Former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney on Monday criticized the Treasury Department for intending to turn over his tax returns to House investigators in accordance with a legal opinion from the Justice Department.
The New York Times reported last Friday that the Treasury intended to move ahead with releasing Trump’s tax returns, which could lead to their being released to the rest of Congress and possibly to the public.
“As counsel to the former President, I must comment on the Treasury Department’s intention to release Mr. Trump’s tax returns to Congress,” Ronald P. Fischetti said in a statement to the Times. “In my long career of practicing law I have never seen anything like this. This politicization and harassment of Mr. Trump is uncalled for and outrageous. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing here and I object to the release of the returns not only on behalf of my client but on behalf of all future holders of the Office of the President of the United States. Is no one safe? The Democrats are doing this in an attempt to degrade Mr. Trump and it is a disgrace. They had tried to have him removed on two prior occasions and failed.”
Fischetti added, “With respect to his tax returns, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, on a prior occasion, refused to authorize the release and ruled that the Democrats lacked a ‘legitimate legislative purpose’ and that it was politically motivated. What’s changed? This has been ongoing for years. Enough is enough.”
In a 39-page opinion, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel rejected the Trump administration’s position keeping his tax information secret, saying that the 2019 request from the House Ways and Means Committee was legitimate and could not be refused.
“The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has invoked sufficient reasons for requesting the former president’s tax information,” reads the opinion. “Treasury must furnish the information to the committee.”
Democrats hailed the news, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., saying in a statement that “the American people deserve to know the facts of his troubling conflicts of interest and undermining of our security and democracy as president.”
However, Republicans objected to the move as having the potential for misuse. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement: “if politicians in Congress can demand, and ultimately make public, the president’s private tax returns, what stops them from doing the same to others they view as a political enemy?”
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