Trump cites conservative allies as he resists Democrats’ push for Mueller report, tax returns
By JOHN WAGNER | The Washington Post | Published: April 8, 2019
President Donald Trump went on Twitter on Monday morning to cite recent comments from conservative lawmakers and pundits as he continued to air grievances about efforts of congressional Democrats to obtain the full special counsel report and his tax returns.
In a series of tweets, Trump — who until recently had said he had no problem with the release of the full report by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election — cited the views of commentators questioning whether Democrats should have access to it and claiming that they were trying to weaken Trump politically.
In one tweet, Trump quoted Katie Pavlich, editor of Townhall.com, saying that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., was “not entitled” to the full report and underlying documents produced by Mueller, who investigated whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia in 2016 and whether Trump sought to obstruct the probe.
During a segment on “Fox News Sunday,” Pavlich said Democrats were “trying to get as much information and political ammunition as possible to give to the ultimate nominee.”
According to a four-page summary of top-line findings of Mueller’s report provided to Congress by Attorney General William P. Barr, did not establish that Trump and his campaign illegally coordinated with Russia, but Mueller left open the question of whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr announced that he concluded Trump did not commit obstruction.
Nadler’s committee voted last week to authorize him to subpoena the full report. The Justice Department is expected to release a redacted version as early as this week.
In another tweet Monday, Trump quoted Charles Hurt, the opinion editor of the Washington Times, saying Democrats “made up this complete lie about Collusion.”
“The Russian Hoax never happened, it was a fraud on the American people!” Trump added in his own words.
The president also pushed back against efforts by the Democratic-led Ways and Means Committee to obtain six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service.
In one instance, Trump retweeted Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a frequent ally and the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, saying that “Dems want President’s tax returns for purely political purposes!”
“Frightening, but shouldn’t surprise us-same folks used the IRS to target Americans for their political beliefs!” Jordan wrote in a Saturday tweet highlighted by Trump.
Trump also tweeted a C-SPAN clip in which Jordan defended Trump’s pledge to fight releasing his tax returns during an interview.
Trump’s tweets Monday came a day after his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said that Democrats will “never” see the president’s tax returns, abandoning Trump’s long-held position that he would release the documents someday for public inspection.
Mulvaney and other Trump allies spent the weekend casting Democrats as politically motivated for formally asking IRS for the returns.
Trump broke precedent as a presidential candidate when he refused to release his tax returns, citing an ongoing IRS audit.
Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, sent a letter to the IRS asking that the tax returns be turned over to Congress by Wednesday. Trump has said he is prepared to challenge the request all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. An attorney for Trump already asked the Treasury Department to deny the Democrats’ request, calling it a “gross abuse of power.”
The Washington Post’s Colby Itkowitz contributed to this report.