President Donald Trump has the same privacy rights as anyone else, but his argument that his income tax returns remain under audit "would not be a defense" against a House Ways and Means Committee request for the documents covering the past six years, Judge Andrew Napolitano said Thursday.
"An audit is private, so if he's under audit he knows it, and the people doing the audit know it," the Fox News senior junior analyst said on "Fox and Friends." "The public doesn't know it. That would not be a defense. I'm sure this is going to end up in the court because [Treasury Secretary Steven] Mnuchin is not going to release it voluntarily, even though the statute says he must."
Napolitano said the committee is using an "obscure" federal statute that allows chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and/or the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee to ask for anyone's tax returns, and says the secretary of the Treasury, which the Internal Revenue Service falls under, must furnish them.
The returns must be kept secret, said Napolitano, but there are ways around that.
"If these tax returns go to the House Ways and Means Committee and any member of Congress gets them, that member of Congress can go to the floor of the House of Representatives and the tax returns of the president of the United States become public," said Napolitano.
Napolitano added that the law has been in effect for about 60 years, but has never been used to see any president's tax returns before Trump's.
"If they can do this to the president, they can do this to anybody," he said. "Are anybody's rights safe anymore?"
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