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THE BIG DEAL—Dems mark Trump tax returns as key part of agenda: House Democrats want to get their hands on President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Obama: ‘I’d never forgive’ Trump for ‘birther’ conspiracy Judge blocks Keystone XL pipeline Pelosi: Acting attorney general ‘should not be there’ MORE’s tax returns, and plan to make the issue a key part of their agenda upon taking the majority next year.
Democrats were frustrated during the 2016 presidential race when Trump broke with decades of precedent and refused to make his returns public. Their interest in getting their eyes on his returns has only grown during Trump’s first two years in office.
A provision in the federal tax code gives the chairs of the congressional panels with jurisdiction on tax policy the ability to request tax returns from the Treasury Department.
That means the Democratic chair of the House Ways and Means Committee will have the authority in January to demand Trump’s tax returns. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda tells us what to expect here.
The battle: While Democrats and a number of tax experts say that Treasury has little ability under the statute to refuse to provide the Ways and Means Committee with the returns, they also expect the Trump administration to slow-walk or turn down their request. That could lead to a legal fight that eventually makes its way to the Supreme Court.
LEADING THE DAY
Waters defends planned probe of Trump finances after GOP backlash: Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersOn The Money: Waters will soon wield gavel in feud with White House | McHenry announces bid for Financial Services ranking member | Fed keeps rates steady in November Republican McHenry announces bid for Financial Services ranking member Voters split on if House Dems should begin Trump impeachment proceedings, poll finds MORE (D-Calif.) defended plans from House Democrats to investigate President Trump’s personal finances as Republicans warn of steep consequences if they move forward.
Waters is in line to chair the House Financial Services Committee in 2019, giving her oversight of banks and subpoena power to conduct investigations relevant to the panel’s mandate.
She told The Hill in a phone interview Thursday night that a planned probe of the president’s relationship with Deutsche Bank should be considered “ordinary” oversight work for the panel.
“We think it is improper for anybody to be talking about retaliation,” Waters said. I’ve got more from my interview with Waters right here.
The goal: Waters has pledged to ramp up Democratic efforts to probe Trump and his family’s relationship with Deutsche Bank, which has been penalized by the Justice Department for laundering money from Russia.
Financial Services panel Democrats spent the past two years requesting documents from the Treasury Department and Deutsche Bank that could reveal Trump’s potential ties to Russian nationals.
“Deutsche Bank is key to understanding the relationship between the president and members of the president’s family and money laundering and all of that,” Waters said. “We hope that we can move forward in a responsible way.
The backlash: Trump and fellow Republicans, have blasted Waters for eyeing the president’s finances.
Trump said Wednesday that he would not work with Democrats on bipartisan goals like infrastructure funding if they subpoenaed his financial records — including his tax returns — and would ask the GOP-held Senate to investigate the opposition party.
Rep. Patrick McHenryPatrick Timothy McHenryOn The Money: Waters will soon wield gavel in feud with White House | McHenry announces bid for Financial Services ranking member | Fed keeps rates steady in November Republican McHenry announces bid for Financial Services ranking member Conservative groups call for new slate of House GOP leaders MORE (R-N.C.), who’s poised to lead Republicans on the Financial Services panel, also warned Waters on Thursday that he’d fight Democratic efforts to use the committee “as the launch pad for endless, partisan investigations.”
Reports: Trump mulls replacing Commerce chief Ross by end of year: President Trump is considering replacing Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossGroup files motion to halt addition of citizenship question to 2020 census Supreme Court allows trial in census case to proceed Perry to visit Ukraine, Poland to discuss alternatives to Russian energy MORE by the end of the year, according to two media reports.
Trump is reportedly seeking to replace Ross with either Small Business Administration (SBA) chief Linda McMahonLinda Marie McMahonFive things to watch for in deteriorating US-Saudi relations Small Business Administration re-doubles efforts in outreach to Hispanic entrepreneurs Trump donates quarterly salary to Small Business Administration MORE or Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) President Ray Washburne, according to a Friday report from CNBC.
Politico first reported Thursday that Trump was seeking to replace Ross with McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment who’s been friends with Trump for decades. She currently manages the federal agency designed to bolster financing for small businesses.
A SBA spokeswomen did not respond to a request for comment.
Washburne, a prominent Dallas investor and top Republican Party fundraiser, currently leads OPIC, which helps U.S. firms invest in overseas projects meant to bolster U.S. economic and national security.
An OPIC spokesman said “Mr. Washburne remains focused on implementing the BUILD Act and launching the new US Development Finance Corporation,” a revamp of the agency enacted in September. I’ve got more on the shuffle here.
Why? While Ross was of Trump’s earliest supporters, the president has reportedly soured on the Commerce chief. Trump has privately mocked Ross’s age, according to several media reports, and claimed he’s lost his edge as a dealmaker.
Ross has also been inundated with ethics complaints regarding official meetings he held with companies in which he invested. The secretary is under fire for meeting with top executives from Chevron, Boeing, and Greenbrier on issues before the Commerce Department while still holding stakes in those firms.
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