Grassley requests a briefing on requesting Trump's tax returns

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyMcSally unveils bill to lower drug prices amid tough campaign Ernst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case MORE (R-Iowa) said he's planning to receive a briefing from Congress's nonpartisan tax scorekeepers on the process of requesting tax returns from the Treasury Department, as House Democrats are planning to use the process to try to obtain President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll MORE's returns.

"Don't interpret this as looking into it, but I'm going to have a briefing by Joint Tax on what all this involves before I answer any questions," Grassley said in a briefing with reporters Wednesday, referencing the Joint Committee on Taxation.

The briefing is "going to be set up pretty soon," Grassley added.

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Under the federal tax code, the chairmen of Congress's tax committees can request tax returns from Treasury and review them in a closed session. The committees could then vote to release a report to the full House or Senate, making some or all of the returns public.

Democrats have been frustrated that Trump is the first president in decades to refuse to release his tax returns, and want to examine them to learn about any potential conflicts of interest. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealWyden, Mnuchin clash over Trump tax returns, Hunter Biden probe Overnight Health Care: House panel advances legislation on surprise medical bills | Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Trump abortion coverage rule | CDC identifies 13th US patient with coronavirus White House warns of raising health costs in debate over surprise medical bills MORE (D-Mass.) is expected to request Trump's tax returns from Treasury, though Democrats are bracing for resistance by the administration to turn over the documents.

Grassley, as chairman of the Senate's tax-writing committee, also has the ability to request tax returns.

He has the power, if he wants to use it, to also request Trump's tax returns so that Democrats don't completely control the analysis of the documents. He also could also respond to a Democratic request for Trump's tax returns by requesting the tax returns of Democratic politicians.

In a speech on the Senate floor in December, Grassley said that he "will not go along with efforts to weaponize the authority of tax-writing committees to access tax returns for political purposes.”