Democrats in the House on Saturday reinforced their demands that the IRS give them access to President Trump's tax returns, heralding a long legal battle in the courts.
House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal, D-Mass., Told the IRS that the law gave Congress the right to six years of Trump's personal and corporate income tax returns. and fixed a deadline for reply to 23 April.
TRUMP LAWYER CALLS THE IRS TO REJECT THE REQUEST FOR RETURNS TO THE TAX OF THE DEM. He would say that this would be a "dangerous precedent"
Neal told IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig that if he did not respond to his letter, Neal would interpret this as a refusal of the application, paving the way for a possible legal battle.
The Treasury Department missed the April 10 deadline set for April 10 by Democrats for tax return filing. US Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the department has not yet decided whether he will follow through on this request.
"It is not the function of the IRS, the Treasury or Justice to question or guess the Committee's motives or its reasonable decisions regarding the need for tax returns or requested return information," wrote Neal.
This letter marks the Democrats' last effort for over a year to gain access to Trump's financial documents. Neal asked for Trump's personal and professional statements for 2013-18. Democrats say this is part of their Congressional control mandate, but Republicans have opposed the unprecedented move.
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Trump has repeatedly stated during the 2016 presidential campaign and his presidency that he could not publish his tax returns as he was undergoing an audit.
A Trump lawyer said in a letter last week that these efforts were aimed at harassing a political opponent and that this would create a "dangerous precedent" for the agency to return.
"For good reason, it would be a blatant abuse of power for the majority to use tax returns as a weapon to attack, harass and intimidate their political opponents. Once this Pandora's box has been opened, the resulting coup de grace will cause lasting damage to our country, "said William S. Consovoy in a letter to the Attorney General of the Treasury.
In his letter, Consovoy said that Neal "can not legally ask" because the tax code protects the privacy of taxpayers, with the exception of certain conditions – which, according to him, are not met.
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"Even if Ways and Means had a legitimate committee purpose to request the president's tax returns and information, this goal does not result in President Neal's request," he wrote.
"His request is a transparent effort by a political party to harass a leader of the other party because they do not like his politics and his speech," he added. .
Associated Press contributed to this report.