Democrats and GOP square off over Trump's tax returns

Democrats and GOP square off over Trump's tax returns

But by the time the gavel fell in the Ways and Means hearing room, the Democrats had already made clear they were undeterred.

As House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, said on Wednesday, "To say that we can't do [oversight] is to say that we shouldn't do our constitutional duty". The law says the Treasury chief "shall furnish" the requested information to the members of the Ways and Means Committee for them to examine behind closed doors. But the discussion surrounding presidential disclosure will no doubt cast the spotlight directly on Trump.

Although Trump warned Congress in his State of the Union on Tuesday that "there can not be war and investigation" if lawmakers want 'peace and legislation, ' House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff declared Wednesday that Democrats are not intimidated.

While tax experts say that Congress has the power to obtain Trump's returns, there's an open question over whether it can then publicly release them without the president's consent.

Those probes would add to the legal and political burden facing the president from Mueller's probe into possible collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russian Federation, and a Justice Department investigation in NY into various activities of the campaign and Trump Organization, his umbrella company.

"I am concerned that it may be completely broken", said Thorndike, adding "Then we can't really rely on a tradition to get the job done".

The Ways & Means Committee is holding its first hearing on presidential tax returns on Thursday. "This isn't about the tax returns of the presidents and vice-presidents but about making sure Congress does not abuse its authority". During his campaign, and in two years as president, he has declined to show the public his tax documents.

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Schiff has been a frequent target of Trump, who has referred to him on Twitter as "Schitt" and "Little Adam Schitt". Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin could ask the Democrats to re-submit any request with a stronger argument.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, has said that Democrats must proceed with caution, noting the need to be precise in crafting the request of the Treasury Department. "How do we protect our borders and yet do it in a way that respects our values as Americans; that we treat people humanely, particularly asylum seekers, people who are coming here?"

Members of both parties have expressed opposition to Trump bypassing Congress by declaring a national emergency at the border, a move that would be certain to produce lawsuits that could block the money. The organization funded by billionaire investor and Democratic activist Tom Steyer has run a TV ad in Neal's home district calling on him to subpoena Trump's tax records, as a prelude to starting impeachment proceedings.

Republicans accused the Democrats of using powers in the tax law to mount a political witch hunt for Trump's tax returns. The provision allows the committee to review the tax information privately, but it would have to vote to disclose any return information or findings to the public. A full-blown fight over the matter could derail Neal's other priorities, such as reducing prescription drug prices, overhauling retirement plans and rolling back some of the Republican tax cuts. As the campaign progressed, he dialed back that pledge, citing ongoing IRS audits that would complicate any attempt to make them public.

Trump wants enough bed space to house an average daily population of 52,000 migrant detainees; House Democrats want to cut that to 35,520 for the rest of the fiscal year ending September 30, phasing out family detention completely by then.

Two people familiar with the talks said the understanding among Republicans is that the deal would offer around $2 billion for border barriers.

Kevin Brady of Texas, the Ways and Means panel's top Republican, said, "Our view is that this isn't about whether the president should release his tax returns or not". "Every single American has the right to privacy".

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