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tv   House Ways and Means Committee Considers Resolution Seeking Presidents Tax...  CSPAN  March 29, 2017 1:05am-2:34am EDT

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by mediating between the nice lists and britain? >> one of the rent on his book ike's gamble. >> eisenhower's fear, what is trying to prevent is the soviet union undermining the british and taking control of the oil in the middle east. 100% of european oil came from middle east. we wanted to make sure we had friendly arab regimes that would keep the soviet union out. that is the goal. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on q&a. >> the house ways and means committee worked on a bill that would require the treasury department to provide the committee with the president's tax returns and other financial documents. introduced by commerce and bill pascarella.
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>> good afternoon. the committee will consider resolution of inquiry offered by mr. paskrel related to president trump's tax and financial information. i'm going to keep my remarks short today because, frankly, this resolution is a procedural tool being utilized and i think abused, for obvious political purposes. >> abused? >> it does nothing to promote a substantive policy discussion on the real life challenges facing the people, families and job creators we are sent here to serve. with his resolution minority seeking to have the treasury department collect ten years of president trump's individual tax returns along with the potentially extensive amount of other confidential financial information and then turn that information over to congress. my knowledge and our committee's entire history no single individual has ever been targeted in such a manner. let me say that again.
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while this committee has at times sought tax return information as part of our legislative responsibility to oversee the administration of our nation's tax code, this would be the first time the committee has exercised authority to weigh into the tax returns of a single individual with no tie to any investigation within our jurisdiction. furthermore, there is no mechanism through which the treasury secretary could legally comply with their -- this request as written. as i'm sure the sponsor of this resolution is aware, sections 6103 only permits confidential tax information to be furnished to the committee, not to the house, representatives as a resolution directs. but beyond its obvious legal shortcomings, supporting this resolution would be a clear invasion of privacy. i would ask that all of our committee members take a step back for a moment and consider the dangerous precedent of abuse that would be set by this
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resolution. if congress chooses to use this power to single out president trump for political purposes, invade his privacy and seize his confidential tax information, what prevents them from doing the same to other americans? civil liberties and privacy are still rights worth protecting and i intend to protect them. i will oppose this resolution. i urge all members of our committee to do the same. with that, i'll yield to ranking member neil for his opening statements. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as you can tell, my voice, i have a cold. it's not there. every american president since gerald ford has yielded his tax forms for the public. and with that, i yield my time to mr. paskerel. >> thank you, mr. ranking member. thank you, mr. chairman. i hope tendat the end of this
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markup we'll end up on the same page about the significance of this issue. and our responsibility on this committee. it is our responsibility under the constitution mr. chairman, very clear, very clear to provide oversight of the executive branch and root out conflicts of interest. that is our responsibility. it defined in the constitution of the united states. breaking with 40 years of precedent, donald trump refused as a candidate and as president to release his tax returns. which begs the question what is he hiding? we know that under section 6103 of the internal revenue code this committee, the committee on ways and means, has the authority to obtain for review, for review president trump's tax returns.
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we have justifiable cause, mr. chairman, not only to review simply for tax compliance but also for conflicts between his government position and his business interests. february 1st i wrote you a letter. i didn't go to the press. i didn't have a press conference. i didn't have a press release. i heard no reply. i wrote a simple second letter. on march 2nd. this time it was a bipartisan letter, democrats and republicans. with 165 members in the house of representatives. and multiple republican members of the house publicly called for mr. trump to release his tax turns, including mr. grabela
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from florida, a member of this committee. they recently published a record from a professor at law at the university of virginia. former chief of staff of joint committee on taxation which is one of the committees under 6103 that can ask for this information. yen wrote about the legal authority of this committee possesses. the 1924 law, the result of conflict of interest concerns about the treasury secretaries andrew melon at that time, an executive branch officials involved in the teapot scandal gives congress the authority to examine trump's returns, reveal them to the public without the president's consent. members of congress cannot blame the absence of information solely on the president's
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intransigence. instead, they must explain why they favor the same secrecy that the president does. mr. chairman, i ask unanimous con sent consent to submit this letter for the record. >> without objection. >> mr. chairman, if i may, i want to present to you, before i continue -- this is from the teapot dome scandal. i hope you have a chance to read it. i give it to you in good faith. >> thank you. is president trump responsible for this as well? >> you'd be surprised, mr. chairman. >> you have to have an investigation, no? >> thank you.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. >> you would like to continue? >> yes, sir. has expounlded on this issue -- expounded on this issue in an academic paper. he rides that following the teapot dome scandal, congress had already sought to obtain from president coolidge the confidential tax return information of some of the alleged principles -- >> i'm sorry, all time expired. but we will be moving in a moment to strike the last word. so the committee will now proceed consideration of house resolution 186. without objection, the measure considered as read and open for amendment at any point now do they wish to strike the last word?
