It all happened in one single day. House Democrats demanded that President Trump reveal his tax returns for the last six years. They moved to get a decade’s worth of his financial records and got ready to issue a subpoena for the full Mueller report from the Justice Department.
Top House Democratic lawmakers and aides say the trifold attack was more by accident than design. Even so, it’s clear that April 3 marks a turning point for the new Democratic majority. In less than eight hours, House Democrats moved to an all-out investigative assault on Trump.
The White House and Republican leaders have criticized the move as unnecessary, openly partisan and a huge distraction from the country’s business.
That’s not how House Democrats see it.
Trump was immediately dismissive of the request by Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, to the IRS for six years of his personal and business tax returns. Trump once again used the argument that he was still under audit, and he also noted that he wasn’t in any mood to comply with the Democratic demand.
“Is that all? We are under audit, despite what people said, and working that out,” Trump told reporters. “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. But until such time as I’m not under audit, I would not be inclined to do it.” Under IRS policy, sitting presidents and vice presidents are audited.
But Neal said the request was well within his committee’s rights, and he urged the IRS to comply by an April 10 deadline.
“I today submitted to IRS Commissioner [Charles] Rettig my request for six years of the president’s personal tax returns as well as the returns for some of his business entities,” Neal said in a statement. “We have completed the necessary groundwork for a request of this magnitude and I am certain we are within our legitimate legislative, legal, and oversight rights.”
Neal added: “I take the authority to make this request very seriously, and I approach it with the utmost care and respect. This request is about policy, not politics; my preparations were made on my own track and timeline, entirely independent of other activities in Congress and the administration.”