It is an attempt to solve one of the most exciting and enduring mysteries in Trump's 2016 campaign and his presidency – what is it in the president's invisible economic and business life that he does not want the Americans to see?
The historic move officially announced by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal on Wednesday is surely releasing a legal blow to narrowing Trump's most guarded secrets that could drag on for months or even years while designed the terrain in 2020 elections.
The confrontation will in the broadest sense determine to what extent Congress has the power to investigate the executive and enforce a long-sighted norm – the party nominated and the Presidents release their return to the public. [1
The request represents a remarkable moment and another monument to the unconventional nature of the Trump era, since no congress has previously attempted such a challenge – simply because no president in recent times has resisted such a fundamental test of transparency.
Neal, the only Democrat on Capitol Hill with the power to take such action, uses a lesser-known IRS by requesting six-year Trump's personal returns and also wants records from eight of the President's business units. His request is narrowly targeted and rooted in a legal technique.
But supporters of the drive to clarify Trump's taxes claim that it is crucial for Congress to determine whether Trump has conflicts of interest bearing his official duties and see if he receives payments from foreign states contrary to the constitutional clause. .
Democrats have also justified an effort to open Trump's return as a way of examining how much he and his businesses – from which he is not wholly disposed of – benefited from the massive GOP tax reform law
. Trump has also been accused, especially by his former lawyer Michael Cohen, of both deflating and estimating the value of his property and assets in insurance claims and on loan applications – a practice where tax returns could shed light.
& # 39; Within our … rights & # 39;
Neal, facing increasing pressure from liberal activists to accelerate a careful process of requesting returns, insisted that his movement was about "politics not politics" in a letter to the IRS.
"I am confident that we are within our legitimate legislative, judicial and supervisory rights," said Neal, a 16-year-old congressman who is not known outside his home state of Massachusetts or the power halls of Capitol Hill, said in a statement.
Neal, 70, will now cast his relative turmoil and become one of the top political generals in the democratic fight against Trump – and must accept all the vitriol, attacks and mockery that accompanies the president.
Although he insisted that his movement was not political, it would inevitably be seen in the context of an extended use of democratic muscles after the party's capture of Parliament in November.
Just this week, House Committee chairmen have filed s objections to demand full release of Robert Mueller's Russia report and to investigate allegations of abuse in the White House's handling of top secret security clearance.
Neal's intervention came less than two weeks after Mueller completed his investigation and a summary of the Attorney General William Barr said the Special Adviser did not state that there was cooperation between Trump's team and Russia's electoral competition scheme or determine whether the president hindered justice.
Trump drew the democratic request for his taxes on Wednesday evening, using similar phraseology as when he was asked during the campaign of his treasures.
Asked if he would comply with the democratic request, Trump said that "until I am not under review, I would not be inclined to do so."
Another unfair investigation?
Republicans are confident to claim that the request for Trump's taxes is yet another example of unreasonable control of democrats who are frustrated with evidence that Mueller's report will not stupid Trump's presidency. One reason why the request appears to be relatively narrow – for returns between 2013 and 2018 – might be to limit the search to the period immediately before and during Trump's political career and write off accusations that the Democrats are embarking on an illegal fishing expedition.
Drama threatens to pull in some of the key members of the Trump administration – including Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin.
Mnuchin said at a congressional hearing in March that he would "comply with the law" if he was asked to release Trump's return – however, the final call also suggested being with the Internal Revenue Service Commissioner.
It is therefore important that Neal's request was filed with the IRS and not Treasury.
It is certain that the president would see any decision by Mnuchin to get involved and observe Neal's request as a fluttering personal fraud.
Neal's gambit now sets Charles Rettig, the current IRS commissioner ions, nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate in a delicate political position.
It is certain that the administration will take steps to challenge the democratic interpretation of the law on which the request is based. Such a scenario could see that the Way and Means Committee issued a summons after Neal's April 10 deadline and the release of a complicated legal duel.
The battle could become an annual fever, working its way through the court system and even reaching the Supreme Court and the conservative majority recently rebuilt by Trump.
The committee spent weeks preparing its step in the hope of preparing the most complete case for the right to come.
Neal claimed that he should see Trump's return for proper consideration of the IRS & # 39; s practice of auditing presidents.
"Under the Internal Revenue Manual, individual income statements of a president are subject to mandatory investigation, but this practice is IRS policy and not codified in federal tax law, Neal wrote in a letter to the IRS.
" It is necessary for the committee to determine the scope of such a study and whether it contains a review of underlying business activities to be reported on the individual income statement. "
Trump has long considered the investigation of his complex and difficult to impose personal finances as a red line that does not should be crossed.
In addition to Trump's personal records, Neal requested information from the President's business units, including Bedminster Golf Course LLC, as well as DJT Holdings LLC, DJT Holdings Managing Member LLC, DTTM Operations LLC, DTTM Operations Managing Member Cor, LFB Acquisition Member Corp, and LFB Acquisition LLC.
Neal's request is specific and below that portion of the IRS code that he uses only he and not others The chairmen of house committees can see the return.
It would require a vote in committee to release such documents to the public if they were ultimately handed over.