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

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

The law states that the chairmen of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means committee each have the power to request taxpayer information and states that "the secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request".

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

The Democrats tried and failed several times to obtain Trump's returns as the minority party in Congress. Among them: whether there are conflicts of interest between his companies and his presidential actions, what are the sources of his income and to whom he might be beholden as a result, whether he's properly paid taxes and whether he benefited from the sweeping Republican-written tax law enacted in late 2017. Their newly energized leftward wing is pushing the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., to set the quest in motion, and fast. He said Neal is consulting with lawyers for the House "to determine the appropriate legal steps to go forward with this unprecedented request".

But Shelby said Trump during their meeting "urged me to get to yes" on an agreement.

"I don't see any wiggle room for the Treasury secretary to refuse the request", said George Yin, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law and former chief of staff for the Joint Committee on Taxation, adding it would be "unprecedented" for the secretary to refuse.

"We need the time to make sure that what we're agreeing to is what we really need", said Rep. It could take years to resolve, possibly stretching beyond the 2020 presidential election. The Austin Democrat said Republicans were the ones who have "weaponized the tax code", pointing back to their investigation in 2014 of the IRS' treatment of conservative political groups. "I gotta believe that the Mueller team already has their hands on the president's tax returns". "Such an abuse of power would open a Pandora's box".

Negotiators hope a deal can be sealed by Sunday night, so that the House can take it up early next week ahead of the February 15 deadline.Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated to negotiators she will observe a new three-day review rule in the Democratic House, presenting a fairly hard deadline over the next few days.

"This needs to be done methodically", Pascrell, D-N.J., 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 said Wednesday that Democrats are not intimidated.

"I have asked the administration to be as noninterventionist as I am on that", Pelosi told reporters Thursday morning. "And the chairman of the committee will be doing that".

Brady-who is the ranking member of the committee itself-and Kelly accused Democrats of hunting Trump's tax returns as an attempt to play "partisan "gotcha" politics in the letter".

The hearing was part of House Democrats' effort to push an ethics legislation, which would require presidents and vice presidents as well as candidates for those posts to release their tax returns in previous 10 years.

It's unclear exactly what would happen if Democrats were to head down that path, though the Trump administration has been gearing up for a legal fight.

Down Pennsylvania Avenue at the Capitol, the mood among negotiators was distinctly upbeat, with participants in the talks between the Democratic- controlled House and Republican-held Senate predicting a deal could come as early as this weekend.

Why hasn't Trump released his tax returns? Mnuchin has said he will analyze the request and respond if required by law, but has declined to say what legal stance his team might take. Lawmakers face a February 15 deadline when large portions of the government will shutdown unless Congress and Trump act first.

"I would recommend that this will probably be a good down payment and what else is lacking, the delta between what you want and what you get, there are other ways to do it, and I expect the president to go it alone in some fashion", Graham said.

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