The possible release of former President Donald Trump‘s tax return documents, which he discussed as early as 2011, is causing members of Congress to draw lines on what this could potentially mean moving forward.
House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican, warned Tuesday that committee Chair Richard Neal and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, both Democrats, will “have nearly unlimited power to target and make public the taxes of private citizens.”
“And not just private citizens—political enemies, business and labor leaders, or even the returns of Supreme Court justices themselves,” Brady told gathered media.
The former president’s tax returns have been a source of inquiry for years before he ever ran for the presidency and won in 2016.
Less than two months before his 2020 reelection bid, a New York Times investigation was released showing that Trump paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the previous 15 years—and just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017.
Trump had mentioned or discussed his returns dating back to April 2011, when speculation ramped up about his potential presidential aspirations. Trump deflected and said he would release his tax returns when then-President Barack Obama “does his birth certificate.”
He talked about them again in 2012 and 2014. When asked in January 2016 by NBC News’ Chuck Todd about releasing his tax returns, as was then customary for decades for presidential nominees, Trump said they were “approved and very beautiful.”
The returns were brought up again at least four times prior to his victory.
Neal himself indicated he wanted them released in April 2019, to which Trump responded, “As you know, I got elected last time with this same issue.”
Democratic Representative Brendan Boyle, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, told CNN’s Ana Cabrera on Tuesday that there is more to uncover regarding Trump’s taxes based on information just in the public domain.
“It is pretty clear that Donald Trump and his organization have a major tax avoidance issue, to put it mildly,” Boyle said. “So I think there’s clearly a lot of smoke here and I’ll just leave it at that.”
When the Supreme Court ruled in November that Trump’s Internal Revenue Service records were to be handed over to the Democratic-controlled Ways and Means Committee, a leak was believed to be the only way the public would find out about their contents.
Now, with the committee seemingly on the verge of releasing the returns, Trump is accusing the committee of illegal acts.
“The highly partisan Unselect Committee is illegally leaking confidential info to anyone that will listen,” Trump wrote on Truth Social late on Sunday.
Trump even put himself in legal peril by writing Sunday on the same social platform that his tax returns won’t show the full scope of his company’s financials, experts argued.
“Trump’s lawyers have probably told him to keep his mouth shut, but he isn’t listening,” Neama Rahmani, the president of West Coast Trial Lawyers and a former federal prosecutor, told Newsweek. “These statements are especially problematic from a legal perspective because they are evidence of Trump’s knowledge and intent.”
“Trump admitting he knew he was misstating his income satisfies that knowledge and intent requirement,” he added.
Newsweek reached out to Trump representatives for comment.
The post All the Times Trump Said He Wanted His Tax Returns Released appeared first on Newsweek.