House Democrats formally requested Donald Trump’s tax returns on Wednesday, but the president is acting like he isn’t phased. According to The Hill, the president downplayed progressives’ attempts to probe into his personal and business dealings.
When Trump heard that Democrats were requesting six years of returns, from 2013-2018, he brushed off the news to the assembled reporters in the Cabinet Room.
“Is that all? Usually it’s 10 so I guess they’re giving up,” he said.
Trump then repeated the claim that his tax returns are under audit, so he wouldn’t voluntarily release his taxes. It’s worth noting that the IRS has said that being under audit doesn’t prevent an individual from making their own tax returns available.
“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.”
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal announced that he had formally requested the president’s taxes through the Treasury Department. He set a deadline of April 10 and said that the move was necessary in order to have oversight into the presidency.
“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.
“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.”
Neal explained that the IRS has a standing policy of auditing presidential tax returns, as well as the vice president’s tax returns. The committee requested six years worth of returns because this is the typical audit timeframe.
A key House Democrat just officially demanded Trump’s tax returns https://t.co/veeUBvHni7
— Vox (@voxdotcom) April 3, 2019
The move is undoubtedly the first step in a long battle to see the president’s returns. Democrats have been demanding Trump’s tax returns since his 2016 campaign when he broke with the long tradition of presidential candidates releasing their tax returns as a show of transparency. Democrats say that they want to determine if the president has any potential conflicts of interest and how the tax law he pushed and approved in 2017 may have impacted his own financial standing.
Republican Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley called the move political and says that requesting Trump’s tax returns under the guise of oversight in “not legitimate.” His words echo the criticism that many Republican lawmakers have made.