Sanders: Congress Not Smart Enough To Look At Trump Taxes

I am continually mystified by the Trump White House and its public responses to controversies — responses that often magnify the legitimate concerns of the public. That was case this weekend when White House Press Secretary Huckabee Sanders attempted to come up with some plausible rationale for Trump continuing to refuse to release his taxes — a departure from decades of tradition. Sanders declared that “I don’t think Congress, particularly not this group of congressmen and women, are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that I would assume President Trump’s taxes will be.” It is an attempt to wrap an unjustifiable position within a raw insult to avoid the question. Trump has repeatedly promised to release his taxes but continues to cite the fact that he has been audited as a reason for not turning over the records — a position widely rejected by both tax and legal experts. Now it appears that the collective intelligence of Congress is a barrier to disclosure.

Sanders continued “My guess is most of them don’t do their own taxes, and I certainly don’t trust them to look through the decades of success that the president has and determine anything.” It is an indicative statement of the new reality in politics where insults replace dialogue. It often seems like our politics have been reduced to the appearance of a professional wrestling match and the the rhetoric of a shock jock.

Obviously, Congress has some of the most experienced experts on tax laws and policy on the staff. I have previously questioned the rationale for seeking all of these years in taxes even though Congress often prevails in such fights.

The problem is time. Congress clearly intends to go to court but good lawyers could easily keep this issue tied up in the courts through the 2020 election. That does not excuse Sanders or this latest transparently weak response to the demand of Congress. It was a statement unworthy of the White House Press Secretary and the Administration.

123 thoughts on “Sanders: Congress Not Smart Enough To Look At Trump Taxes”

  1. Releasing Presidential tax returns may be tradition, but it is unwise when the apparent only reason for the request is to get ammunition for more partisan attacks for the purpose of gaining power – as opposed to any appropriate use.

  2. I understand there are people on this site who do not believe in facts or reality, but if this was a Democrat President who lied and hid his money and taxes from the American people, we would have to listen and watch the right-wing run around saying the president needs to be impeached. But again, just to prove what a hypocrite really is, they have no problem with Trump doing just that.

    1. we did go through that, it was bill clinton and his wife, whitewater ring a bell?>
      and it ended up being a wash. lol. get it? money laundering investigation. not funny, come on!

      rich people have complicated taxes, quit trying to make hay over it.

    2. What if he were a democrat un-“president” who wasn’t even eligible for the office? How ’bout that; not a “natural born citizen,” possessing the foreign allegiances, such as anti-colonialism, of a foreign citizen father and not now and never will be eligible? Your problem is that you have no grasp of American freedom and free enterprise (ask yourself what Americans are free of – answer: government) or the literal, clear and obvious, meaning and intent of the explicit words of the English language of the Constitution.

    3. but if this was a Democrat President who lied and hid his money and taxes from the American people,

      Why would you need to see Trump’s tax returns when you clearly have evidence to make such an allegation? Or is this more of the he’s obviously guilty, so we need to gather the evidence to prove it? Just more of the Kavanaugh hearing approach: Guilty as charged; provide your returns to prove you’re innocent.

      1. I’m not sure I would attempt to hide my money and records INSIDE the IRS. That seems like a contradiction in terms. I thought the IRS was the relevant tax law enforcement agency. Where better for taxes to be? There is something very “FISHY” about the post above – very fishy indeed.

  3. Visualize Auntie Maxine Waters hitting a joint with Snoop Dog in South Central while perusing the complexity of IRS regulations as applied to the esoteric strategy and maneuver of the vast and varied assets of the financial domain of President Donald J. Trump.

    I’ll wager that they are swiftly overwhelmed by a serious case of the “munchies.”


    “It is an indicative statement of the new reality in politics where insults replace dialogue”.

    That “new reality” is Donald Trump; a deliberately polarizing president. Yet professor Turley, in another column today, wonders why Attorney General Barr has found himself a lightening rod with regards to the Mueller Report.