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>> i thought we had 10 minutes on the opening statement. >> not to my knowledge. >> we were not told from the heavens. we were told from your staff. >> our regular order is five minutes. >> ok mr. chairman. >> we will have many time to yield to you. >> i'd like to move to strike the last word if that is appropriate. >> yes, sir. >> i give my time to mr. paskerel. >> congress had already sought to obtain for president coolidge the confidential tax return information of some of the alleged principles, you'll read about those principles in that book i just gave you, involved in that scandal. and the president ultimately acceded to the requests. but this experience not only demonstrates to congress, it's
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me to have direct access to the information independent of the president's authority. i submit for the record professor yin's paper. >> without objection. >> the conflicts are piling up. smoke is billowing from the white house. there is a gray cloud and my good friend nunes and the cloud of smoke has become too large, grows every week too, ominous to ignore any longer. just this week we learned that the president's top adviser and son-in-law jared kushner sat down with the chief of the russian bank, the largest state owned bank during the presidential tranigs. they placed this bank on the sanction list after vladimir putin of russia and next crimea an began meddling in the
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ukraine. despite claims that nothing of consequence was discussed at the meeting, mr. kushner took this meeting at the behest of russian ambassador which was attended to to deliver a message. last week the fbi director james comey confirmed in testimony to the congress that his agency had began a counter intelligence investigation that the russian interference and whether any associates of the president might have colluded with the russian government or the 2016 campaign. i didn't say that. -- director comey said that. adam schiff has said there is more than circumstantial evidence now that president trump's campaign coluded with russia attempts to influence the election and hurt the clinton campaign.
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this is on top of the already know about russia's connections to trump, associates like michael flynn, carter page, roger stone, and the new attorney general jeff sessions. paul manafort, a former trump campaign manager appears to have laundered money from the party of and ask leader of the ukraine with ties to russia using accounts. metaphor lobbied for a russian billionaire close to put in to advance putin's agenda by influencing politics and news coverage inside of the united states of america. >> will the gentleman yield? >> no. this oligarch paid $10 million a year for this work. it is right in front of us.
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manafort was also the architect of the republican national convention last year which mr. trump change the party platform to the most pro-russian since before the cold war. as an any good investigation we must follow the money. the financial times reported an investigation that he conducted uncovered evidence of ties between one venture and an alledge money-laundering network. using the title deeds, and correspondence, investigation found that the comstock family accused of laundering millions in buildings partly owned by mr. trump pursued business ventures with one of his partners.
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i submit for the record the october 19 financial times article. we know that following six bankruptcies mr. trump had trouble getting loans and financing for his real estate business. german bank deutsche stepped in when wall street stopped lending giving at least $300 million in loans trump properties. and more to trump's daughter and son-in-law. deutsche bank has been fined for criminally transferring $10 billion out of russia. >> thank you. all the time has expired. >> i think there is only a couple of us on this committee that have ever filed a tax return and not a complicated tax return.
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i'm not sure who all. i have for the past 30+ years. it is interesting that you are rallying off things that you would never find on a tax return. i've done everything from an international tax return to complicated tax returns to tax returns with 500 pages of information. some things you are talking about would never be found on a tax return. that is the issue that is in front of us now. searching for information on a tax return. it is not law. if we abuse the authority given to obtain the tax return in this manner we can pick any political person we want to go after their tax returns. it would say in -- sent a dangerous message. coming from someone who has audited, reviewed and prepared tax returns, 90% of what you talk about you will never find on a tax return. you will find interest income. half the time you will not even
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find where that income is coming from. you will find it on a disclosure report which we all have to file, and president trump had to file. we already have two congressional committees investigating trumps ties to russia. we shouldn't be interfering with that. i would hope that someone who has never prepared a tax return, never understood the complications of filing a tax return, would understand you're not going to find the information. this is a political mission. not a mission of fax. it is unbelievable i am hearing that. i think -- there are a couple of us but
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what you're looking for i'm afraid you are not going to find. i am not sure we would interfere and other investigations. >> will be gentleman yield? >> the gentleman yields back. >> let me respond to you. if there ever were a president who needed to disclose his tax returns, it is president donald trump. i think you are wrong perhaps about 90% but even if for only 10% let the public see it. but the public see it. the cia, fbi and nsa jointly found putin and the russian government aspire to help president-elect trump's ee election when possible. this committee should use its authority to better understand the connections between the
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president and his family and russia. the president now says he wants to lead the effort on tax reform. his past returns are directly relevant to our forthcoming reform. discussions about tax reform. it's important to understand how such tax reform would benefit the president, his 564 financial positions in domestic and foreign companies, and hisself reported net worth of more than $10 billion. the republicans selectively released private taxpayer information for 51 organizations in 2014.
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this is what mr. yen said about that. although the disclosures occurred in connection with the committee's allegations of possible criminal misconduct by a high ranking official, lois learner, most of the return information released was completely unrelated to the oversight objective and no disclosure was necessary to support the committee's claims. that's when you released those returns. in fact there does not appear to have been any purpose whatsoever for the disclosure other than possibly providing a partisan political advantage to the committee majority. we are asking for the disclosure because it is relevant to the discussion about the russian connection. you are all -- we want to take up tax reform? the president wants to lead the
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effort with hidden tax reform -- with hidden tax returns? that is totally incredible. >> thank you. my friend from ohio, i want to continue with my opening statement. you are not only wrong, you are totally wrong. i hate to say that. i am a friend. eyeball to eyeball, that is how it is. what he files, whoever files, you, me, uncle louie, it doesn't matter. what he files depends on how he holds his business interests. he is a partner in many, many ventures. he is a shareholder in corporations. he has to fill out how many forms under that schedule?
