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

Republican Rep. Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedHere are the eight Republicans who voted with Democrats on the Equality Act House approves anti-LGBT discrimination Equality Act Thirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill 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 TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit 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 NealRepublicans attempt to amend retirement savings bill to include anti-BDS language House votes to boost retirement savings Steyer plans impeachment push targeting Democrats over recess 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 MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Artist designs stamp to put Harriet Tubman's face over Jackson's on bills On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers 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.