Donald Trump said he will not turn over his tax returns as long as they are under audit, setting up a potential fight with Democrats who are expected to demand the documents once they assume the majority in the House.
At a press conference at the White House, Trump was asked if he would comply with expected Democratic requests for his tax returns.
“Look, as I’ve told you they’re under audit. They’re extremely complex. People wouldn’t understand them,” Trump said the morning after his party lost the House majority.
“They’re done by among the biggest and best law firms in the country, same thing with the accounting firms. The accountants are very, very large power firms from the standpoint of respect, highly respected. Big firms,” he said.
“But people don’t understand tax returns.”
Trump is the first president in decades to not release his tax returns.
There is no IRS regulation that would prevent Trump from making the returns public if he wanted to.
Democrats are expected to demand Trump’s tax returns at the start of the next session of Congress after the party won back the House majority in Tuesday’s midterms.
Democrats and critics of the president have suggested that Trump’s tax returns could reveal potential conflicts of interest, and liberal groups have urged Democratic lawmakers to demand the president’s filings should they regain control of the House.
Under federal tax law, the chairmen of congressional tax committees can request tax returns from the Treasury Department and review them in a closed session before voting to make all or parts of the returns public.
While Trump may protest such a request, the decision would ultimately fall to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Asked by @jonkarl whether he would block Democratic attempts to go after his tax returns, Pres. Trump repeats claim that his tax returns are under "continuous audit."
— ABC News (@ABC) November 7, 2018