    1. i agree that he is deliberately polarizing, i disagree that is necessarily bad. it is a deep part of our human instincts and fundamentally tied to the question of group survival

      “In The Concept of the Political, [Carl] Schmitt defined “the political” as the eternal propensity of human collectivities to identify each other as “enemies”—that is, as concrete embodiments of “different and alien” ways of life, with whom mortal combat is a constant possibility and frequent reality. Schmitt assumed that the zeal of group members to kill and die on the basis of a nonrational faith in the substance binding their collectivities refuted basic Enlightenment and liberal tenets. According to Schmitt, the willingness to die for a substantive way of life contradicts both the desire for self-preservation assumed by modern theories of natural rights and the liberal ideal of neutralizing deadly conflict, the driving force of modern European history from the 16th to the 20th century.” -Brittanica

      1. Kurtz, you lost me when you said polarization is not ‘necessarily bad’. I tuned out right at that spot.

        1. I tuned out right at that spot.

          Your lack of intellectual curiosity is a weakness, not a strength. If someone makes a comment that challenges my understanding of something, I’m obligated to try and understand it, before I reject it. How else are we to expand our understanding if we close our minds to new and perhaps radical ideas?

          Example: do you believe the Democratic Party wouldn’t love the entire electorate be polarized around their platform?

  5. Tradition; code word for conditioning. It certainly isn’t a legal argument. Same with the term Presidential; as in Trump is not being very presidential when tweeting. What ever happened to just being constitutional? Are the Democrats admitting President Trump has done nothing to be impeached over? Are they admitting they cannot defeat him on policy, so they’ve got to get a hold of his tax returns? Are they admitting the IRS is so incompetent and/or the tax code is so outrageous that Congress must do their job for them? Does anyone seriously believe the Democrats will get his returns, analyze them and declare, they look to be in order?

    1. Agree. And might I add, is Sanders wrong? Do we really believe a Pelosi “We need to pass this so we can find out what’s in it” could look at a tax form and comprehend it?

  6. Two of the last 9 presidents (Trump and Jimmy Carter) have been business proprietors while in office. Carter’s holdings were in a notional ‘blind trust’ with the family lawyer as trustee. At the time Carter took office, his brother had been the operations manager for > 13 years. It was a much smaller enterprise than the Trump Organization.

    You’ll recall also that John Zaccaro in 1984 was quite resistant to making financial disclosures. His wife explained his complaint thus: in the real estate business, when others know your positions, you’ve been placed at a disadvantage in negotiations.

    You’re also assuming a degree of mutual courtesy and a degree of good faith that simply isn’t there. The Kavanaugh hearings were less than a year ago.

    1. Tabby, if Trump’s taxes are too complicated for public presentation, then Trump had no business running for president.

      It’s not like the public should accommodate Trump by saying, “Well if your taxes are too complicated we don’t need to see them”.

      Yet that’s precisely what Trump expects.

      1. if Trump’s taxes are too complicated for public presentation, then Trump had no business running for president.

        Correct, but not in the way you think. Trump’s business was not running for President. His business was his business while his campaign and presidency have been a completely different sort of business. Contrast that with nearly every other candidate and their business has been all about running for president.

        Once again you make a comment that confirms that Jonathan Gruber was spot on with his assessment of the average voter. I’ll modify your statement, it should read:

        if the public is too stupid to understand when they are being played by politicians, then they have no business voting.

        1. You don’t really understand who the Constitution is supposed to protect, do you? What happens to this Country if sayholes like Mr. Trump get a free pass to lie to the public like it’s a big joke, while holding any office nevermind that of President? You speak like things only matter when they effect you and your ‘side’ in a negative fashion. This isn’t a football game. If you succeed in denigrating Democrats to the extreme then you break the system. And vice-versa. That’s why Democrats usually don’t rise to the nasty Repuglican bait….they understand the foundations of what is at stake…. Trump will just pack up his little outfit and go to a nice white Northern Country and start over….can you?

        2. Olly, should we just make a rule that if a presidential candidate’s taxes are complicated, no one should have to see them? Would that simplify things for you?

          And should that same rule apply to cabinet appointees? Again, if their taxes are highly complicated, they simply get a pass?

          1. should we just make a rule that if a presidential candidate’s taxes are complicated, no one should have to see them? Would that simplify things for you?