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i am not going to yield. not today. not today. this is too serious. he has to file perhaps schedule c. the two pages that we receive and the public receives are a joke. you know it and i know it. i take everybody on this committee seriously. i know that you have the best of intentions but for you to accuse me of doing this for political reasons, you are 110% wrong. we also know, mr. trump said the trump organization solve money pouring in from russia. that russians make a disproportionate cross-section of many of our assets. we know the trump organization
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attempted to secure trademarks and develop real estate in russia. not unlike what they did in china. we will get to that. we have plenty of time. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> my experience has been, i have done some work as far as paying taxes, it was at to the irs of they wanted to do an investigation on me. i don't think it was a subject of a congressional request for it. >> i appreciate the gentleman yielding some more time. my friend from new jersey am a heavy ever done a k-1? what i have no feelings like this. >> i have done k-1's. it doesn't reflect where the income came from. it doesn't reflect the income came from.
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it lists a company or entity. it lists amounts. it would be interesting to understand what you want to see on a k-1. i've seen plenty. there is no such information on a k-1. money pouring in from russia. unbelievable statement. >> i didn't say that. i quoted that. >> where do you see the on a tax return? tell that anywhere -- show me that anywhere. i have not ever seen that on a tax return where you could justify money pouring in from anywhere. seriously. i am still a tax professional. i might leave here someday and do that again. when you're asking for, trademarks, i've done tremendous amount of trademarks. tell me where a trademark is. tell me where you are going to get information on a trademark.
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you keep digging into things on tax returns which are not there which is why this is irrelevant. i'm going to list all of these things you believe are on tax returns. tell me where they are at. i yield back. >> mr. chairman. what businesses that donald trump owns that he has shares in? i mentioned one k-1.
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two sheets do not tell us anything. our constituents are demanding transparency. you're giving me complicity. they want an independent commission to investigate. the petition to release trumps tax returns is the number one petition on 1,085,000 signatures as of today. the watergate scandal investigators had a willing partner in the internal revenue service. who found tax violations in the returns of president richard nixon. with information from the irs, a special prosecutor resulted in 17 corporations pleading guilty to violations of campaign contribution laws. the chairman of the ways and means committee was involved in reviewing president nixon's tax returns. with all of the conflicts we know about. and all that we don't.
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we must gather all of the possible information we can. the irs is best equipped to conduct financial investigations into possible crimes dealing with money. i'm going to conclude with this. today, protests against the russian government's opponents are being silenced by their government. this would give us pause in the foremost democracy in the world. what are we doing here in the usa? to protect our hard earned freedoms and opportunities in contrast to the snuffing out of voices of dissent in russia. our answer should be open
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government, transparency, and honesty. as john lewis would say, we need to get in the way. we need to get in the way. i don't want any of my colleagues to be accused of complicity. that is where you are going. in the book on tyranny, yell history professor timothy snyder argued that democracy is fragile. it has evolved into fascism before. the passive consent of those who go on to get along, to defend democracy, he argues that we must defend institutions. institutions like the press, the courts, the congress. i do not say this to be an alarmist. we are standing on a precipice.
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i'm concerned about the integrity of this institution. during watergate, congress strongly investigated -- many members slandered the irs in order to impeach its commissioner. they continued to keep trump's tax returns hidden. even from the review of this committee, which is well in our rights to do. party politics over country may have caused this to trump's campaign officials to collude with a foreign adversary in the name of hurting who they deemed to be their common enemy. just think about that, do my colleagues have the courage to put their country first? or will we continue to hide the president's secrets, bury our heads in the sand, vanderbilt
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said what do i have to worry about the law? i have the power. our constitution and our country is paramount here. we hired the community -- committee to show a hired front. please support this favorably. mr. chairman, we have a mountain of evidence on the record and we will get to it today. >> mr. reid, you have the last word. >> in regards to the constitution, my good friend from new jersey recognized and speaks of, one of our near and dear freedoms in america is the right to privacy.
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every citizen has that right. dear freedoms in america is the right to privacy. >> i am going to go back to my friend from new jersey and ask him where on a tax return is he ever going to see a list of every investment of every individual, whether it is mr. trump or anybody else. tax returns do not list investments, they don't. what does lift -- list investments are disclosure reports which mr. trump has done. i have practiced in the tax world for 30 plus years. i have looked at tax returns upside down, every which way. i have never seen a tax return that lists every tax would -- investment that every person has. the things you are concerned about are on the disclosure report. the only time you would show an investment on a tax return is
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when you sell an investment. you won't list investments that you don't have any transactions on. again, i am not sure where you are going with this, there is no one more concerned about the integrity of this institution that many of us, including me on this panel. when we talk about the institution, you better watch for dangerous precedents where you go after citizen tax returns. we could be picking anybody's tax returns and saying we want to look at them. if you're going to look at it, i would love to hear -- i am waiting to see everything you asked for, i wish you could shall be it on a tax return where it is going to be. then maybe i would agree with you. what you are asking for is not on a tax return. that is how i know this is a political push. i yield back.
