Trump claims voters do not care about his tax affairs

Congressman Richard Neal issues subpoena for six years’ worth of president’s tax returns

 President Donald Trump broke with four decades of tradition by refusing to release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign. Photograph: Reuters/ Kevin Lamarque

President Donald Trump broke with four decades of tradition by refusing to release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign. Photograph: Reuters/ Kevin Lamarque

 

US president Donald Trump blasted Democrats’ move to subpoena years of the president’s tax returns, claiming that voters do not care about his tax affairs. In a tweet on Saturday – one in a series of tweets about the Mueller investigation and Democrats’ efforts to investigate him – Mr Trump said Democrats wanted to “relitigate this matter”.

“I won the 2016 Election partially based on no Tax Returns while I am under audit (which I still am), and the voters didn’t care,” he tweeted from the White House on Saturday. “Now the Radical Left Democrats want to again relitigate this matter. Make it a part of the 2020 Election!”

Congressman Richard Neal, chairman of the Ways and Means committee, issued a subpoena late on Friday, demanding that treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and the head of the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) turn over six years’ worth of the president’s tax returns to the committee.

It is the latest move by the Democratically controlled House of Representatives to gain access to documents related to Mr Trump’s financial interests and material connected to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Mr Neal first requested the information last month, using a provision in a 1924 law which allows some congressional committees to demand tax information related to certain individuals, though it prohibits committees from making that information public.

But following Mr Mnuchin’s refusal last week to comply with the initial demand by the deadline, Mr Neal issued the subpoena on Friday.

In a statement, he reiterated his view that “reviewing the requested documents is a necessary piece of the committee’s work”.

“While I do not take this step lightly, I believe this action gives us the best opportunity to succeed and obtain the requested material,” he said. “I sincerely hope that the treasury department will furnish the requested material in the next week so the committee can quickly begin its work.”

Tradition

Mr Trump broke with four decades of tradition by refusing to release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign. Last month he sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One – two banks with whom he has significant financial dealings – in a bid to stop them handing over documents requested by Congress.

The latest subpoena by the House Ways and Means Committee is one of dozens of requests for information that have now been issued to the White House and government agencies, many related to congressional probes into links between Mr Trump’s team and Russia.

But the White House has essentially refused to comply, directly individuals not to testify before Congress and refusing to release requested information.

Mr Trump took to Twitter again on Sunday to decry the Mueller investigation which he said “must never be allowed to happen again!”

“This never happened before in American history, and it all turned out to be a total scam, a Witch Hunt, that yielded No Collusion, No Obstruction,” he wrote.

Mr Mueller submitted his final report to the justice department in March. While he found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, he did not make a judgment on whether the president tried to obstruct justice.

Democrats are said to be in discussion with Mr Mueller about possibly testifying in Congress. In a letter to attorney general William Barr, Mr Mueller indicated that he was unhappy about the characterisation of the findings of his report in a four-page summary of the document that the attorney general issued in late March.