And according a spokeswoman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, they will “take all necessary steps” — including litigation — to get them.
“Every day the American people and Congress learn more about President Trump’s improprieties, from conflicts of interest to influence peddling, potential tax evasion and violations of the Constitution – all roads leading back to President Trump’s finances,” Ashley Etienne, a spokeswoman for Pelosi, told Fox News on Friday. “These improprieties, and the lack of transparency around them, give the House legitimate legislative, oversight and legal reasons to review the president’s tax returns.”
The topic has been a contentious one for the president since his time on the campaign trail in 2016, and throughout his administration. Trump has claimed that his tax returns are complicated, and has maintained that he will not release them while they are under audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Fox News is told the request for years of Trump’s past tax returns is expected to go to the IRS “as early as the next few weeks,” according to aides close to the process.
“We will take all necessary steps, including litigation, if necessary, to obtain them. Given President Trump’s recalcitrance, the committees with jurisdictional and legislative equities are working with the Ways and Means Committee to ensure the House is able to present the strongest possible case,” Etienne said.
A source told Fox News that Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., has also reached out to fellow chairs of other House investigative committees – including Financial Services, Intelligence, Judiciary, and Oversight — asking them to lay out in detail why they need to review the president’s tax returns for their own efforts.
Democrats signaled during hearings this week with Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, that they are working to get the tax returns. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Wednesday asked Cohen if Trump had intentionally devalued his real estate assets to reduce his tax bills, to which Cohen responded, “Yes.”
Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the House Oversight Committee, sought to lay the groundwork for lawmakers to potentially subpoena employees of the Trump Organization — including its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. Cohen said Weisselberg was privy to Trump’s various money maneuvers and who received immunity from federal prosecutors in New York to testify against Cohen prior to the attorney’s guilty plea on federal campaign finance violations last August.
“What you do is, you deflate the value of the asset and then you put in a request to the tax department for a deduction,” Cohen said when Ocasio-Cortez asked how Trump attempted to reduce his tax burden.
“And would it help for the committee to obtain federal and state tax returns from the president and his company to address that discrepancy?” Ocasio-Cortez asked.
“I believe so,” Cohen answered.
In response to questioning from another lawmaker, Cohen said that he had seen Trump’s tax returns, but had not gone through them.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Samuel Chamberlain and The Associated Press contributed to this report.