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House Democrats increase demands for Trump tax returns, setting up potential court fight

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House Democrats increase demands for Trump tax returns, setting up potential court fight

House Democrats on Saturday increased their demands for the IRS to give them access to President Trump’s tax returns — foreshadowing a lengthy legal battle in the courts

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., told the IRS that the law gives Congress a right to the six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns, and set a deadline for the agency to respond by April 23.

TRUMP LAWYER CALLS ON IRS TO REJECT DEM DEMAND FOR TAX RETURNS, SAYS IT WOULD SET ‘DANGEROUS PRECEDENT’

Neal told IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig that if he does not respond to his letter, Neal will interpret that as denying the request, setting the stage for a potential court battle.

The Treasury Department missed an April 10 deadline last week set by Democrats to deliver the tax returns, and Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the department hadn’t decided whether to comply with the request.

“It is not the proper function of the IRS, Treasury, or Justice to question or second guess the motivations of the Committee or its reasonable determinations regarding its need for the requested tax returns or return information,” Neal wrote.

The letter marks the latest in a yearslong effort by Democrats to get access to Trump’s financial documents. Neal asked for Trump’s personal and business returns from 2013-18. Democrats say it is within their mandate of congressional oversight, but the unprecedented move has been opposed by Republicans.

AOC REMINDS TRUMP IN TWEET ABOUT TAX RETURN REQUEST: ‘WE DIDN’T ASK YOU’

Trump has said repeatedly throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and his presidency that he can’t make public his tax returns because he is under audit.

A lawyer for Trump said in a letter last week that the efforts are an attempt to harass a political opponent and that it would set a “dangerous precedent” for the agency to turn them over.

“For good reason, it would be a gross abuse of power for the majority to use tax returns as a weapon to attack, harass, and intimidate their political opponents. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, the ensuing tit-for-tat will do lasting damage to our nation,” William S. Consovoy said in a letter to the Treasury’s general counsel.

In his letter, Consovoy said that Neal “cannot legally request” the information as the tax code guards taxpayer privacy with the exception of certain conditions — which he says are not met.

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“Even if Ways and Means had a legitimate committee purpose for requesting the President’s tax returns and return information, that purpose is not driving Chairman Neal’s request,” he wrote.

“His request is a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and speech,” he added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Politics

Trump sues to block Democrats’ subpoena for financial information

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Republican convention set for August 2020 in Charlotte

Lawyers for President Trump on Monday sued to block a subpoena issued by members of Congress that sought the business magnate’s financial records.

The complaint named Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Peter Kenny, the chief investigative counsel of the House committee, as its plaintiffs.

“We will not allow Congressional Presidential harassment to go unanswered,” said Jay Sekulow, counsel to the president.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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Congressman Moulton enters Democratic 2020 presidential race

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Congressman Moulton enters Democratic 2020 presidential race

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Seth Moulton entered the 2020 Democratic presidential race on Monday as a long-shot contender in a contest that now includes almost 20 candidates.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) speaks at a Merrimack County Democrats Summer Social at the Swett home in Bow, New Hampshire, U.S., July 28, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

A 40-year-old Iraq War veteran who represents a district in Massachusetts, Moulton enters the race as an underdog, with little national name recognition and a shorter track record than some rivals who have spent years in the U.S. Senate or as state governors.

Moulton has built a political career by challenging the party’s establishment. He entered Congress in 2015 after winning a Democratic primary challenge against John Tierney, who had held the seat for 18 years.

After Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, Moulton helped organize opposition to Representative Nancy Pelosi’s bid to again become Speaker of the House.

He ended his opposition to Pelosi with a statement saying: “Tough conversations make us stronger, not weaker, and we need to keep having them if we’re going to deliver on the change that we’ve promised the American people.”

In a YouTube video announcing his presidential candidacy, he said: “Decades of division and corruption have broken our democracy and robbed Americans of their voice.”

“While our country marches forward, Washington is anchored in the past,” he said.

In the video, Moulton said he wants to tackle climate change and grow the U.S. economy by promoting green jobs as well as high tech and advanced manufacturing.

Moulton served in the Marines from 2001 to 2008. During his 2014 congressional bid, he became a vocal critic of the Iraq War in which he served, saying no more troops should be deployed to the country.

He has advocated stricter gun laws, saying military-style weapons should not be owned by civilians.

Moulton supports the legalization of marijuana and told Boston public radio station WGBH in 2016 that he had smoked pot while in college.

He graduated from Harvard University with an undergraduate degree in physics in 2001 and returned to receive a master’s degree in business and public policy in 2011.

For a graphic of the 2020 presidential candidates, see: tmsnrt.rs/2Ff62ZC

Reporting by Ginger Gibson; additional reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Jonathan Oatis, Kirsten Donovan and David Gregorio

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Trump sues to block subpoena for financial information

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Trump sues to block subpoena for financial information

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One as they travel to Florida for Easter weekend, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Al Drago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday sued to block a subpoena issued by the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Oversight Committee that sought information about his and his businesses’ finances.

“Chairman Cummings’ subpoena is invalid and unenforceable because it has no legitimate legislative purpose,” lawyers for Trump and the Trump Organization said in court filing.

Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Tim Ahmann

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