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>> thank you mr. chairman. let me begin by asking mr. pas crell you would submit that there is no legal obligation for the president to release his tax returns. >> i will yield to mr. pascrell. >> my friend, there is nothing in the law that says that any president has to do this. that is why we are here. he would also agree, would you not, i enjoyed your history of the long history of this law. only a few times in our nation's
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utilization by this committee. there is no question that the intent of the law is to prohibit disclosure of private tax return information to the government, by us. it is to prevent it up to the time where it could be a felony. you would agree with that, would you not? >> would you ask the question again? >> the intent of this law? >> i know the intent in the code. we know how the code came about. it was written into the code after 1924 after that scandal that i talked about several times. that is why it was done. >> i claim my time back. we know following back through 1976 when it was rewritten that the intent of the law was to prohibit the disclosure of private tax return information.
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it is not to expand it or create powers. it was given to this community -- committee to make sure that this kind of information was not made public. >> that is not true. >> mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman, let me reclaim my time until the conclusion of this. the committee enacted these taxpayer protections to prevent the use of taxpayer information for any other use. the provision that you claim, section 61-63f. the inappropriate use of tax information by the nixon information. it violates the very tax protections that this committee is meant to create.
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>> i would not agree with that interpretation. 61-63f came about after nixon was in the white house. -- before nixon was in the white house. >> would you be surprised that that was not my statement? that was a statement of your colleague mr. levin when he made that explicit argument i will not yield. >> you are afraid of my answer. >> the language is explicit and unambiguous. he may have his moment when he has his moment. i give my time back. >> you may have the last word. >> earlier this month, on an amendment that i offered, the committee offered for a second time along party lines to continue covering up president trump's tax returns.
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it is apparent that this will be the third time i think the committee has barely struck out on this issue. every president with rare exception for years, for decades has provided this information and while we have a fundamental disagreement about what these tax returns might show and why they should be shown to the american people, i think one thing we should be able to agree on anonymously -- unanimously is that we have never had a president quite like president trump. mr. chairman, i would say that the cover up eventually will be uncovered. it is a question of how long this process will go a long -- go on. i hope it will be sooner than later. i believe there is a serious national security issue here.
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i believe the house investigation has been totally discredited within the last week. whether it was discredited or not, this committee has able to play with relation to tax returns. when you have the president's son-in-law talking with a former kgb official running a bank in russia and you have indication from the president's son a few years back that the russians make up a cross-section of a lot of our assets, that is a direct quote. there is reason to want to know that there are patients -- payments to or from russians in these tax returns. it may not be that the information we are seeking is in the form that president trump may have filed.
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there may well be an indication in those returns of information that will lead to that information and that is why i believe the president went back on his promise to the american people and refused to disclose the very information he said he would disclose in the future when these audits were concluded. i want to know whether he has continued to have a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of their assets with the russians. it is difficult to understand why the president as a candidate and now as a president of the united states has been so quiet about the outrageous conduct of the putin administration. the contacts between president trump and his association and putin's gang are rampant. in addition to the national security concerns that are very
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real, i want to emphasize that the chairman and the members of this committee are misconstruing section 6103 to cover up the tax returns. if this committee has a significant interest in these returns in relation to our business, both in reference to our trade agenda -- given the large number of trademarks that president trump was magically able to get approved by the chinese earlier this year and with reference to our tax responsibilities. after all, this is a gentleman who has bragged during the course of his campaign about his ability to manipulate members of the congress and to get whatever he wants. i know our complex tax laws
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better than anyone president trump said. i am the only one who can fix them. the question is whether he will fix them for himself or for the american people. without those tax returns, to know what conflicts might exist for him -- what kind of self deals may exist for him, we may never know. that section deals with more than just tax administration. it deals with statistical gathering functions under the laws and statutes. there is every reason -- and the fact that we are considering ager tax legislation that -- major tax legislation that we should know if he will benefit from these tax legislations. >> mr. chairman, you know my on state of south dakota runs next to the missouri river.
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most don't know this but it is the longest river in north america. it runs from the rocky mountains down to st. louis. it is full of fish. mr. paulson knows this too. the state fish is the same for him. like many south dakota and's -- south dakotans, i love to fish. there is one thing that every angler on the river knows, the law is the law. it doesn't matter who you are, you get a few things you can catch, they may be different lengths, it may determine where you catch them, but everyone gets four. the tax code should be applied fairly. the law is the law.
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whether you are a farmer, a small businessperson, president of the united states, period. it should entreat people differently -- it shouldn't treat people differently. mr. pescrell has singled out this issue for political reasons and political purposes. that is what this whole markup is doing. my colleague's resolution is a stunt. the treasury secretary may be breaking the law if he were going to comply with the language that mr. pescrell put forward. he is suggesting that we single out a single taxpayer for political purposes and that was sent an incredibly dangerous precedent. the law should apply equally just like the fishing limit. with that, i urge you to reject his resolution. i yield back.
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>> i think it is disturbing that my colleagues question the integrity of my friend from new jersey and what his intentions are this afternoon. questioning his intentions as an american citizen to request the president do what he pledged to do in the elections the american people voted on. he said at some point that he would diebold his tax returns when the audit was over. he made that pledge to a lady from south dakota. four fish or not, he made the pledge. he misled the american people.
