Under significant pressure from progressive advocacy groups, Democratic Rep. Richard Neal on Wednesday formally requested President Donald Trump's tax returns-setting the stage for what many expect to be a lengthy legal battle.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) admitted on Thursday that he "would like to see" President Trump's taxes, just a day after the House Ways and Means Committee requested six years worth of the President's tax returns from the IRS.
It's nearly as if President Trump installed William Barr at the DOJ to protect him from the Mueller investigation and installed Michael Desmond at the IRS to protect him from Democrats trying to obtain his tax returns.
"My actions reflect an abiding reverence for our democracy and our institutions, and are in no way based on emotion of the moment or partisanship", he said.
At an event at the White House on Wednesday after Neal issued his request, Trump repeated the same explanation. "I'll do one or the other, and probably settle for the tariffs", Trump said at the White House.
"Until such time as I am not under audit I would not be inclined" to release them, he added.
Trump was dismissive of the request but continued to make the audit argument in comments to reporters during a meeting with US military leaders on Wednesday. "We're not interested in playing a bunch of political games like the Democrats in Congress clearly want to spend their time doing".More news: Smollett refuses to reimburse Chicago for investigation, city set to sue
"We commend Chairman Neal for finally taking the necessary action to conduct effective oversight of President Trump and his administration", said Tax March executive director Maura Quint.
"There is nothing we can ever give to the Democrats that will make them happy", Trump tweeted.
More broadly, Neal's request shows how Democrats are turning up the heat on their oversight probes of the President since Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr last month.
Mr. Neal's office didn't respond to a question about when that might have been, and a Roll Call survey in 2017 found no record of a previous release of his tax returns. During his presidential campaign, Trump said he would release his tax returns once an IRS audit was completed, but he reneged on that promise and has never released them.
Democrats are using a near-century old, Teapot Dome-era anti-corruption measure that allows Congress to request the tax returns of any filer to order the IRS to produce the president's returns.
Neil also made requests of DTTM Operations LLC and DTTM Operations Managing Member Corp, which own a number of other Trump LLCs.
No word yet on whether the IRS will comply with the request. "I think all things being equal, I would like to see the President's taxes, I wouldn't be adverse to turning over my taxes, I don't have anything to hide".