            Were those supposed to be cogent questions?

            Today is the end of my tax season and I can tell you every return tells a different story. A very simple return can have a very complicated story behind it. The returns are the product of varying degrees of tax planning. Usually the more complex the returns, the more sophisticated was the planning that went into its development. I can assure you the auditing of Trump’s tax returns requires an array of IRS forensic accountants and lawyers with expertise in a variety of areas. The likelihood the Democrats in Congress have the time, expertise and objectivity necessary to review his returns and then be prepared to confidently report their findings is absolutely nada.

            This is why no candidate running for office should be required to release their tax returns. They should be required to prove they have filed as required by law.

      2. No, you are making up a requirement that does not exist in law

        He is not required to produce them. Feel free to draft a law and pass it Democrats, in the meantime, quit making stuff up!

      3. Irrelevant. I guess there were no applicable talking points sent out today in regard to why I actually said.

  7. Congress needs create a GET TRUMP committee.
    That way all the billions they are burning thru can be committed to one War Room against the Enemies of the State aka Trump and all other American Citizens who don’t vote Democrat and don’t particularly want to die under tyrrany, fascism and totallitarinism.
    This will streamline the process of using taxpayer money against the people paying those taxes to use up all of the billions budgeted to guarantee next years increase, facilitate the Congressional pile on, create a venue to strategize together and help each other write bills that dismantle the United States Constitution in order expand their best abuses of power into laws against all.
    The minority and majority leaders can appoint the best qualified member to head each sub-committee and that member will be in charge of creating new taxpayer funded, Constitution Free ways to GET TRUMP, desensitize American Citizens to the daily assault on their own Constitutionally Protected Freedoms and rebranding the GET TRUMP Committee’s efforts so as to hide their real intentions and make The People forget the fact that what can be done to one can be done to all if you can just get the passive consent of the governed by starting with an unpopular victim and malign them enough.
    The sub-committee head will report back to the rest on the sucess or failure of each gambit and the GET TRUMP Comittee can then tailor their next goebbelist propaganda blitz to nudge the results.
    For heading the TRUMP$ TAXE$
    Sub-Committee, analyzing and interpreting his tax returns I nominate the most obvious choice, the person with an economics degree from Boston University, that Brilliant Queen of Magic Unicorn Money, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
    Bonus: On page one of her report Alex can throw in some kick ass mixed drink recipes which, trust me, will be sorely needed to get thru the rest of her 140 character report.

  8. What members of Congress are expert at is exempting themselves from regulations that apply to everyone else.

  9. Go find the video of Maxine Waters questioning the CEOs of major banks about student loans only to be told that banks have not made student loans since the government nationalized the program around ten years ago. Then tell me how smart members of Congress are regarding taxes and finance.

  10. Donald Trump is the Michael Cohen of the Republican Party. He was hired to be its “fixer.” Like Cohen, he is a chronic and habitual liar. His enablers, supporters and defenders will live to regret their decision.

  11. Malcolm, If Dems somehow succeed in forcing Trump/IRS to turn over tax returns then what is stopping this precedent for all congress and federal employees. This would get blown so wide open that a federal agency would need to be created to handle the review of all these tax returns. Wait a minute, we already have a federal agency that would be capable of and already handling reviews of all these tax returns i.e. IRS. Lefty loons either not capable of or choose not to see this.

  12. Breaking tradition is not breaking law. This certain Congress has shown they are only interested in destroying President Trump by any means necessary. If not through “Russian collusion” then obstruction of justice. If not obstruction of justice then through his taxes. Ithere was something untoward in President Trump’s taxes, do we NOT think, given the weaponization of the IRS by Obama, those things would have been “leaked” during the campaign? This is another attempt by Democrats unhappy with the outcome of the 2016 election to take down a duly elected United States President.

    1. Too true. If they wanted Queensberry rules, they should have stuck to them. It’s war now.

      You can never tell in dealing with partisan Democrats if you’re facing cluelessness or sociopathy.

