On Sunday, White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered a new defense for why President Donald Trump shouldn’t release his taxes: it would apparently put every American at risk.
Speaking with host Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday, Sanders claimed that congressional requests to release Trump’s taxes — something American presidents have been doing for decades — would lead to a “dangerous, dangerous road” for all Americans.
The request “puts every American who’s filled out tax forms in the past… in jeopardy,” Sanders said. “If they can single out one they can single out everybody”.
Sanders did not explain why requesting the president’s taxes would put all Americans “in jeopardy.” Congress has the right to request anyone’s federally-filed tax return, but must provide a compelling justification do to so. They cannot unilaterally demand your tax return out of the blue.
The outburst follows the latest congressional request for Trump’s taxes. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), chair of the House Oversight Committee, announced last week that he intends to issue a subpoena pertaining to Trump’s taxes on Monday.
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Sanders, who claimed that the request was simply “political partisanship,” also added that the request for Trump’s taxes comes from congressional representatives who are not “smart enough to look through the thousands of pages I’m guessing President Trump’s taxes would be.”
“My guess is most of them don’t do their own taxes,” Sanders added, claiming that Trump’s taxes are still being audited. “And I certainly don’t trust them to look through the decades of success the president has had and determine anything.”
Trump’s taxes would, of course, shine unprecedented light on the president’s past financial dealings. Not only would they highlight any financial malfeasance — such as the tax fraud prior documents indicate the Trump family engaged in — but they would also help clarify Trump’s total net worth, which the president has routinely inflated.
Even more importantly, the tax information would highlight any of Trump’s foreign financial entanglements, including potential debts to foreign actors or governments. They would also clarify whether Trump and the Trump Organization have engaged in any new foreign business during Trump’s presidency, such as in places like the Dominican Republic.
The Democratic House has made obtaining Trump’s tax information one of its leading goals during this congressional session. But the White House — alongside congressional Republicans — have thus far stymied efforts, with White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney recently saying that Congress will “never” see Trump’s tax returns. Given Cummings’ announcement that he would subpoena at least ten years of Trump’s financial records, the tussle over Trump’s tax information is far from over.