Subpoenas issued for Trump tax returns

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-48237313

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal talking to reportersImage copyright
Reuters

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Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said he did not “take this step lightly”

The chairman of a US Congressional committee has issued subpoenas for President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

Richard Neal said in a statement he did not “take this step lightly”, but believed it gave the committee “the best opportunity” to get the documents.

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have until 17:00 (21:00 GMT) on 17 May to hand over six years of records.

The White House has so far refused requests to hand over the information.

Unlike previous presidents, Mr Trump has refused to disclose his tax details.

He has repeatedly said he is under audit by the IRS and so cannot release them – although the IRS says an audit would not stop the release of the information.

Democrats are investigating Mr Trump’s business interests and possible conflicts of interests while he is president, as well as his past financial dealings.

A New York Times article on Wednesday said Mr Trump’s businesses lost over $1bn between 1985 and 1994.

The president said he made the losses “for tax purposes”, and attacked the newspaper for what he called “a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job”.

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Getty Images

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President Trump’s aides complain of constant harassment

Mr Trump’s lawyer William Consovoy previously called the request for tax returns “harassment” and said the Treasury should not comply.

And Republican congressman Kevin Brady – member of the same Ways and Means Committee headed by Mr Neal – sent his chairman a letter on Friday asking him not to issue subpoenas.

Mr Brady argued it would be an “attempt to weaponise the tax code and use Congress’s legitimate oversight authority for political gain”.

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