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tv   U.S. Senate Senator Grassley on Pres. Trump Tax Returns  CSPAN  April 4, 2019 7:07pm-7:31pm EDT

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at history book, puerto rico is part of the usa. these are our fellow american citizens. we as a senate must be better than that. we must stand with all american citizens in times of crisis. mr. president i yield the floor. >> yesterday the ways and means committee sent a letter to the irs requesting the presidents tax returns. last night i had a chance to read that letter. i have to say, that if you take as face value, it does not make a lot of sense. consider the reasons that are stated in the letter from the ways and means committee for requesting the presidents tax returns. it states, that the committee is conducting oversight of the audit process at the irs uses to
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evaluate presidential tax returns. currently the irs examines the presidents tax returns as a matter of policy. simple policy. but a review isn't required by law. democrats as the ways and means committee have said they are now looking into the current irs policy of auditing the president is enough or if congressional action may be needed. democrats have even been talking about making irs audits of the presidents mandatoryry every yer even though, even though the irs does that every year and have been doing it for a long period of time. in a press release, a democrat member of the ways and means committee said that he has a
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duty to examine whether congressional action is needed to require presidential audits and oversee that they are done correctly. ask yourself, why that member would be saying that? i for one, haven't seen any evidence that the irs has suddenly changed its policy under this president, meaning president trump. or that is conducting a less thorough review of president trump's taxes than it did of previous presidents or that it r hasn't conducted a review at all. so why are the democrats considering these changes to the tax code now. why didn't they raise the issue on president obama?
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or president bush? there is no reason that the irs is doing less diligent in its review of president trump's taxes than it has for any other president in our memory. the letter also states that the committee needs to know the scope of the audit that the irs conduct and looks at a presidents tax returns and it needs to know whether there is a review of underlying business activities reported by the president. if democrats are truly signing up for scrutiny of a presidents tax returns, why not simply just asked the irs to describe the audit procedure.
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that's a straightforward question. i am sure that congress would be happy to abide with a tiraightforward answer. why is there a need to see president trump's tax returns in order to get an answer to those questions? i want to give you a hint, there is not one. they are also looking into how the irs is doing his job of enforcing back laws in a fair and impartial manner. a statement yesterday the ways amimeans committee said it wanto know whether or not audits of presidential tax returns are being appropriately. -- being conducted. along those lines, in addition to asking for president trump's
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tax returns, and those of his businesses for the last six years, the democrats have asked for information on the status of all audits of those tax returns that have been conducted. it sounds like they are planning to conduct their own review of the presidents tax returns to see whetherhe or not the irs has been doing its job. there is a problem with that. the irs audits more than a million tax returns every year. and while audits of the president and vice president might have an automatically the audit process that is followed for them ought to be the same a. it is for everyone else. every member of the ways and means committee knows that as well. in member's remarks yesterday, they said the committee has a
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responsibility to conduct oversight of the tax system to determine how americans, including those in elected office are complying with theh law. in other words, the president and vice president ought to be s held to the same high standards as every other american. not at different standards. the same standards. there is no reason to believe that this is already happening. democrats haven't offered a shred of evidence to suggest the irs hasn't done his job. and by the way, the democrats are really so concerned about enforcement, then why not ask the treasury inspector general to conduct a review of the irs audit process?
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i want to tell you why they might not do that because they are not concerned about oversight of the irs enforcement process at all. what they are interested in is using their oversight responsibilities to collect as much information about this president finances as they can get their hands on. and that is really the bottom line, isn't it? in this letter from the house democrat does not make sense when taking face value because you cannot take it at face value. democrats say they are interested in a tax return of all presidents when they are really just interested in one, president trump. to get to his tax returns as a part of a grand reform effort as they would have us believe, then
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what is it motivated by? i want to tell you what is motivated by. it is motivated by the democrats intense dislike of this president. it is motivated by their frustration over losing an election that they thought that they would easily win. it is motivated by their desire to use all of the resources at their disposal to find something, anything to bring this president down. just take a look at how this will effort to request for presidents tax returns has unfolded. i will tell you a real story, democrats started making calls for the presidents to release his tax returns while he wasg still a candidate during the 2016 election.
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at the time, democratic calls were released of his tax returns were clearly just a political attack. not a policy issue as they now want us to believe. secretary clinton said quote there must be something really terrible in those tax returns". her communication stricter use the issue to charge the candidate trump for hiding behind fake excuses. and backtracking previous promises. in a speech before the democratic national convention president clinton's running mate question then with her then candidate trump had been paying his fair at once calling for him to release his tax returns and asking quote donald,
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what are you hiding". since the end of the election these calls have continued as you have seen yesterday. democrats have just come up with more inventive excuses for making these calls although i suspect the underlying political reasons are the same today as they were in 2016. consider how those reasons have changed over time now. not long after the election at the beginning of the last congress 93 house democrats signed a resolution of inquiryde directing the secretary of treasury to turn over the presidents tax returns.. that request was for his tax returns to be provided to the house of representatives and not
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the committee on ways and means. in the house democrat portion of the resolution committee report signed by ranking member and current chairman, is filled with complaints about the president's refusal to release his tax returns and none of which ever mentioned reviewing irs audits. or even inquiring about irsut audit procedures. in that report democrats say that the president has quote rebuked over 40 years of tradition" by refusing to release his tax returns. they say that the presidents tax returns should be released because he has a fast, domestic and international business prior. they say they should be released
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quote not an average american. and they say they should be released because he is president of the united states and has the power to sign bills into law. and that is supposed to serve as some kind of justification for demanding more from and raising his tax returns? i tell you that the law does not support theen argument. under sexting 61 oh three of the federal tax code the tax returns of all americans even including the president of the united states are a considered to be private information. and without an individual permission tax information cannot be released except under the most limited of circumstances. and thus suffer get that our tax
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quote reads that way for very good reason. when congress reformed the modern irs privacy law, that was in 1976, not long after president nixon left office, nixon had used his power over h the irs to target his political enemies. and congress, bypassing that law in 1976 wanted to make sure that that never happened again. congress was determined to put protections in place that would prevent any kind of abuse of the irs power in the future. congress wanted to ensure private tax information was never used for political purposes ever again.
