Trump says he's not inclined to provide tax info

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez D-N.Y. listens to questions as Michael Cohen President Donald Trump's former lawyer testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Capitol Hill Wednesday Feb. 27 2019 in Washington. (AP

He also requested the tax returns of eight of Mr Trump's business entities, a nod to escalating pressure from liberals in the caucus who have argued that Mr Trump's personal returns wouldn't sufficiently paint a picture of the president's financial history.

House Democrats have sent their long-anticipated request to the Internal Revenue Service for President Donald Trump's tax returns, the opening salvo in what could prove an explosive battle between Democrats and the Trump administration over the president's personal finances that is expected to wind up in the courts.

Trump was dismissive of the request but continued to make the audit argument in comments to reporters during a meeting with USA military leaders on Wednesday. Most presidents since Richard Nixon have voluntarily released their tax returns over the past 40 years, which is not required by law.

Mr Neal gave the agency until April 10 to comply.

He added it's within the "purview" of the chair of the Ways and Means Committee to request the tax returns, but said he thinks he has an "ulterior motive". "We're working that out".

"I've been under audit for many years because the numbers are big, and I guess when you have a name, you're audited", Trump told reporters at the White House.

In a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, Neal said the returns are necessary for Congress to determine whether the IRS is properly enforcing tax laws "in a fair and impartial manner".

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Democrats are seeking Trump's tax returns from 2013 to 2018.

"Weaponizing our nation's tax code by targeting political foes sets a unsafe precedent and weakens Americans privacy right", he wrote.

Trump broke with precedent when he refused as a presidential candidate, and then when elected, to release his tax returns, something every president since Richard M. Nixon has done.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of SC said Thursday that "everybody" running for president in 2020 should publicly release their tax returns - President Donald Trump included. I have big returns, as you know, and I have everything all approved and very handsome.

Congressman Dan Kildee, a Ways and Means Committee Democrat, said there was "no question" the panel has legal authority to gain access to Trump's records.

Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat from New Jersey, announced at the beginning of March that Mr Neal was going to request Mr Trump's tax returns in two weeks only to backtrack hours later to clarify it was only his opinion, not official guidance.

During gaggle with reporters Thursday morning, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the administration isn't interested in playing political games with Democrats over the issue. They would obviously like to find some dirt in Trump's tax returns and air it out in the media to gain an advantage in the next elections.

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