Trump's tax returns can be released to Congress, Justice Department says


WASHINGTON – The Treasury Department can release former President Donald Trump’s tax returns to Congress, the Justice Department said Friday, reversing its earlier position that lawmakers lacked a legitimate legislative purpose when they requested the documents two years ago.

Trump, who broke years of precedent by refusing to make his tax returns public, has successfully kept his financial records from lawmakers. But a 39-page legal opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel said the House Ways and Means Committee, which asked the Internal Revenue Service for Trump’s tax returns in 2019, has “invoked sufficient reasons” for its request.

The legal memo also said the committee has special access to tax information because of its role overseeing the national tax system.

“Even if some individual members of Congress hope to see information from the former President’s tax returns disclosed on the public record merely ‘for the sake of exposure,’ … that would not invalidate the legitimate objectives that the Committee’s receipt of the information in question could serve,” according to the memo.

Trump's tax returns can be released to Congress, Justice Department says

The issue is the subject of a pending lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C. It’s unclear if Trump’s legal team plans to challenge the memo. Court filings show Trump will receive a 72-hour notice before his financial records are turned over to Congress.

Trump’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

“Access to former President Trump’s tax returns is a matter of national security. The American people deserve to know the facts of his troubling conflicts of interest and undermining of our security and democracy as president,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

This story will be updated.

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