      1. Ignorant of even recent history. Look up the SC Bush v Gore ruling – specifically declared a non-precedent – GOP filibusters since 2006, stealing a SC seat, and the Hastert rule.

        1. I can’t imagine someone not on the payroll somewhere whose head works this way.

          1. probably because you work for a living and value your own time

            a lot of democrat shills and internet keyboard activists are motivated by mostly by ideology, which revs their little engines, and the ideology is supremely pragmatic. say whatever you think will help, it’s about as complicated as that

            Trump follows that kind of pragmatism in his communications, and that’s part of why they hate him. he moves about from one thing to another with facile grace, and it frustrates them he just calls the tune and keep on a fiddlin while they are fussing over the last dance on yesterday’s card

      2. Better hope they are clueless. But prepare for the greater likelihood, they are just sociopaths. Or to put it differently

        “si vis pacem– para bellum!”

  13. DNC and DNC cheerleaders like Rachel Maddows had no clue how to interpret Trump 2005 tax return which was leaked. So if that and lefty Congress handling of Trump-Russia hoax are any indication, then Sanders assertion is accurate. Renewed interest by lefty loons in Trump tax returns is just sour grapes, all part of Witch Hunt 2.0 strategy

    1. Wally, This is another reason that Trump should not voluntarily release his tax returns. Why would anybody voluntarily subject themselves to such scrutiny knowing full well that returns being requested solely for the purpose of political destruction.

      1. I think that the Democrats overstepped their authority by asking for the president’s tax return. However, I strongly believe that there needs to be a law that requires the publication of the last 10 years’ tax returns of every person who is a presidential candidate on April 15 of the election year. It’s called transparency. Also, several states have passed laws that require that all candidates on each state’s presidential ballot release his/her taxes upon being placed on that state’s ballot. This may prevent the current president from appearing on the ballot in several states.

  14. The media continues to show video of various Congressmen and Congresswomen who rant about no nonesense things.
    There is an old song about the old South which has some relevance:

    “…went in dumb.. come out dumb too!
    hustlin round DC in their alligator shoes…
    We are keeping the Trumpster down!

    We’re Rednecks, Rednecks!
    We don’t know our arse from a hole in the gournd..
    We’re Rednecks…
    Keepin the Trumpster down!

  15. Professor….With all due respect, a departure from “decades of tradition” is what this country has needed.
    Good for President Trump.
    “Decades of tradition” for the presidency also includes: men only, straight men only, married men– with a few exceptions, and Christian men only.
    We hired Trump to carry out the constitutional duties of the presidency. He seems to be fulfilling that job. The fact that he is not doing it in a traditional, conventional manner is upsetting to some, but refreshing to so many more.

  16. If, the only way that Congress or anyone else can prove allegations of Trump tax fraud, bank fraud, contractual fraud, etc. is by looking at his tax forms, then why are we paying billions of dollars for 17 different secret service agencies to sleuth out information on US citizens as well as victims of US surveillance around the world? If those 17 agencies cannot provide Congress with accurate information about Trump’s long history of criminal activity, then there is no basis for believing any information they provide.

    1. Dumbocrats can glean much more information from Trump financial disclosures submitted in conjunction with 2016 election. Demanding tax returns ten days after Trump-Russia hoax proven to be failed scud missile is just political posturing/grandstanding (Witch Hunt 2.0)

      1. Don’t look now, Bill, but Sam just called upon the US IC to spy on Trump’s tax returns. I wonder what Trump would have to say about that.


    The Constitution Is 400 Years Old and More Pearls From Sheila Jackson Lee

    The Democratic congresswoman could give the craziest Republican a run for his money with her history of wild statements.

    Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas proclaimed this week that the Constitution is 400 years old. In other words, its writing would predate the Pilgrims. But while she may be spending her time avidly re-watching the Pocahontas in hopes of getting a glimpse of John Smith jotting down the phrase “We The People,” you can read some more of Jackson Lee’s greatest hits below:

    If You Believe They Put a Man on Mars

    In 1997, while on a trip to the Mars Pathfinder operations center in California, Jackson Lee asked if the Pathfinder had succeeded in taking a picture of the flag planted on Mars by Neil Armstrong in 1969. Needless to say, Jackson Lee, then a member of the House Science Committee, had confused Mars with the Moon. (Despite the alliterative names, they are very different astral bodies. Mars is a planet that orbits the Sun and has never been visited by man. In contrast, the Moon, which is a satellite of Earth and orbits our planet, has been visited six different times by astronauts).

