A dismissive Donald Trump showed congressional Democrats the back of his hand Thursday in what is shaping up as a major Washington battle over his personal income tax returns, telling reporters that House leaders can talk to his attorneys if they want to see the documents.
'They'll speak to my lawyers. They'll speak to the Attorney General,' he said in response to a question about the House Ways & Means Committee chair's demand for six years' worth of his tax filings.
Pressed on whether he would instruct the Internal Revenue Service to comply with the committee's formal request, he glared at the reporter and repeated: 'They'll speak to my lawyers, and they'll speak to the Attorney General.'
The Pennsylvania Avenue corridor between the White House and the U.S. Capitol saw a high-stakes tennis match about Trump's personal finances on Thursday, with the IRS caught in the middle.
America's federal tax agency sits just south of the well-worn urban route, a stone's throw from the Trump International Hotel, now the third most famous monument along the way.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had scolded Trump Thursday on the eastern end of the street, suggesting he would be more transparent if he didn't 'have anything to hide.'
President Donald Trump told congressional Democrats to 'speak to my lawyers' if they want to see his income tax returns
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had scolded Trump hours earlier, insisting that Democrats won't give up their quest 'just because you say no'
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (seen above at the Capitol on Tuesday) requested Trump's personal and business tax returns in a letter to the Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday – which was not a request of the president himself
'Show us the tax returns,' she demanded, adding the House Democrats are 'not walking away just because you say no the first time around.'
The White House said Thursday that President Donald Trump doesn't plan to release his income tax returns to Congress despite House Democrats' demands to see his last six annual filings.
Trump 'doesn't have any intention to release those returns,' Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said at the White House. She insisted, as the president has, that his returns are 'under audit,' and 'he doesn't anticipate that changing at any point anytime soon.'
Pelosi tut-tutted the White House hours later: 'If they don't have any concern about their taxes, they shouldn't be worried'
The president is under no legal obligation to release his tax returns but it has become a tradition for presidents to embrace the opportunity to be transparent about their personal and family finances in order to reassure voters that they don't havse financial conflicts of interest
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday that President Trump has no intention of releasing his tax returns
The Democrat-led House Ways and Means Committee hasn't asked Trump to turn over his own tax records. It requested the paperwork from the Internal Revenue Service.
That's a distinction that hasn't been lost on Democrats who now believe they have a way around the president's longstanding assertion that releasing complex tax returns during an audit would be unwise.
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, mocked him Thursday night on Twitter, writing: 'We didn't ask you.'
Reporters pressed Trump on Wednesday about what is seen as a typical expression of government transparency for presidents and candidates for the job.
'I've been under audit for many years because the numbers are big and I guess when you have a name, you're audited. But until such time as I'm not under audit, I would not be inclined to do that,' he said during a meeting with military leaders.
The president appeared surprised to learn how many years the Democrats' IRS request covered.
'Is that all?' he asked. 'Usually it's 10, so I guess they're giving up.'