GOP lawmaker: Battle over Trump tax returns 'is going to have to be litigated'

Republican Rep. Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedTrump's Dingell insults disrupt GOP unity amid impeachment House votes to temporarily repeal Trump SALT deduction cap Trump shocks, earns GOP rebukes with Dingell remarks MORE (N.Y.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, on Wednesday slammed Democrats on the panel seeking to obtain President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' MORE’s tax returns, saying the request was likely headed for a court battle.

“I do believe this is going to have to be litigated. The Democratic chairman of the Ways and Means Committee is going down a political path of weaponizing the tax code for political purposes,” he said in an appearance on CNN’s “New Day.”

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Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealTreasury watchdog to investigate Trump opportunity zone program House poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate MORE (D-Mass.) formally requested Trump’s tax returns last week as the chamber’s Democrats expanded their oversight of the White House. Neal sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig requesting Trump’s personal and business tax returns from 2013-2018 by Wednesday, though that deadline is expected to be missed.

Democrats have clamored for Trump’s tax returns since he declined to release them during the 2016 campaign under the premise that they were being audited. 

“The IRS has a policy of auditing the tax returns of all sitting presidents and vice-presidents, yet little is known about the effectiveness of this program,” Neal said in a statement. “On behalf of the American people, the Ways and Means Committee must determine if that policy is being followed, and, if so, whether these audits are conducted fully and appropriately.” 

However, Republicans have slammed the Democratic efforts as an attempt to bog down the White House with a litany of investigations to try to trip up its legislative agenda and hurt the president.

“Obviously you’ve watched the last 2 1/2 years of the Democratic Party once this election occurred and it was occurring was going after the president, going after the president to remove him from office, to impeach him, and this is just another step in that,” Reed said. “This is not about tax administration, this is about political and weaponizing the tax code for political purposes, and Americans should be concerned about this.” 

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinSecurity for Trump's Mar-a-Lago visits cost local taxpayers million On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Senate approves Trump trade deal with Canada, Mexico | Senate Dems launch probe into Trump tax law regulations | Trump announces Fed nominees Senate Democrats launch investigation into Trump tax law regulations MORE told Congress Tuesday that he hasn’t personally spoken to anyone in the White House about the request, but that its legal departments are reviewing the issue.