House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed Thursday that Congress will get President Donald Trump’s income tax returns from the next Treasury secretary if Democratic nominee Joe Biden is elected to the White House in November.
“When we win this election and we have a new president of the United States in January, and we have a new secretary of the Treasury, and [House Ways and Means Committee Chairman] Richie Neal asks for the president’s [Trump’s] tax returns, then the world will see what the president has been hiding all of this time,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said at a news conference.
Trump, who is seeking reelection, has refused to release his income tax returns to the public, despite other presidents having done so for the past four-plus decades.
The Republican president currently is engaged in a last-ditch legal bid to keep the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office from obtaining his tax returns and other financial documents from Trump’s longtime accountants as part of a criminal investigation.
And he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also have fought efforts by Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., to get his returns.
The Supreme Court in early July issued split rulings in cases involving Trump’s returns and other financial records.
On the one hand, the high court ruled that Trump did not have an absolute right as president to keep his tax returns from being obtained as part of a criminal inquiry, such as the one being conducted by Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr.
But the Supreme Court said Trump could raise other legal arguments in an effort to block the subpoena that Vance had obtained for the returns from a grand jury.
However, a Manhattan federal court judge last week rejected Trump’s latest arguments opposing the subpoena in the case, where prosecutors in court filings have suggested that Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, are being eyed for possible bank and insurance fraud.
Trump is appealing that ruling.
The Supreme Court, in its favorable ruling for Trump in July, had overturned lower court decisions supporting House Democrats in their bid to obtain his tax returns and other financial documents.
The Supreme Court ordered the lower courts to more carefully consider concerns about the separation of powers when weighing whether Democrats can obtain Trump’s returns.
That ruling all but guaranteed that Neal’s lawsuit seeking Trump’s tax returns, which was not the subject of the Supreme Court ruling, would not be resolved before the November presidential election.
Mnuchin, in May 2019 refused to turn over the president’s tax records to Congress after they were were requested from the IRS by Neal in his role as Ways and Means Committee chairman.
Mnuchin told Neal that the request lacked a legitimate legislative purpose.
The Treasury’s Office of Inspector General earlier this year said Mnuchin’s rejection of the request was proper because he had followed the guidance from the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel on the question.
Pelosi’s comment on Trump’s taxes Thursday came when she was asked about criticism by Neal’s Democratic primary opponent in Massachusetts’ 1st Congressional District, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, that Neal had not been aggressive enough in seeking Trump’s returns.
“We had a window of opportunity, and Neal blew it,” Morse had said at a news conference last month.
“A real Democrat would have subpoenaed Trump’s taxes on Day 1, instead of delaying because he was more focused on cozying up to his Republican colleagues for votes on a bill to help his corporate donors.”
Pelosi on scoffed at that idea, saying, “We are at the mercy of the court,” and that “Richie Neal has been completely strong and tough-minded on this,
“He could not have done anything more.”
“In terms of dealing with the courts now, he has been strong and persistent and doing exactly what the lawyers say that we have to do in order to prevail in the court,” Pelosi said.
“We have to go through the process. … And what we’re waiting for is also some other decisions that the court has held up. The Trump courts have held up decisions.”