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but, if you strip away all the pretense and trace this current ever to his back to its roots that sounds like what is happening right now with the efforts by the members of the ways and means committee. i stopped listing them because the democrats have plenty of other reasons in the past for claiming to need president trump's tax returns and in 2017 democrats also said that the presidents taxes should be released because he stood to benefit from the tax reform that congress passed. then when the president was signed into law. apparently because the president is wealthy and successful they figured he must've had a self-interest in supporting the reform. in the more recent effort to get the presidents return is
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contained in a bill the house democrat recently said to her senate known as hr one. that bill contains a provision requiring that the candidates for president and vice president as well as the sitting vice president and president released the last ten years of individual tax returns. assuming the proposal lives on. even if the bill does it i wonder if that is one of the items they were hoping to evaluate through their current oversight efforts. maybe they want to see the presidents tax returns in order to evaluate their proposal to see the presidents tax returns. that sounds like a lot of circular logic to me. democrats may also have made a big deal out of the fact that under section 61 the secretary
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of treasury shall turnover relevant tax records to the ways and means committee if he requested. that is exactly right. as long as the committee has a legitimate legislative purpose and asking for them. as opposed to this perceived political reason that they want to do it. for decades, the courts have been clear that congressional request for information like those tax returns or any other thing that we are trained to do must have a legitimate legislative purpose. but that is where the democrats, but very, very short. they do not have a purpose. all they have are a lot of ngexcuses.
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let me tell you something, introducing legislation that would be required to president releases tax returns and then using that to somehow justify the presidents tax returns is one of the worst excuses that i have ever heard of. you would think that considering the amount of time and practice that they have had trying to rationalize all this and make it sound so very good, they would be able to come up with something a little bit better than that. apparently not. that s really speaks doesn't it. the fact is, the reasons the democrats have offered for wanting president trump's tax returns back in 2016 and 2017, don't pass mustard any better than the ones that they're trying to battle right now. that is because they are not
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requesting the tax returns in order to investigatein a problem in the need of oversight at all, care about -- all they really care about is finding a pretext to bring this president down. as a member of the congress who knows firsthand of the importance of good oversight. that is what concerns me the most about this whole campaign that is going on in the other body. i happen to know a thing or two about oversight. over my career i have conducted oversight of the last seven presidential administrations. democrat and republican, i have called out both parties for doing things that they shouldn't be doing.
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and that is fair and i've always said that every single member of congress is duty-bound to conduct oversight of the federal government. in fact i remind every new member that i ran into in this body and president of the senate has for me tell him this, you do not need to have -- if you want to get a bill passed you have to have 51 vot 51 votes to get a p. but if you want to do oversight you only have to have one call. your own decision to do the oversight. the responsibility to conduct oversight is in ought to be regarded by each and every one of us as sick with sin. the power to conduct oversight flows directly from the constitution and is a member of the congress we owe it to the people we represent to preserve and protect as a tool for
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carrying out a legitimate constitutional responsibilities. i don't believe for a minute that when the framers created article one the power of congress to legislate but they had in mind was members using these powers to collect personal information on their political opponents in anse effort to destroy those political opponents. you know in all my years of conducting oversight i have never started with an end result and then work backwards in search of a reason for making it happen. that is not how oversight was done. oversight is about a advocating for transparency and with transparency becomes accountability in order to fix problems and to improve government not about searching
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for ways to soul division and teardown their political opponents. what the democrats are doing now looks a lot like the latter and more like the latter than the former. and that is what they are up to it is not oversight at all. when you strip away all of their pretext and when you strip out there's circular logic all you have are democrats who want to go after the president in any way that they can. they dislike him with a passion and they want his tax returns to destroy him. that is all that this whole process is about and its nixonian to the core. >> the senate will return next week for more nomination debate.
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when they do watch the senate live here on c-span2. >> health and human services secretary alex azor was on capitol hill today to explain his department 2020 budget request. among other issues he was asked about the trump administration renewed efforts to validate the affordable care act. you can watch that senate appropriations subcommittee tonight starting at eight eastern on c-span2. nato secretary general address a joint meeting at the house and senate and you can see his speech on the future of the nato alliance on sunday morning at 10:30 eastern on c-span. you can buy both events online at cspan.org and on the free c-span radio app. coming up this weekend on booktv. saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern
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where live in indianapolis, maryland for the annapolis books vessel. on sunday and noon eastern in depth the financial author and journalist joins us for a live conversation about her books and career. and then at 9:00 p.m. eastern on "after words" investigative reporter vicki ward examines the careers of jared kushner in a bunker trump in her book, kushner inc., greed ambition and corruption. watch for tv this weekend on c-span2. >> at the white house president trump attended his first meeting with opportunity and revitalization counsel. it was created to focus on disadvantaged communities. >> thank you very much i am thrilled to welcome everyone to the very first meeting of the white house opportunity and revitalization counsel. opportunity and revitalization

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