    Two Vietnams, One Gaffe

    While Jackson Lee is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, she seems to be badly in need of a new atlas. In 2010, she compared the war in Afghanistan to Vietnam, an analogy that has often been invoked by Democrats. But the lesson she took from that was unique, to say the least. “Today, we have two Vietnams, side by side, North and South, exchanging and working.” Jackson Lee went on to caution: “We may not agree with all that North Vietnam is doing, but they are living in peace. I would look for a better human rights record for North Vietnam, but they are living side by side.” South Vietnam has not existed for almost 40 years since North Vietnamese forces took Saigon and reunified the former French colony in 1975.

    The Tea Party Took My Baby Away

    In a workshop around the 2010 convention of the NAACP in Kansas City, Jackson Lee said that the Klansmen of the past are now Tea Party members. In her somewhat incoherent statement, the Texas congresswoman said “All those who wore sheets a long time ago have now lifted them off and started wearing uh, clothing, uh, with a name, say, I am part of the tea party.” She then went criticize these Tea Partiers for being among “those who said Congresswoman Jackson-Lee’s braids were too tight in her hair.”

    Michael Jackson, Global Humanitarian

    After the 2009 death of Michael Jackson, Sheila Jackson Lee went to Los Angeles to speak at the memorial service of the pop star where she mourned him as “someone who will be honored forever and forever and forever and forever.” The congresswoman ended her valedictory to a man she described as “our icon” by saying “Michael Jackson, I salute you.” While speaking, she held up a copy of House Resolution 600, which she introduced to honor the best-selling musical artist. Her resolution though didn’t go anywhere in the House. After all, very few members of Congress were eager to mourn a man with a well-documented history of allegations of sexual predation on young boys.

    You Stupid Motherf…… and Other Friendly Nicknames

    Jackson Lee has a well-documented history of being the worst employer on Capitol Hill. With plenty of job security representing a safe Democratic district, she goes out of her way to demean and abuse members of her staff. As Jonathan Strong, then of the Daily Caller documented in 2011, she constantly referred to one staff member as “You Stupid Motherf…….” threw her cell phone at another and demanded to be chauffeured by car when travelling between House office buildings (which are connected by tunnels) and that staffers run to the supermarket at 2 a.m. to buy garlic supplements for her. The congresswoman was also known to proclaim angrily ‘”What am I a prostitute? Am I your prostitute? You can’t prostitute me.”

    Where Is My Seafood Meal?

    Early in her tenure in Congress, back in the days when airlines still served food, Jackson Lee would demand the ability to make multiple first class reservations on Continental Airlines and then cancel them freely according to her schedule. The airline did not appreciate this. The culminating point was when Jackson Lee boarded a flight back to her Houston district and discovered the first class menu didn’t include the seafood option that she wanted. The congresswoman started screaming “Don’t you know who I am? I’m Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Where is my seafood meal? I know it was ordered!”

    1. A couple of odd facts about SJL

      1. She isn’t divorced. You’d think her husband would have run screaming across the state line by now.

      2. She has two children. Among them is her daughter was trained in horticulture and has a normal job. She’s supervisor of landscaping at the Houston Airport.

      I’m betting these are some very forgiving people.

  18. Congress has no God-given, or self derogated, right to view the tax returns of Presidents or Presidential candidates. It has been done as a matter of tradition. If Congress wants that power, then let them pass a law to that effect. And, oh, by the way, are Senatorial candidates required to show their tax returns? If not, why not?

    1. Senators do not have the power to fire The Commissioner of the IRS, The Secretary of the Treasury nor any team of lowly IRS auditors. The POTUS does have that power. BTW, that’s the basis for the Congressional request for Trump’s tax returns. To find out whether Trump has been interfering with the IRS audit of Trump’s tax returns.

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