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he said once the election was over, he didn't have to give over his taxes anymore because he won. he is president today and we are not, we get that. he made a pledge. he promised the american people that he would disclose his tax returns once the audit was over. i would remind the lady that in terms of 2016, he could still release them under audit and he still refused. to impugn the integrity of the gentleman is irresponsible. it is irresponsible to do that. that is not our motivation, it is to find the truth. this is an aspect of it. it is not about politics, i know that is uncomfortable, that it is not, it is about our country. it is not about embarrassing you, either. don't impugn the integrity of the gentleman from new jersey or anyone else here who question the president. it is about answering the basic
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question -- who is president trump fighting for? himself or the american people. the president issued an executive order saying that pipeline makers and the united states must use american steel in their projects. i support that, i suspect you all do. then he quietly reversed himself only a few days later. he allowed the steel to be imported from foreign countries. this deflates the initial boost to american steel producers and hurts the jobs he promised to create just a few days prior to that. why the sudden change? we know that donald trump owes hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to banks all over the
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world, including $300 million to german-based deutsche bank. they used to hold a 100% share in the german steel firm. a propped it up for years as it competed with american steel producers. some of germany's top industrial communities are helping them financially. german steelmakers would repay deutsche bank by propping up the bank during its financial troubles. we know that president trump has reversed his made in the usa order on steel. deutsche bank released a report .that said the. of the 2025 offers the -- so did president trump reversed his order on u.s. based steel because one of his largest
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creditors may be rescued by german steelmakers. did president trump what his financial well-being ahead of everybody else? i don't know, i hope i'm wrong. if it is very easy to prove me wrong, show us the returns. if he isn't being controlled by foreign bankers and outside influences, he can prove me wrong by releasing his tax returns and financial statements like every other president since richard nixon has done. but, for now, without this, we don't know why he is saying one thing like i will show my taxes once the audit is over and yet do another when he is elected president. all we know is that the end result is this on even field for the american worker. the question will hang over him and my republican colleagues who continue to protect him until we get a definitive answer.
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there is another example that i don't have time to get into. i will ask a colleague to yield me time in the future if they have additional time. i joe baca four seconds i have remaining. -- i yield back the four seconds i have remaining. >> she impugned his attentions -- intentions. she impugned his intentions. >> she did not into his -- impugn his integrity. >> i appreciate that. i am sure you are not impugning mr. trump's integrity. >> i am asking questions. i think the american people know what is going on. they are paying attention, they know. >> mr. higgins, you get the last
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word. >> why are the president's tax returns important to this committee? as a committee, we are preparing to undertake a conference of reform for the first time in 30 years. transparency and full disclosure are essential to this committee and institution. the president loves to boast about his extensive buildings -- business holdings. he says paying no taxes makes him smart. this is despite his self-reported networth of more than $10 billion. the american people have a right to know if the president would
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personally gain from a proposal he would ask this committee to consider. the american people have a right to know the president's tax returns -- it would offer clarity about business ties to russia, syria, saudi arabia or any other business arrangement that may benefit them or him. this congress and this president have an almost exclusive of -- obsession with taxes. last week should have been about health care reform. it was not, it was a massive take away from the american people and a massive tax giveaway to health insurance executives who are cronies. the first thing this committee did on the pretense of health care reform on page 67, and seven words was to get a massive tax cut to insurance executives.
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we mentioned before that united health care paid their chief executive officer in 2014, $66 million. one salary, one man, one year. they are under investigation by the department of justice for defrauding medicare programs of aliens of dollars. the first thing this committee did on the pretense of health care reform was get him united health -- him, united health and their cronies tax cuts. tax returns from the president are perfectly and exclusively relevant to the work of this committee as it pursues copperheads of tax reform for the first time in 30 years.
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-- comprehensive tax reform for the first time in 30 years. >> my friend from pennsylvania made it a point to clarify whether this is the law that a presidential candidate has to disclose his or her tax reforms. i think we all know the fact, it is not. it has been customary for the last 40 years. every presidential candidate has with the exception of this one. if my friend would like to join me, i would be happy to introduce legislation making it the law. it is pretty clear from the testament we heard today that this is a pretty important issue.
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especially coming before this committee when so much is at stake given the tax returns -- the tax reform that we are endeavoring to take on. i make that offer to my friend and maybe we could avoid contentious hearings like this in the future. mr. chairman, as far as your question to how often we will do this and useless, from my perspective, i will vote to see any president's tax reforms who doesn't voluntarily submit those when running for the office. i think it is an important part of the election process and it is something that the american people want to know and see. when we talk about this in the last hearing, i talked about its impact on national security. i would like to go back to that. this president has many overseas investments. or than any other president in our history. yet, we know less about the financial history of this
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president than any other president in the history of our country. general flynn the last time we were here had just resigned as national security advisor. there were reports that he was potentially in a position to be blackmailed. this is important from a national security perspective. since then, there seems to be a new report of someone having undisclosed connection to russian interest. this again is a national security issue and something that we should all be concerned about. the attorney general met twice with the russian ambassador but didn't disclose those meetings for the confirmation hearing. paul manafort, the former campaign chairman had a $10 million/year contract with a potent associate -- putin
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associate. $10 million a year. i don't know of anyone who has a $10 million a year contract with anybody, let alone a foreign government that happens to be our adversary. jared kushner, we already heard the president's son-in-law that with the russian ambassador with general flynn.
