Jay Sekulow, President Donald Trump’s attorney, called out Democrats for what he believes is a politically motivated use of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to try and publically release the personal tax returns of the president and his businesses.
During a Sunday interview on “ABC This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, Sekulow claimed that Democrats using the IRS as a “weapon” to attack President Trump after the summary from the Mueller report revealed there was no evidence for collusion. He claimed this could set off a tit-for-tat abuse of the IRS.
President Trump's attorney Jay Sekulow says "if necessary," the fight over Trump releasing his tax returns "will be litigated."
— ABC News (@ABC) April 7, 2019
“That you can use the IRS as a political weapon, which is what is happening here is incorrect as a matter of statutory law and constitutionally. We should not be in a situation where individuals, individual tax returns are used for political purposes. And as you just said, George, what stops another party from doing the same thing.”
Stephanopoulos questioned if the president was planning to use this moment as an opportunity to go after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) or other Democrats who have yet to release their own tax documents, to which Sekulow fired back.
“No! No, he hasn’t. Congress has,” said Sekulow. “The majority party in the House has, but the president has not.”
Sekulow explained that the use of a Ways and Means hearing to extract the president’s IRS information could be met with litigation.
“This idea that you’re using a hearing, a Ways and Means hearing about IRS enforcement as a way to get to the president’s private individual and business tax returns makes no sense both constitutionally and statutorily and look, this I think is going to be, if necessary — we’re not at that point yet — if it has to be litigated, it will be litigated.”
For now, it isn’t clear what will happen next. The White House has requested that the IRS wait to turn over the documents to Congress until the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has given a legal opinion on the matter. It is up to the IRS to wait or move forward with the request.