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Trump Calls The Fight To Get Tax Returns A Political Attempt To Retaliate Against Him

US President Donald Trump speaks on lowering prescription drug prices in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC.
US President Donald Trump speaks on lowering prescription drug prices in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC.

Former President Donald Trump is trying to stop his tax returns from being released to Democrats in Congress.

In a motion filed in federal court Wednesday, Trump's lawyers claim the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee's requests are not "valid oversight requests."

"The primary purpose of the requests is to obtain and expose Intervenors' information for the sake of exposure, to improperly conduct law enforcement, or some other impermissible goal — not to study federal legislation," the motion states as part of a 37-page filing. "The requests are not pertinent to legislation that is within the Committee's jurisdiction and constitutionally valid."

Trump's lawyers say the Democrat-led House committee's efforts are simply political, claiming the goal "is to expose the private tax information of one individual — President Trump — for political gain."

"The requests single out President Trump because he is a Republican and a political opponent. They were made to retaliate against President Trump because of his policy positions, his political beliefs, and his protected speech, including the positions he took during the 2016 and 2020 campaigns," the lawyers said.

The move comes days after the Justice Department said that the Treasury Department "must furnish" Trump's taxes to the committee and that it had "sufficient" legislative reasons for the information. That included "serious concerns" about how the Internal Revenue Service, which is under the Treasury Department, was conducting audits of presidents' taxes.

The Justice Department's decision was a reversal of a 2019 memo issued under the Trump administration, denying the request.

The legal filing is the latest chapter in the fight waged to get Trump to produce his tax returns. It could mean any release, if it happens, could take months, if not years.

Trump is the first major-party presidential candidate in more than 40 years to not release his taxes.

In February, Manhattan's district attorney was granted the filings as part of a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.