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he had meetings with the head of a russian state-owned bank. not just any but one that had sanctions because of their actions in crimea. this is an issue that we need to take to heart from a national security perspective. we should vote in the affirmative on this and i yield my remaining time. >> mr. chairman, i want to get into what the definition is of what we can do under 61-03. because what i have heard so far on the other side is absolutely incorrect. it is not limited to examinations regarding acts of administration. you, mr. chairman, give us the reason for voting know the last time. this is an incorrect interpretation. this is not just an administrative directive. section 61-03i related to the disclosure that is not related to tax administration. it is disclosure to federal officers or employees of administration of federal laws not related to tax
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administration. tax administration is the sole purpose of the disclosure under 61-03 is simply not true. >> thank you mr. chairman. the show-me just showedring has me that this is a bunch of political grandstanding. when you look at the law, president trump has been opening -- obeying the law. we as members of congress have to fill out personal financial disclosures. i have right here, president trump's personal financial disclosure. it is over 100 pages. a lot of the questions that the other people have on the other side of the aisle -- they need
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to read this. part one by letters income outside of the united states. part two has filers'employment assets and income. part three, filer's employment agreement and arrangements. it is disclosed, i could go on. this is all about political grandstanding. there are cameras in this room. the people on the side are upset they lost an election. they are trying to take point at the president. the voters in missouri new that president trump never issued his tax returns and they still supported him. they believed he was the right candidate. what i can tell you is that according to the law, he has fulfilled the guidelines. nowhere in the law does it say
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that he has to address their concerns that they are bringing up. but they do have to do is bring forward their personal financial statements. he has done that. with that, mr. chairman, i yield. >> can i ask for unanimous consent to have that form that my good friend mentioned submitted to the record along with the 564 positions that the president holds that are outlined? >> will the gentleman yield? i'm inquiring as to what financial form that is. is that an sec financial form? can you elaborate? >> time has expired? >> objection.
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objection submitted. stepped ut for a minute ad look tat it. >> i wanted to speak in favor of mr. prescell's resolution in front of us. this committee is about to embark on a difficult task of tax reform. it is a once in a generation opportunity. as long as the current president refuses to play by the rules, we won't know what the implications will be on his dad's empire out there. what makes them different is the fact that he will be directly involved in the negotiation of what that final bill will look like. just for the sake of self-dealing. it would behoove him to release his tax returns. he may not have a legal obligation to do it but the
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second reason i think this resolution is important is because there is a higher principle at stake here for any democracy to survive. it is called transparency, it is called openness, it is called disclosure, it is called letting the sunshine in, it is called the truth. when that believe in a democracy is eroded, the very pillars of our democracy are shaken. cynicism rises. illegitimacy of our government rises. the very credibility of our democratic institutions are called into question. if anyone doubts that, this past week, we have had news coming out of russia. tens of thousands of people taking to the street in 92 separate communities to process -- to protest the corruption of the current president.
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unless we want to see that take over the streets of america, i think president trump needs to start playing by the rules. that is my final point. we have a person occupying the white house that doesn't believe that the rules of democracy applied to him. a well-established president president ford, every republican and democrat alike thought that it was important to disclose that to the american people except for the sky today. he has gone further -- this guy today. he has gone farther. he has called the free speech of the media the enemy of the state. he has attacked the credibility of our intel communities and even the credibility of this equal branch of government, the
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united states congress. that is being tested today in this committee. are we going to act as a equal branch or lapdogs for this administration? i think it would be smart to embrace this resolution as something that could dog him every day in his administration until those returns are disclosed. it will seep into the tough work that we have before us by taking a run at this tax code. >> i would like to ask my good friend, a person of character this question. do you believe that president trump should release his tax returns and all the supplemental to go with it? yes or no?
