Dem senator: Trump tax returns could explain his Russia position

Dem senator: Trump tax returns could explain his Russia position

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyGOP-controlled Senate breaks with Trump on Saudi vote Senate moves toward vote on ending support for Saudi-led war Dem lawmaker pledges hearings after CIA briefing on Khashoggi MORE (D-Conn.) says an investigation that would produce President Trump’s tax returns could shed light on Trump’s “bizarre positioning” towards Russia.

“Legislation establishing a special Senate committee could theoretically give it the power to get these tax returns. That is fully within the power of the United States Congress,” Murphy told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” 

Trump did not release his tax returns during his bid for the presidency, breaking with modern-day American electoral tradition.

Murphy's remarks come a day after a New York Times report alleging that Trump associates had "repeated contacts" with Russian intelligence agents during the campaign.

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Murphy said “it’s clear” that there is another explanation for Trump’s views of Russia. Trump has previously said that only “stupid people” think it is a bad idea to have a positive relationship with the Kremlin.

“Increasingly it’s clear that there is some alternative explanation for this bizarre positioning, this softness on Russia, this permission slip that Trump has given Russia to act in ways that they have not acted in the last 20 years,” Murphy added.

Murphy said Tuesday that the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn was necessary, but added that now there are "way more questions than answers on President Trump's relationship with Russia." Since Flynn's resignation, Senate Democrats have called for a special committee or independent commission to investigate Russia's meddling in the U.S. election and any potential connections between Trump campaign staff and Russian officials. 

Flynn resigned earlier this week following reports that he discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. Flynn originally told White House officials, including Vice President Pence, that the two did not discuss sanctions in their conversation prior to Trump’s inauguration.

Murphy said Wednesday that “there doesn’t seem to be any normal course of international relations explanation” for Trump’s outlook on Russia, suggesting Trump may have some other ties to the Kremlin.

“And that explanation is either that the Russians have something on Trump, or that there are financial ties that are requiring Trump to behave this way or perhaps the Russians helped him in the election and this is sort of a quid pro quo,” Murphy said.

Last month, the intelligence community concluded in a declassified report that Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an influence campaign, including hacking, to help Trump win the presidency. The report, however, did not assess the impact Russia’s actions had on the election.