Earlier this week House Ways and Means Committee chair Richard Neal, a Democrat, submitted a letter to the IRS requesting access to President Donald Trump’s tax returns.
In defense of this unprecedented move — one which some allege represents an abuse of power — he claimed that he simply wants to ensure that the IRS is auditing taxpayers correctly.
Speaking Friday on CNN about the committee chair’s dubious claim, Republican Sen. John Kennedy bluntly accused Neal of being a partisan hack and moron.
“Chairman Neal, powerful man, head of Ways and Means, I know he’s an adult, but I don’t think he’s like a real adult,” Kennedy said to CNN’s Jake Tapper. He says that he needs Trump’s tax returns. He says it’s policy, not politics. He has said — I think on CNN — that the reason he needs them is that he needs to determine how well the IRS is auditing taxpayers.”
“I can’t believe he really thinks the American people are going to fall for that. It must really suck to be that dumb,” the Louisiana congressman added in utter exasperation.
Kennedy’s exasperation stemmed from his fervent conviction that, despite the committee chair’s seemingly sensible rhetoric, his real motivation appears to be entirely political.
“The IRS has a policy of auditing the tax returns of all sitting presidents and vice-presidents, yet little is known about the effectiveness of this program,” Neal had said in a statement after he filed his request with the IRS on Wednesday. “On behalf of the American people, the Ways and Means Committee must determine if that policy is being followed, and, if so, whether these audits are conducted fully and appropriately. In order to fairly make that determination, we must obtain President Trump’s tax returns and review whether the IRS is carrying out its responsibilities.”
“The Committee has a duty to examine whether Congressional action may be needed to require such audits, and to oversee that they are conducted properly.”
While that perhaps sounds fair, the Louisiana senator doesn’t buy any of it.
— Rep. Richard Neal (@RepRichardNeal) April 3, 2019
“This is very simple: Mr. Neal wants to screw with the president,” Kennedy explained to Tapper. “He doesn’t think the president ought to be president. Well, you know, words can’t express how much I don’t care. It’s not Mr. Neal’s call. The American people have chosen Donald Trump as president.”
“If you don’t like it, in two years you can vote against him. In the meantime, don’t screw with him. Let him try to be president.”
While the senator’s accusation may sound far-fetched, the evidence does seem to show a concerted effort by Democrats en masse to roll back the results of the 2016 presidential election.
From endlessly ballyhooing the Russian collusion delusion conspiracy theory to trying to eliminate the Electoral College and even referring to failed Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as the “real president,” the left has shown an unwillingness to accept reality.
Newt Gingrich absolutely shreds Mueller probe: It’s not an investigation, it’s a ‘Trump destruction project’ https://t.co/ASsb6b4hsK
— DEPLORABLE MTM 👠 (@mtma21) December 11, 2018
“Now Mr. Neal is not in good faith. Nobody believes he’s in good faith. This is wildly dishonest. This is thoroughly in bad faith, and I don’t blame the president for pushing back,” Kennedy continued.
“There’s no requirement that he turn over his taxes. … And Trump said, ‘I’m not going to turn over my taxes; they’re being audited.’ The American people knew that when they voted for him or didn’t vote for him. He won the election, and Mr. Neal … he’s not fooling anybody. He just wants to get these taxes to screw with the president. You can vote against him, but enough is enough.”
What’s unclear is whether the House Ways and Means Committee’s efforts to obtain the president’s tax returns will be successful. On Friday the president’s personal attorney, William S. Consovoy, reportedly told the Treasury Department to not comply with Neal’s request.
“His request is a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and speech,” Consovoy wrote in a publicly released letter to the Treasury. “Chairman Neal wants the President’s tax returns and return information because his party recently gained control of the House, the President 1s their political opponent, and they want to use the information to damage him politically.”
Given the “gross abuse of power” this represents, the Treasury “should refrain from divulging the requested information until it receives a formal legal opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel,” he added. “Caution and deliberation are essential to ensure that the Treasury Department does not erode the constitutional separation of powers Page 4 of 4 or the Tax Cede’s ‘core purpose of protecting taxpayer privacy.'”
The full letter may be seen below:
The president has for his part reiterated to the media that he’s under audit.
“We’re under audit despite what people said and we’re working that out. I’m always under audit it seems, but I’ve been under audit for many years because the numbers are big, and I guess when you have a name, you are audited. But until such time as I’m not under audit, I would not be inclined to do that,” he said Wednesday in response to being asked whether he’d voluntarily release his tax returns.
This is the exact same stance he’s maintained since the 2016 presidential election.
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