President Trump is “hostage-taking once again” by threatening to not work with Congress “if there are investigations,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told Hill.TV on Thursday.
“He’s hostage-taking once again, holding the American people hostage,” Schumer said in an exclusive interview with Hill.TV. “It’s not just the right of Congress to look into these things, it’s the obligation. The Founding Fathers said it.”
His remarks were in response to tweets earlier in the day from Trump, who lashed out at Democrats like House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (Calif.) launching investigations into the administration.
“So now Congressman Adam Schiff announces, after having found zero Russian Collusion, that he is going to be looking at every aspect of my life, both financial and personal, even though there is no reason to be doing so. Never happened before!”
Trump went on to say, “The Dems and their committees are going ‘nuts.’ The Republicans never did this to President Obama, there would be no time left to run government. I hear other committee heads will do the same thing. Even stealing people who work at White House! A continuation of Witch Hunt!”
Schumer shot back by telling Hill.TV, “What’s he afraid of? If he thought there was nothing there, why would he worry?”
A House Ways and Means subcommittee is holding a hearing Thursday that will discuss legislative proposals and tax laws involving presidential tax returns. Trump became the first president in decades to refuse to release his tax returns.
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), a member of the subcommittee, explained to Hill.TV that experts will testify that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) has the authority to obtain all tax returns via IRS code section 6103.
That statute “allows the chair of Ways and Means to obtain the tax information of anyone that he deems worthy,” Chu said. “There is no ifs, ands or buts. Basically, if he asks for that then the person must comply, including the president.”
Veteran GOP Rep. Mike Conaway (Texas) also told Hill.TV that Democrats are making good on 2018 campaign promises by launching investigations.
“The Democrats didn’t really run on any kind of a platform to do anything other than investigate. So when you make it campaign promises to get elected then you’ve got to fulfill those promises,” said Conaway, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
“They basically promised to investigate everything under the sun that relates to President Trump – family, business, whatever it might be – so they are simply fulfilling campaign promises – if they bear fruit, they do, but I don’t think they will in many instances,” Conaway added.
— Molly K. Hooper