Democrats open probe on Trump's taxes, Russia ties

Trump back to combative self after appeal for compromise

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, U.S., February 7, 2019.

"I'd suspect that Bob Mueller and his team are looking at that already and hopefully it's part of a report that is submitted to us shortly", Kind said, referring to the special counsel investigating Russian election-meddling and possible involvement by Trump's campaign.

It's true that an audit, once begun by the IRS, can take several years to complete, particularly for wealthy individuals like Trump with stakes in many business entities.

In 1974, both major party candidates disclosed tax returns for the first time, according to CRS, though President Gerald Ford released only "partial" tax returns.

Democrats say they want to see Trump's returns to be sure he's complying with tax laws, to examine his financial connections overseas, and find out to whom he owes money. We need border security. That number is far below the $5.7 billion that Trump has requested and repeatedly described as the number he wants met, but is in line with where people familiar with the talks thought an agreement may end.

The new openness comes after Trump delivered a well-received State of the Union speech in which he preached the value of bipartisanship. One of those, the Homeland Security spending bill, has been the big sticking point, with President Trump's request for wall money.

Pascrell has pushed for Trump's tax documents for more than a year, but said Republicans wouldn't cooperate when they controlled the House.

"I would recommend that this will probably be a good down payment and what else is lacking, the delta between what you want and what you get, there are other ways to do it, and I expect the president to go it alone in some fashion", Graham said.

It could take days to nail down final details and unexpected problems could develop, especially with Trump's penchant for head-snapping changes of mind. Shelby said that if the final agreement followed the outline now under discussion, he believed Trump "would sign it".

If the Trump administration refused the request, "We would be in uncharted territory", Yin said. "We'll see what happens", he said. "If I were finished with the audit, I would have an open mind to it". That could spark votes by Congress to block him, which Trump could veto but would still inflict political damage.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney confirmed this week, "If Congress won't participate or won't go along, we'll figure out a way to do it with executive authority".

Durbin said that Democrats don't rule out having some added barrier, but said the focus should be on technology to assist in drug interdiction.

"We will not surrender our constitutional responsibility of oversight", House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday. It is unclear how the agency will respond to that request and whether it will stall or resist efforts to turn over Trump's personal returns to the panel. "It would set a very risky precedent". Patrick Leahy of Vermont, said that negotiators have been working tirelessly and are "98, 99 percent" done but he was unsure if the president would sign it. Republicans said they did not expect to clinch a deal on Thursday but were close. "And the president, I think, has embraced the idea that there may actually be something better than a concrete wall would have been anyway". Lindsey Graham, a top GOP ally to Trump, also told reporters he planned to meet the President on Thursday - signaling the President's increasing engagement on an issue he has mostly left to Congress since ending the shutdown two weeks ago. Similar structural restrictions, which Democrats on the panel have said are paramount to any deal, are being discussed by negotiators in the current talks.

All of this is good news, of course, and it seems to be yet another sign that Republicans on Capitol Hill most definitely don't want to see a replay of the five-week shutdown that paralyzed the government and much of Washington from December 22nd until almost the end of January.

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