President Donald J. Trump and President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation hold a working lunch | July 16, 2018. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
Writing in Politico, University of Virginia law and taxation professor George K. Yin explores how a single Republican senator could initiate an investigation into President Donald Trump’s tax returns to shed light on what, if anything, therein explains his extraordinary deference to Russia.
For the past two years, Trump has refused to release his tax returns, breaking with decades of precedent. In July, he was widely denounced by lawmakers, including many in his own party, for accepting Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin’s denials of election interference, a conclusion at odds with the findings of American intelligence agencies.
The late GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona said “no prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”
“The House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Joint Committee on Taxation have the right to obtain from the IRS any person’s tax returns — including the president’s — without his consent and to conduct an investigation. If there is a legitimate purpose, the committees may then release the tax information to the Congress for potential disclosure to the public,” Yin wrote.
Republicans hold a one-vote majority on the Senate Finance Committee, meaning a single GOP Senator could get the ball rolling.
“If Trump does have a clear connection to Russians — if he owes them money, or if he has business partnerships with Putin allies — the returns may provide useful clues and would certainly be a worthwhile place to look,” wrote Yin, who was also a former chief of staff of the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.
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