Washington, United States | Donald Trump’s lawyers filed a plea on Wednesday to try to block the former US president’s tax returns from being sent to congressional Democrats, arguing that he was targeted for exclusively political reasons.
His lawyers asserted that “the demands are targeting President Trump because he is a Republican and a political opponent,” speaking of “retaliation” in their argument presented in federal court in Washington, DC.
Democrats, who control Congress, have been trying for years to get tax secrets from the 45th president of the United States, the first since the 1970s to consistently refuse to release his tax returns when the billionaire made his fortune an argument in his campaign.
In a potentially big step forward for Democrats, the US Department of Justice on Friday ordered the Treasury Department to “submit this information” to a House committee.
The committee, which is responsible for tax matters (“Ways and Means”), is calling for a six-year tax return before Donald Trump took office in 2017. It claims it wants to study how the US tax authorities (IRS) control presidents’ finances.
An argument that Donald Trump’s lawyers rejected.
“While Democratic members of the House of Representatives offered countless justifications for obtaining the president’s tax returns, no one at the time mentioned wanting to know how the IRS would review presidents,” they wrote.
They stressed that “the demands were specifically designed and would in fact only affect President Trump.”
The Justice Department made that argument Friday, writing that it was “possible that some congressional officials hoped that Donald Trump’s tax returns would be released just to embarrass him.”
However, these motives would not make it possible to invalidate the commission’s request, he considered, because it “clearly serves legitimate legislative objectives.”
Ahead of the November 2020 presidential election, the New York Times published a survey based on 20 years of tax data regarding the former real estate mogul and his cohort.
According to the newspaper, he only paid $750 in federal taxes in 2016 and none in ten of the past 15 years, reporting more losses than gains.
Donald Trump has denounced “false information” and confirmed that he “paid a lot of taxes” without elaborating.
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