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 NealKey House committee chairman to meet with Mnuchin on infrastructure next week Coalition of conservative groups to air ads against bipartisan proposal to end 'surprise' medical bills House revives agenda after impeachment storm MORE (D-Mass.) said Friday that Democrats will likely take action to start a court case over President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation 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 MnuchinHillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Bezos phone breach raises fears over Saudi hacking | Amazon seeks to halt Microsoft's work on 'war cloud' | Lawmakers unveil surveillance reform bill On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Mnuchin says officials working on new tax cuts | Watchdog charges former execs over Wells Fargo accounts scandal | Study questions Biden, Sanders tax plan claims CRA modernization: A once-in-a-generation opportunity 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.