".

"I certainly hear that they are working on something and both sides are moving along", Trump said.

Although Trump warned Congress in his State of the Union on Tuesday that "there can not be war and investigation" if lawmakers want 'peace and legislation, ' House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff declared Wednesday that Democrats are not intimidated.

"It's not a question of just sending a letter", Pelosi said.

Senate Democratic members of the bipartisan, bicameral conference committee met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at noon Thursday.

Trump has cited IRS audits of his personal tax returns as a reason not to release them to the public. It would require the president and vice president to release 10 years of tax returns. The legislation also would make it easier for citizens to register and vote, and ban executive-branch officials from lobbying their old agency for two years after they leave government. Some elements of the bill have bipartisan support, but the overall package is unlikely to advance in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Thursday's hearing is created to build a case for Neal's authority to request Trump's returns, said Andy Grewal, a tax law professor at the University of Iowa.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told The New York Times that if any requests are made, he would work with the department's general counsel and the general counsel for the IRS. 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. As always, though, the question is where the President stands on all of this, what kind of deal he'd be willing to accept, and whether or not he'd end up going back on his word if it turns out that the base, especially people like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and the Fox News Channel crowd, accuses him of caving to the Democrats.

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.

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