Top House Republican calls for probe of source of NYT Trump tax documents

Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyHouse panel advances key portion of Democrats' .5T bill LIVE COVERAGE: Ways and Means to conclude work on .5T package LIVE COVERAGE: Tax hikes take center stage in Ways and Means markup MORE (R-Texas) called on Monday for a probe into the sources of The New York Times story that detailed two decades worth of President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE's tax records and financial dealings.

Brady, the head Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, released a statement on the Times report that was published Sunday, saying a “felony crime was committed” by giving Trump’s tax information to the newspaper.

"While many critics question the article’s accuracy, equally troubling is the prospect that a felony crime was committed by releasing the private tax return information of an individual - in this case the President’s,” he said. 

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“To ensure every American is protected against the illegal release of their tax returns for political reasons, I am calling for an investigation of the source and to prosecute if the law was broken,” he added. 

The bombshell Times report detailed that Trump paid a total of $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017. The cited documents also revealed that Trump leveraged his losses to pay no federal income taxes in 10 of 15 years.  

The report also said Trump is confronting significant losses and has several large loan deadlines approaching in the next few years, including a $100 million loan due in 2022. 

The documents were obtained by sources who had legal access to it, the newspaper noted in its report. Prior to publishing, a lawyer for the Trump Organization asked the newspaper to see the documents but the publication declined in order to protect its sources.

Trump and the White House both countered the report, with the president giving several defenses, although none have addressed its core findings. The president first reacted to the report, calling it “fake news” during a press conference on Sunday.

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He later tweeted Monday morning that the Times “illegally obtained” the information with “bad intent” and said he “was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation & tax credits.”

The Times report was released two days ahead of the first presidential debate between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE. Biden’s campaign leaped on the report releasing a campaign ad Monday criticizing the president for paying $750 in federal income taxes. 

The president has declined to release his tax returns throughout his campaigns and presidency, breaking from tradition of previous modern presidents. 

Trump has pointed to an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit as reason for not releasing the returns. Congressional Democratic lawmakers and state prosecutors have attempted to obtain them. Experts have said the IRS audit would not prevent Trump from releasing the documents.