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GOP lawmaker at town hall calls on Trump to release his tax returns

A Republican lawmaker on Thursday called on President Trump to release his tax returns while being grilled by a town hall audience.

At the town hall meeting in Florida’s panhandle, Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.) admitted that Trump should release his tax records but would not say whether Congress should subpoena the documents.

“If you hear me out, you’ll like my answer,” Gaetz said over jeers from the crowd. “Absolutely, Donald Trump should release his tax returns.”

{mosads}The freshman lawmaker was responding to a woman who was pressing him on the issue.

“You are on the Judiciary Committee. You have said they are going to investigate the Russian allegations,” the woman said. “Yes or no? Yes or no?

“Let me ask my question: Will you call for the release of President Trump’s income tax returns?”

The incident illustrated the growing pressure on GOP lawmakers this week, who have faced angry constituents and have been forced to explain their relationship to Trump or defend their support for his agenda.

Other Republican lawmakers have called on Trump to release his tax returns, including Rep. Mark Sanford (S.C.), who reiterated the call last month after Trump asserted that journalists were the only ones who cared about the returns.

“I care — or more aptly said, I still care,” Sanford said at the time. “I cared five months ago when I wrote an op-ed published in The New York Times on this very issue. And I care now because the consequences of not doing so will echo into future campaigns.”

Trump broke decades of precedent as a presidential candidate by refusing to release his personal income tax returns. But the documents have gotten renewed attention amid calls by Democratic lawmakers to investigate the real estate mogul’s ties to Russia.

Some lawmakers have proposed subpoenaing the tax returns, because Trump has refused to release them. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in an interview on Wednesday that she was open to Congress demanding the returns.

“If it’s necessary to get to the answers, then I suspect we would,” she said.

Tags Donald Trump Susan Collins Tax returns town hall town halls

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