Pelosi Urges Patience In Going After Trump's Tax Returns

Cheryl Sanders
February 10, 2019

But put all this together, and you can see one way out of the impasse: The conference committee reaches a deal that includes some barriers and some of the things Democrats want; Republicans tell Trump they want him to accept this deal and don't have the stomach for the alternatives; White House aides persuade Trump that if he does take the deal, he can still use executive authority to secure more wall money (with details to be worked out later) anyway.

Asked specifically whether he plans to make Trump's tax returns a top priority, Jeffries responded with a different list of legislative goals like lowering health care costs, introducing an infrastructure plan and "cleaning up corruption".

"Because if Democrats or any party can abuse their power to rummage through the tax returns of the president, what will stop them from abusing that power in the future frankly to target any individual American that they see as a political enemy?"

Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, has said he is all too aware of the political dangers of delving deep into Trump's personal finances. 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. The committee, which is now headed by Democrat Adam Schiff of California, hopes Mr. Mueller will be able to prosecute instances of perjury among some of President Donald Trump's current and former colleagues that have come under the investigation's crosshairs.Meanwhile the same Committee launched a new probe into Trump's foreign business deals to determine if the President's decisions on Russian Federation might have been influenced by his desire for personal financial gain.

Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, who made several unsuccessful attempts to get Trump's tax returns over the past two years, questioned what the president could be hiding by keeping his tax information a secret. Lawmakers face a February 15 deadline when large portions of the government will shutdown unless Congress and Trump act first.

Rep. Bill Pascrell leaves the House Democrats' caucus meeting at the Capitol, Jan. 4, 2019, in Washington, DC. The legislation also would make it easier for citizens to register and vote, and ban executive-branch officials from lobbying their old agency for two years after they leave government.

Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump, has vowed to fight requests for the documents while the Treasury Department has signaled it would review the legality of a request, potentially prolonging the process via legal challenges.

After Republicans lost control of the House during November's midterm elections, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cautioned Democrats against "presidential harassment".

House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., said he's hoping negotiators settle on a number for physical barriers that is "north" of $2 billion.

Yet there's no guarantee that the administration will comply.

The legal battle that could ensue over Trump's tax filings would be unprecedented. A defiant Pelosi declared on Wednesday that House Democrats would not be cowed by President Donald Trump's "all-out threat" during his State of the Union address to drop their investigations of his administration, as fellow Democrats pushed ahead with a bevy of sensitive inquiries.

"Hopefully, we'll get some good news in a short period of time", said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin could ask the Democrats to re-submit any request with a stronger argument.

On Friday, Democrats are hauling Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker before Congress for the first time.

Trump broke with decades of tradition for presidential candidates by refusing to release his income tax filings during his 2016 campaign.

"If you think this is important, then you should require its release", said Thorndike in an interview with CNN.

Trump has repeatedly declared his innocence, claiming that the growing investigations, which also include probes by federal prosecutors in NY, are politically motivated. There are questions about what if any financial dealings he's had with Russian Federation, what conflicts of interest his business and political roles might pose, how philanthropic he is, how much Trump might benefit from the tax-cut plan he signed and, perhaps most directly, how much or how little he's paid in taxes.

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