Dem says request for Trump's tax returns could come within weeks

Dem says request for Trump's tax returns could come within weeks
© Greg Nash

Rep. Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellOn The Money: Conservatives rally behind Moore for Fed | White House interviewing other candidates | Trump, Dems spar on Tax Day | Budget watchdogs bemoan 'debt denialism' Dems, Trump harden 2020 battle lines on Tax Day Trump lawyer disputes Dem rationale for requesting tax returns MORE (D-N.J.) predicted Tuesday that House Democrats will request President TrumpDonald John TrumpThorny part of obstruction of justice is proving intent, that's a job for Congress Obama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity' Schiff rips Conway's 'display of alternative facts' on Russian election interference MORE's tax returns from the Treasury Department in the next two weeks — the latest signal that the request may be coming soon.

"My prediction would be the next couple of weeks," Pascrell, a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, told reporters.

He added that the two-week timetable is his personal prediction and that Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOn The Money: House Dem says marijuana banking bill will get vote in spring | Buttigieg joins striking Stop & Shop workers | US home construction slips in March | Uber gets B investment for self-driving cars Democrats should be careful wielding more investigations Dem House chairs: Mueller report 'does not exonerate the president' MORE (D-Mass.) hasn't told him a specific timetable.

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When Neal was asked about a timetable on Tuesday, he told reporters he would make the request "when the case is ready."

"I think that we're doing the due diligence," he said.

Democrats have signaled an interest in obtaining Trump's tax returns in order to learn more about about any conflicts of interest the president may have.

Trump has broken with tradition and refused to make his returns public, citing an IRS audit. However, the IRS has said that nothing prevents people from disclosing their own tax information.

A provision in the federal tax code gives Neal the ability to request anyone's tax returns from the Treasury Department, provided that they are reviewed in a closed session. After examining the returns behind closed doors, the Ways and Means Committee could vote to issue a report to the full House that makes some or all of the return information public.

Neal has taken a cautious approach to requesting the returns. He has said he wants to build a case first, because he thinks the issue is likely to result in a lengthy court battle.

But Pascrell's prediction is the latest suggestion that the request for Trump's returns could happen in the near future.

A spokeswoman for Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiSenate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller End of Mueller shifts focus to existing probes Democrats renew attacks on Trump attorney general MORE (D-Calif.) couldn't confirm a timeline late last week but said in a statement then that the House has "legitimate legislative, oversight and legal reasons to review the President’s tax returns" and will "take all necessary steps" to get them.

Pascrell said he thinks that Neal will likely request 10 years of tax returns. He said that Neal may start by just requesting Trump's personal tax returns but then seek the president's business tax returns at a later point.

"The letter will reflect research, talking with attorneys and the other resource people that we have," he said.

Neal said that whether he requests both personal and business returns will depend on the advice of the lawyers he's consulting.

Pascrell said that he likes Neal's methodical approach.

"It's a smart way, and I think we're on the right path," he said.