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>> i wish he would. i call on him to do it. >> i think you are being honest about it and that is what i expected. mr. chairman, i want to look at your interpretation. i want to look at your particular interpretation before we get into this scandalous material that we might cover. i want to look at your explanation of 61-03. that was put into the code in 1924. i wrote you a letter requesting your leadership and requesting
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the tax returns of the president. i didn't get a return, i know you are busy. our letter made some different points in the request i made to senator wyden. >> time has expired. >> i would like to yield my time to representative. >> i want to take a moment to take one comment. i know we have had a series of characterizations that have gone on through this. when i say this, i don't for a minute impugn the intentions of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. i have respect for everyone of them. in particular, the two people i am talking about. prescall and mr. kind have
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--d words today as a former special prosecutor, i think they appreciate this. as a former prosecutor, there is one thing that has been lacking in this which is notwithstanding the discussion -- we are talking about a voluntary -- whether we would like it or not, this american citizen has a voluntary opportunity but not an obligation -- the cause he is choosing not to volunteer to do it, i understand all of his predecessors have done it. people don't like that. what we are doing here is saying let's kick the door in and let the cops in the house and rip it apart and see if we can find a little evidence and once we get that evidence then we will use it. we will see if we can get
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something on this guy and maybe we can lock them up. as a career prosecutor, that is the kind of instinct that i know violates the sensibilities of everyone in this room. we don't do things like that in america. if we have probable cause -- when you look at the next in situation and when you look at the things that happened in teapot dome -- you had criminal activity by those individuals that was established and at that point in time, we moved forward. for this process right now, to take the integrity of this committee and turn it into that kind of a witchhunt, that is the tyranny. that is what is wrong and i just don't believe in it. >> does the gentleman yield in that point? name?you invoked my
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>> let me yield the remainder of my time. >> mr. pascrell, a friend of mine, i would ask you -- i will sit down with you -- would you withdraw this resolution? i would sit down with you. if you would sit down and explain -- we will do this in a room where we can look at a tax return and you can tell me what you are looking for, what you are trying to get at and if you can show me, i will cosponsor the resolution with you as to what you think you will get. i think at this point in time, you will not be able to do that. i'm willing to sit down and work with my good friend from new jersey to look at every item
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that he will think you will find on a tax return. i believe what you're looking for, you will find on this disclosure statement. if you withdraw the resolution and are willing to sit down and talk about a tax return and talk about the schedules and talk about what is on them, i would be more than willing to listen as to where we would find common ground to see what you are looking for. when it comes to russia and those things, we already have a hearing. we have a number of hearings going on in regard to that. >> i will yield. rep. bill pascrell: my friend from ohio, we are going to have follow-up on debts and losses and charitable contributions etc. there is a lot of supplemental information that goes along with your tax returns. you need to look at all of it.
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>> i have done enough tax returns. you will not get the details you are looking for. that is why i asked you. >> the things they are looking for, mr. trump's debts held by foreign companies, you will find that disclosure not on his tax returns. >> all time has expired. >> i want to express my strong support for this critical house resolution we are -- as we all know, the arguments -- theprohibits
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emoluments clause prohibits federal officeholders from accepting foreign gifts. the creation of this clause was intended to forbid relationships that might lead to corruption. for four decades, presidential nominees have released their full tax returns. now we have a president who promised -- he made lots of promises on the election trail that he has broken. this is another one. he promised to release his tax returns and now that he is president, he refuses to. so my question today is, what does our president have to hide? fortunately, congress, in particular, this committee has the authority to act and do something about it. the ability of our committee to review and disclose an individual tax information has been in law with 93 years. the authority was used in 1974 to review and make public president nixon's tax returns. during our very first committee organizational meeting, we
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offered an amendment that would have allowed the committee to exercise the authority and provide the necessary answers and clarity that we now seek on the president's financial ties and obligations. i have joined republicans and democrats in signing a letter. they will use the authority to request the president's tax returns. additionally, i voted in favor of multiple house resolutions offered by my colleagues on the floor that would have directed this house to do the same. however, each of these efforts were defeated and blocked by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. the reality is that this issue should not be bipartisan -- i mean, should not be partisan, mr. chairman. instead it should truly be bipartisan.
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we should all care that our president may or may not have conflicts of interest and we should all care to know the truth. the public need to know what conflicts there are involving the president's investments and business activities. the public needs to know what ties the president has to russia and other foreign governments and what influence those investments in past actions have on his future as president. this is not only an historical precedent but it is also a national security issue as my colleague has said. as a member of the house intelligence committee, i am in a unique position to state that the russian contact with the trump campaign administration officers only heightens the stakes of looking into the president's conflict of interest. we have an enormous task of doing tax reforms. it is imperative for the public to know and understand how the tax reforms will benefit the president.
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his 564 business holdings, his self reporting networth of over $10 billion. now it is time to put aside partisan politics and hold the president to the same standards of transparency and accountability that we have held others over the last several decades. i urge my colleagues to support this resolution and i yield the balance of my time to mr. pascrell. >> i think it is important that we state the committees have never used this authority to in theand individual manner suggested. to call such a review of the president's tax returns
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"unprecedented," you heard what was just mentioned as a precedent. you further state that section 61-03 was designed to protect privacy. it failed to address people intent of 61-03. it was put in the tax code to have our committee -- so that our committee would have power over the executive branch of government. the arguments for protecting privacy and narrowly interpreting the purpose of 61-03 ring hollow when you just voted to disclose the confidential tax information of 14 -- iners in 21 2014. you did it. a disclosure that was in no way essential. >> you are recognized to strike the last word. >> thank you mr. chairman. this president is breaking 30 years of precedent. with his complete lack of
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transparency. and, his refusal to release his tax returns is a red flag if he has nothing to hide. why not release them? he cited an ongoing audit with no evidence. that is his reason for keeping his returns under lock and key. yet, we know there is nothing that is stopping him from releasing his returns. given this president's evasiveness, his conflict of interests, congress has an institutional responsibility to obtain the records and perform rigorous, unbiased oversight. that is clearly in the public interest and it is also something incredibly important to the public. he is an elected e highest office in the land and he works for american taxpayers. he has also boasted about his mastery of tax loopholes that
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makes him an exceptional guide for us as we go through tax reform. the american public deserves to know if and how their president has been paying his taxes before entrusting him with shepherding far-reaching changes to the current tax system. his tax returns in particular will tell us what he is paid in taxes. what tax breaks has he claimed? does he have offshore accounts? these are things that we need to -- tox returns to tell obtain this information. will this president benefit from reform proposals that are being pushed by the white house. >> we have tried every which way to make sure that congress has in short transparency and we will keep trying. people deserve to know what conflicts of interests --
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foreign or domestic may influence the president's decision-making. excuses or alternative facts should be unacceptable to all of us -- republicans or democrats. i yield the balance of my time to mr. pascrell. we havel pascrell: asked about the president's taxes or the supplementals that go with it. it raises more questions. sides could admit to the fact that more questions are being raised. when we get into the specifics of these 550 -- 560 investments. there will be more questions.
