House Democrats take first step to access Trump tax returns

House Democrats take first step to access Trump tax returns”

On Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said a hearing on the deaths of two migrant children in USA custody at the southern border would be scheduled for March 5.

Illinois Republican Rep. Darin LaHood blasted the effort by Democrats as a "waste of time and energy and resources" of the committee, arguing such a step was unprecedented especially while a sitting president was undergoing an independent investigation by the special counsel's office. "We will not agree to $2 billion in funding for barriers", said Evan Hollander, spokesman for House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., who is leading the bipartisan talks.

Democrats say they want to see Trump's returns to be sure he's complying with tax laws, to examine his financial connections overseas, and find out to whom he owes money.

With Democrats now controlling the House and holding the legal key to seeking President Donald Trump's tax returns, Republican lawmakers are invoking privacy in defending Trump's flank. Trump is being squeezed by Mueller's probe, by federal prosecutors in NY looking into his inaugural spending, and by other House probes into possible ties with Russians during the campaign. He has said he won't release them because he is being audited, even though IRS officials have said taxpayers under audit are free to release their returns. But we believe this argument neglects an important reason that Mr. Trump's removal by his party would be at least as healthy, democratically speaking: It would reinvigorate the idea that political parties exist not just as vehicles for politicians but as protectors of vital democratic norms.

The practice of unilaterally releasing tax returns would set a unsafe precedent eroding our most basic privacy rights.

Republicans on the 17-person congressional committee assigned to negotiate the deal are already divided-some have said avoiding another shutdown is their main priority, but others have said they'll remain committed to Trump.

Trump also lashed out at Schiff on Wednesday, calling him a "political hack". "No one is above the law", he said. If the administration balks, Democrats may end up taking the issue to court.

When President Trump caved during the last government shutdown fight and agreed to three weeks of government funding while bipartisan conference committee talks got underway, his propaganda machine spun into overdrive to portray it as a glorious victory for him. The sluggish process - delayed by the five-week partial government shutdown and Neal's desire to carefully craft a legal argument - is making some anxious to move ahead. Kelly asked. "What about the tax returns of the speaker?"

"I remember everybody was optimistic the week before Christmas", said Sen.

The group Need to Impeach, funded by billionaire Tom Steyer, urged Neal to get the president's returns in a commercial during Sunday's Super Bowl, which was won by the chairman's home-state New England Patriots.

The decision of how to handle a request for Trump's returns will fall to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, one of the President's closest confidants and earliest backers.

"We will examine a topic of great interest to the American people: We will review whether a president, vice president (or other candidates). should be required by law to make their tax returns available to the public, " said Representative John Lewis, the Georgia Democrat who chairs the oversight subcommittee that conducted the hearing.

The New Jersey Democrat has been pushing committee leaders for more than a year to use their authority to view private tax returns.

But Republicans maintained a steady theme: that obtaining Trump's tax returns is both unnecessary and sets a unsafe precedent. As the campaign progressed, he dialed back that pledge, citing ongoing IRS audits that would complicate any attempt to make them public.

In Washington, with Democrats now the majority in the House, Trump is under increasing pressure to disclose his returns. "If I choose to run, I promise I will absolutely release my tax returns".

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