US Politics

Democrats Ask Judge to Move on Suit Seeking Trumps Tax Returns

Using arguments deployed by President Donald Trumps impeachment trial legal team, Democratic lawmakers are asking a federal judge to move forward with the House Ways and Means Committees lawsuit that seeks Trumps tax returns—the same lawsuit that the judge paused a month ago.

The Trump administration responded in court documents, saying that arguments raised at the impeachment trial that ended in the presidents acquittal Feb. 5 arent germane to the lawsuit and that accelerating the processing of the case wasnt legally justified.

For years the presidents opponents have been trying without success to get their hands on his personal income tax returns. There are plenty of allegations swirling around but any evidence of legal wrongdoing that may or may not exist has not surfaced publicly. Federal law prevents the Internal Revenue Service from making such returns public, though Democrats on the committee argue the law requires the tax-collection agency to let the committee see the documents.

Trump has refused to give up the documents, saying his adversaries want the documents so they can go on the legal equivalent of a fishing expedition. “Until such time as Im not under audit, I would not be inclined to do that,” he said in April 2019 in a discussion about releasing the returns.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) has said little publicly about the lawsuit. The Epoch Times sought a comment on the lawsuit from his committee office and his congressional office but had not received any responses as of press time.

Last year, Neal was pressed about whether he would be willing to release his own personal tax returns, The Washington Times reported at the time.

“Oh, sure — down the road, sure, thats nothing,” Neal said. “Ive done that in the past, by the way,” he said without elaborating. Roll Call newspaper investigated the matter in 2017 and did not find records showing Neal previously released his returns.

The same year, New England Public Radio asked Neal for the documents on five occasions but failed to receive the returns from him. “I think we should all jump together,” Neal said at the time, adding it might happen in the future. “I think thats the best way to approach it.”

Washington-based U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden ordered the legal proceeding stayed Jan. 14 while awaiting the resolution of a dispute over whether former White House counsel Don McGahn can be subpoenaed. The administration argues communications between McGahn and Trump are protected by executive privilege.

“Court stayed this proceeding more than four weeks ago on the expectation that the D.C. Circuit would imminently issue a ruling in Committee on the Judiciary v. McGahn,” House counsel stated in legal pleadings dated Feb. 15 aimed at lifting the stay.

“That expectation has proven inaccurate. Further delay of this proceeding—including further delay of briefing of the merits—is unwarranted.”

House general counsel Douglas Letter argues the presidents lawyers have performed a legal flip-flop, arguing during the impeachment trial that House impeachment managers had to go to the courts to enforce subpoenas, but now Trumps lawyers are arguing the opposite position by saying the longstanding constitutional doctrine of separation of powers means the executive does noRead More – Source

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The Epoch Times

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