Chairman: Dems to proceed to court over Trump's tax returns 'as quickly as next week'

Chairman: Dems to proceed to court over Trump's tax returns 'as quickly as next week'
© Greg Nash

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Four companies reach 0M settlement in opioid lawsuit | Deal opens door to larger settlements | House panel to consider vaping tax | Drug pricing markup tomorrow House Democrats ask judge to dismiss Trump lawsuit over NY tax return law On The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax MORE (D-Mass.) said Friday that Democrats will likely take action to start a court case over President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE's tax returns as soon as next week.

Neal gave the Treasury Department and IRS until 5 p.m. Friday to comply with subpoenas for six years of Trump's personal and business tax filings. Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTop economic adviser warned Trump on reelection chances ahead of China truce: report The Hill's Morning Report - Tempers boil over at the White House Schumer seeks focus on health care amid impeachment fever MORE on Wednesday signaled that the administration would not provide the tax returns that Neal subpoenaed.

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"I anticipate that they won't meet that deadline, and the result will be that we will likely proceed to court as quickly as next week," Neal told reporters.

Trump is the first president in decades who hasn't made any of his tax returns public, and obtaining the documents is one of Democrats' top oversight priorities.

Neal initially requested Trump's tax returns in April, citing section 6103(f) of the federal tax code, which states that the Treasury secretary "shall furnish" tax returns requested by a chair of a congressional tax committee. Neal said that he wants the documents because the Ways and Means Committee is interested in legislative proposals relating to how the IRS audits presidents.

Mnuchin rejected Neal's request earlier this month, saying it lacked a legitimate legislative purpose. That prompted Neal to issue the subpoenas.

When asked if he thought the subpoenas were the right move, Neal said that since Democrats took control of the House in January, he has "meticulously followed the advice of counsel."

"I intend to fully stay with that. I that think in the long run, that is the best policy," he said.

Some Democrats and progressive groups want Neal to pursue holding Mnuchin in contempt, in addition to pursuing a lawsuit to obtain the tax returns.

But Neal said that he doesn't see contempt "right now as an option."

"I think that the better option for us is to proceed with a court case," he said.