Democrats, Republicans clash over release of Trump's tax returns

Democrats, Republicans clash over release of Trump's tax returns

Newly empowered House Democrats kicked off a barrage of investigations into President Donald Trump's taxes, real estate business and Russian Federation ties Thursday, raising the pressure on the White House after two years of insulation by a Republican majority.

The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has said he plans to request Trump's returns using IRS code 6103, a provision that Democrats say allows the chairman of the House Ways and Means committee to request Trump's tax returns.

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.

Democratic committee member Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin said there will be no rush, either. But Kay Granger of Texas, the top Republican on House Appropriations, said negotiations may go past Friday but be completed in time to avert a shutdown.

Trump has rejected a decades-old tradition that presidents and White House hopefuls would make their tax returns public.

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 said Wednesday that Democrats are not intimidated.

Republican and Democratic negotiators are exchanging border security proposals that contain far less funding for the border wall than President Donald Trump has demanded, with just days left before a deadline to release their bill ahead of another potential government shutdown.

"Nixon's returns had been audited twice", Thorndike said, with the IRS giving Nixon a complimentary note after the first audit.

Trump returned to Twitter less than two hours later and repeated the mantra: "PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!"

The oversight hearing, led by subcommittee chair Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., will also examine current tax law regarding presidents' tax returns.

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But with no law requiring presidents to release their returns, Democrats face a possible backlash from the public for overreaching. That could spark votes by Congress to block him, which Trump could veto but would still inflict political damage.

"I certainly hear that they are working on something and both sides are moving along", Trump said. If the administration balks, Democrats may end up taking the issue to court.

For more than two years, Democrats have asked President Donald Trump for his tax returns.

A conservative House GOP aide said Freedom Caucus members wanted at least $2 billion for barriers and no restrictions on new construction, land acquisition or new types of barriers that could be built. The organization funded by billionaire investor and Democratic activist Tom Steyer has run a TV ad in Neal's home district calling on him to subpoena Trump's tax records, as a prelude to starting impeachment proceedings.

Several tax experts were also called upon to testify.

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

Five witnesses are expected to testify: Joseph J. Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project, an initiative from Tax Analysts; George K. Yin, the Edwin S. Cohen Distinguished Professor of Law and Taxation at the University of Virginia School of Law; Noah Bookbinder, executive director at the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington; Steven M. Rosenthal, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center; and Ken Kies, managing director of the Federal Policy Group.

Those committees can then release those tax returns to the full House or Senate if they choose.

Lowey said, "Are you kidding me?" when asked whether she was going to the retreat. "I gotta believe that the Mueller team already has their hands on the president's tax returns". "Every single American has the right to privacy".

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