Don Trump’s taxes have been in dispute for years. He is the first president since Reagan … more than thirty years ago … to refuse to make public his most recent tax returns. His excuses have been many, none of them valid. First, he said we weren’t smart enough to understand them, for their complexity was far beyond our ability to comprehend. He fails to remember that among “we” are tax lawyers, accountants, and other professionals who would far better understand his returns than he himself does. Then he said that nobody cared … another blatant lie. His next excuse was that he was being audited, but that argument was struck down when the IRS said that while it was true he was under audit, there was no reason that should stop him from releasing his tax returns.
Then, in light of the fact that he refused to divest himself of certain business holdings once he held public office, coupled with the fact that there appears to be a connection between his businesses and certain Russians, the House Ways and Means Committee first requested, then subpoenaed the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service in order to obtain Trump’s tax returns. And again, ran into a brick wall when Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, flat out refused to honour the subpoena, saying that in his opinion it had no legitimate purpose.
A week later, New York State lawmakers approved a bill that would authorize state tax officials to release the president’s state returns to any one of three congressional committees. The state returns would include much, though not all, of the same information in the federal returns, and is readily available, whereas obtaining the federal returns could be a years-long process.
Representative Richard Neal from Massachusetts is Chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, and as such is the person who would need to ask the state of New York for copies of the returns. And … he is refusing. Between this, and Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to open an impeachment investigation, I am beginning to wonder if the democrats are in cahoots with the republicans!!!
Neal claims he fears that getting the state returns would bolster Trump administration arguments that Congress is on a political fishing expedition — and not, as Neal has claimed, overseeing the Internal Revenue Service’s annual audits of the president. While I have urged caution in a number of areas up to this point, my patience has worn thin … no wait … make that, my patience has worn OUT! I agree with Representative Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee when she says …
“Whatever it takes to get it — I’m for it. I believe that the president of the United States should follow the tradition of other presidents and reveal his tax returns.”
Every single day that Donald Trump remains in office he causes more damage to this nation. He is wasting precious tax dollars on things like taking his entire family on a trip to the UK, when only he and Melania were invited. His policies and ‘executive orders’ have wreaked havoc on our southern border where thus far six children have died while in ‘protective’ custody and thousands remain separated from their parents. He has caused serious rifts between the U.S. and its allies by being offensive to their leaders and attempting to bully them into acting as he wishes. He has placed people in high-ranking cabinet positions who are less qualified for their jobs than I am. He has committed to sending $8 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, a nation whose crown prince ordered the brutal murder of one of our own journalists. He has imposed tariffs on imports from just about every nation we trade with … tariffs that cost We, The People of this nation. And the list goes on.
On a slightly more positive note …
On May 21st, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed former campaign press secretary Hope Hicks, and former White House lawyer Annie Donaldson for documents related to allegations that Trump obstructed justice. On June 4th, Trump directed the two women to defy the subpoena. Both are now private citizens and are not subject to orders given by Trump. Hope Hicks has, it is reported, turned over some of the documents requested, those relating to Trump’s campaign.
It is but a drop in the bucket, for Ms. Hicks’ attorney Robert Trout said in a letter to committee chairman Jerry Nadler that Hicks would not hand over documents related to Trump’s time in the White House and his presidential transition period because administration attorneys believe the papers may be subject to a claim of executive privilege by Trump. Since when does the president of this nation have the right to claim “executive privilege” in order to cover up his own wrongdoing? Did we learn nothing from Watergate?
I keep hoping that somehow, somewhere there is a person whose conscience calls on him or her to do the right thing, to put the well-being of the nation first, to tell what he or she knows. I had hoped that person would be Robert Mueller, then I hoped it would be Don McGahn, but Mueller has chosen to err on the side of caution, and McGahn has shown his feathers.
All the games being played, all the political posturing, is going to come with a high price tag. It already has, but it gets higher for every day he is allowed to rule as a king. It seems to me that all the attempts to hide documents and threaten witnesses constitutes obstruction of justice in and of itself. It’s time for Congress to get tough, for we can no longer afford to sit on our hands and wait for just the right moment.