With the “collusion” and “obstruction” narratives largely derailed since Attorney General William Barr issued his summary of the special counsel’s final report, Democrats have been putting more focus on another years-long line of attack on President Trump: his tax returns. On Saturday, Democratic Rep. Richard Neal, chair of the Democrat-controlled House Ways and Means Committee, sent a letter to the IRS giving an April 23 deadline for the production of Trump’s thus-far-evasive returns. But White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders thinks that’s problematic for a few big reasons.
“I don’t think Congress — particularly not this group of congressmen and women — are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages I would assume that President Trump’s taxes will be,” Sanders told Fox News Sunday (partial transcript via RCP). Along with doubting their intelligence, Sanders warned the Democrats against going down a “dangerous road” based on pure “political partisanship” that would potentially put any tax-paying citizen at risk.
Asked by host Chris Wallace if Trump will “demand that the IRS not turn over his tax returns” or allow for “whatever the IRS decided,” Sanders said, “The president has been clear from the beginning: As long as his taxes are under audit, he’s not going to release them. He’s also filled out hundreds of pages and financial disclosures. “
“Will he tell the IRS not to release them though?” asked Wallace, trying to get a more direct answer.
“We’ll have to see what happens on that front,” she said. “But the president has been clear. This issue has even been litigated; we went through it in 2016. But one of the biggest things that I think people aren’t seeing is the fact that the only reason that the Oversight Committee has the ability to request someone’s taxes are for the purpose of determining policy. This has nothing to do with whether or not they’re going to determine policy. This is all about political partisanship.”
“This is a dangerous, dangerous road and frankly, Chris, I don’t think Congress — particularly not this group of congressmen and women — are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that I would assume that President Trump’s taxes will be,” she continued. “My guess is most of them don’t do their own taxes, and I certainly don’t trust them to look through the decades of success that the president has and determine anything. He has filled out hundreds of pages in a financial disclosure form.”
The move, she said, is a “disgusting overreach” that “puts every American who has filled out tax reform or tax forms in the past [at risk].”