(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—who has declined to release her own tax returns—said at her press briefing on Thursday that if President Donald Trump and his associates do not have “anything to hide,” they should not be worried about giving Congress the full unredacted Mueller report and their tax returns.
“I think they should release the report. That’s where the evidence is, the information is. Let’s see the report,” she said.
“If they don’t have anything to hide, they shouldn’t worry,” she said. “If they don’t have any concern about their taxes, they shouldn’t be worried about releasing their tax returns.”
On Wednesday, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D.-Mass.) sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig instructing him to turn over to the committee President Trump’s personnel tax returns for the years 2013 through 2018.
It also instructed the IRS commissioner to turn over to the committee the tax returns for those years of The Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, and seven Trump-related businesses.
In a statement explaining that action, Neal said his committee had a responsibility to see that “elected officials” were held accountable, including for how they complied with the tax laws.
“It is critical to ensure the accountability of our government and elected officials,” Neal said. “To maintain trust in our democracy, the American people must be assured that their government is operating properly, as laws intend.”
“Congress as a co-equal branch of government, has a duty to conduct oversight of departments and officials,” he said. “The Ways and Means Committee in particular has a responsibility to conduct oversight of our voluntary federal tax system and determine how Americans—including those elected to our highest office—are complying with those laws,” said Neal.
The committee did not ask the IRS for the tax returns of Speaker Pelosi, or Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R.-Calif.), or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) or Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.)—even though they lead the “co-equal” legislative branch of the government.
Here is the exchange Pelosi had with reporters today about the House securing the Mueller Report and President Trump’s tax returns:
Question: “On the president’s tax returns, Chairman Neal says this is a matter of policy, not politics.
Pelosi: That’s right.
Question: What is the legislative purpose to having the president’s tax returns? What law could you pass that you can’t act on now?
Pelosi: No. The law exists. The law is very clear. The law says—and I will read it to you—the law says that: ‘Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, or the chairman of the Finance or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation’--that would be either one of those other two, but, anyway—‘the secretary shall furnish’—shall, not may, should, could—‘shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request.’
And that is what he is talking about.
Now, he takes it further. He has been very thoughtful in this. And yesterday when he informed me that he was making what was imminently going to be in the press This is a policy matter. The president and the vice president are audited. That’s what happens. That audit. Congress has an oversight responsibility to see that that is happening, if it has happened, and how it has happened. And that is the policy aspect of this. But this is, again, I commend him for his thoughtfulness on the subject and how he has proceeded with it.” ….
Question: Just in the past 48 hours, your committee chairmen have subpoenaed for security clearance, have subpoenaed for--
Pelosi: They have not subpoenaed for anything. They haven’t subpoenaed for anything.
Question: Information, the House Oversight Committee—
Pelosi: No. No. They have gotten the authority to subpoena.
Question: The House Oversight Committee served Carl Kline [who served as the White House Personnel Security Director] with a subpoena for—
Pelosi: Okay, but you were listing a whole list of things.
Question: Yes, there have been a whole list of things that have happened. Yesterday the authorization of the Mueller Report subpoena, and the chairman requesting the tax returns of the president. Are you concerned that this is playing into the hands of the Republicans?
Pelosi: No, no. I’m not. I salute my chairman. They have been very thoughtful. They are evidence based in what they are doing. They are honoring the Constitution of the United States. Article 1, the legislative branch, which has oversight responsibility over the other branches of government.
Question: Do you think that Robert Mueller, the special counsel, should testify before Congress?
Pelosi: I am not going into that. I think they should release the report. That’s where the evidence is, the information is. Let’s see the report. If they don’t have anything to hide, they shouldn’t worry. If they don’t have any concern about their taxes, they shouldn’t be worried about releasing their tax returns. So, yes ma’am.