Pelosi sees fierce resistance from White House if Dems seek Trump’s tax returns

Democrats will likely seek to uncover President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE’s tax returns when they take control of the House in the next Congress but are expecting fierce resistance from the White House, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiProgressives call for impeachment inquiry after reported Kavanaugh allegations The promise and peril of offshoring prescription drug pricing Words matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump MORE (D-Calif.) predicted Thursday.

Pelosi, who is likely to become Speaker early next year, said the decision will ultimately fall to the Democratic leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has the unique power to request individual tax returns, including those of the president. That panel will be headed by Rep. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealTrump urges judge to deny New York's motion to dismiss state tax return lawsuit Ten notable Democrats who do not favor impeachment Trump probes threaten to overshadow Democrats' agenda MORE (D-Mass.) in the 116th Congress.

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“I think they see a path in that direction,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. “[But] I think it’s a little more challenging than you might think.”

“Yes, there is popular demand for the Congress to request the president’s tax returns. [Ways and Means] will have their path as we go forward,” Pelosi continued.

“I’m sure the White House will resist, and so the question is, where do we go from there?" 

Democrats have repeatedly sought to force the disclosure of Trump's returns, only to be brushed aside by Republicans, who have argued the need to protect the privacy of their ally in the White House.

Democrats have different thoughts, arguing that the public is entitled to learn if the president's vast business empire poses any conflicts of interest, particularly amid the ongoing probe into Russia’s election interference and potential collusion with the Trump campaign team.

Democrats have forced votes seeking Trump’s returns, both on the floor and within the Ways and Means Committee, but Republicans have been near-unanimous in rejecting those efforts. Rep. Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesRepublican Greg Murphy wins special election in NC's 3rd District Early voting extended in NC counties impacted by Dorian ahead of key House race The Hill's Campaign Report: North Carolina special election poses test for GOP ahead of 2020 MORE (R-N.C.), a frequent Trump critic, has been the only Republican to join the Democrats in voting to secure the documents. Rep. Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordTrump challengers pen joint op-ed blasting states for canceling GOP primaries Poll: Trump approval dips among Republicans The Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same MORE (R-S.C.), another Trump detractor, has repeatedly voted “present” on those measures.

Trump flouted long-standing convention among presidential candidates when he refused to release his tax returns on the campaign trail two years ago — the first such refusal since Richard Nixon. Trump has said an ongoing IRS audit prevents such a release — an argument the IRS itself has refuted.

Pelosi on Thursday mocked Trump’s audit argument, relaying a message she received from a kitchen worker at the Willard Hotel, where she recently attended a human rights event.

“This is a newcomer to America in the back of the hotel restaurant, saying, ‘When the president says the [Robert] Mueller investigation is going on too long, just tell him not as long as your audit, Mr. President,’” Pelosi said.

“The wisdom from the kitchen of the Willard Hotel.”