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that is what i am asking, let's try to get an answer to some of these. 61-0 three, as many of you referred to, i hope you read it. if you haven't read it, listen please. returns disclosure of could be used in criminal investigations. two, in the case pertaining to matters of it child. -- a child. etc., etc.. disclosure upon request of information relating -- certainly, there are a variety of limitations. that could be disclosed under each of these sections. to pronounce that disclosure under 6103 is limited to disclosure for tax administration -- it is
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absolutely false. to pronounce that disclosure to -- committee under 6103 f under the law, 6103 f provides a blanket authority to respective committees. specificon outlines processes that need to be filed. including the requirement that anyone return only well executive -- while in session. i like to go to mr. vice. this happens to be our attorney. he listed three items he is
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looking for in mr. trump's tax returns. those in the disclosure, you will not find them in the tax returns. his investments in foreign countries and foreign enterprises, those will be in the disclosure, not the tax returns. finally, the basis for this inquiry is mr. trump's relationship with the russian somehow, a threat to our national defense. the third thing is mr. trump's use of any tax structures or tax avoidance maneuvers or other loopholes -- it has nothing to ties.h any russian it has nothing to do with our national defense. they may not like what mr. deducts -- what deductions mr. trump takes but he is not required to disclose his tax returns. 6103 starts off by saying that
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tax return information shall be unless -- it lists a series of exceptions. you went through some of them. if a child is missing, if there is a criminal action, none of those apply here. they very clearly do not apply here. you're saying that there is some kind of threat to our national discloseif he doesn't our taxes. i submit to you that if we have a political disagreement with somebody, -- if that means we can invade their privacy and require them to disclose their personal information, that is far more threatening to our national security. i except that i am one of the new members on the committee. getting to know each of you and your individual talents, i have
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been sitting here and listening. feelings.i hurt your it is theater. i have heard everything from german banks to steal, this, that. come on, the fact of the matter is that you're being -- youctually honest would go to the disclosures. if you're having trouble providing -- finding them. i can find the internet link for everyone here. -- reat concern let me finish. >> you impugned our honesty, why not? >> if you want to scream into the microphone -- that is great for intellectual discourse. the fact of the matter is that what so many of you are asking is the weaponization of this committee.
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do we all end up here in the near future? is there someone here who is -- do we get to weaponize this process and look at them? be careful what you ask for acause this could go down very ugly path. the fact of the matter is that saying isat we're already out there. i yield back. >> it as the other side claims that mr. trump's tax returns will reveal so little, then he has nothing to hide. and yet, we have a president that takes no issue with refusing -- a trout his business holdings in a cloak of mystery. in next the american people and
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the world wonder what he is hiding. in the last three months, we have seen how the president's use of the properties is riddled with conflict of interest. -- ld trump has been he has flown down to mar-a-lago five times. office,hird weekend in he brought prime minister sindelar led -- shinzo abe. next, we learned that the trump organization has decided to double mar-a-lago's initiation fees. now trump has announced that he plans to host the president of china at mar-a-lago next month. it is clear that trump has an incentive to host an event at mar-a-lago which gives and
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personal profit. we don't even know if the members of mar-a-lago are screened for security clearance. what is to stop an agent from a foreign government to pay the initiation fee to stay at the club and be near the president when he receives sensitive information? presidentr that the is marrying is this and government in a way that has not been seen in modern democracy. business in a way that has not been seen in modern democracy, and that is unacceptable. as the committee prepares to take up tax reform and the president has stated he wants to play a central role in that process, disclosure in these returns is critical to clarifying how much president trump will personally benefit. whate my colleagues to do is right and pass this resolution and i yield the balance of my time. gentleman who shot off his mouth doesn't know what he
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-- >> so, you have asked for stability and order and i will ask the same of you. >> as the form on information return of u.s. persons with respect to certain foreign corporations, but his form 5471. for information return of the shareholder, foreign investment companies or qualified elected fund, that is form 8621. annual returns to report transactions with foreign trust and receipt of certain foreign gifts, that is form 3520. statement of specified foreign financial assets is on form 3520. he doesn't know what he is talking about, and for him to talk about honesty -- and you didn't say anything, is that the way the rest of the hearing is going to go? because i'm not going to be the
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civil person i've been up until now. >> thank you, do you yield back? thank you. the committee will stand at recess and reconvene before a floor vote. >> reconvene and i recognize mr. larson, strike the last word, mr. larson.


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