Obtaining President Donald Trump's tax returns is vital because Americans need to know if his private interests have influenced his decisions while in office, Rep. Dan Kildee said Thursday, after the House Ways and Means Committee requested that the IRS turn over the president's returns covering the past six years.
"This is a promise he made as he was running for president, assuring the American people he will be transparent, as almost a half a century of presidents and candidates have been," the Michigan Democrat and committee member told CNN's "New Day." "Now he's completely oblique when it comes to his personal interests."
However, Kildee said he doesn't think "we should get ahead of ourselves" when it comes to releasing Trump's returns publicly, as it's not known what's in them.
"At this point in time, we would have no intent of releasing them," said Kildee. "Obviously the information that we'll glean will make it clear whether additional steps are necessary."
Trump has refused for some time to release his returns, saying that they are under audit, but Kildee said that the U.S. tax code allows the Ways and Means Committee chairman to seek tax returns from taxpayers if there is a public interest and public policy purpose, and "there very much is one in this case."
He acknowledged that Trump has a right to privacy, but still, he "broke near a half-century of tradition" when he didn't release the returns, said Kildee.
The committee's request did not go to Trump, but to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, who is sworn to uphold the tax code, he added.
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