Trump's defense of hiding his tax returns takes friendly fire from a Republican senator.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) accidentally admitted that Congress has the right to see Trump's tax returns and that the reason stated by Democrats seeking those records is valid.
Congress has officially demanded that the IRS turn over Trump's tax returns from 2013 to 2018. Federal law states that Congress has this power.
"As chairman of the finance committee we could have opportunity to see those too," Grassley told Fox News on Monday.
Trump's lawyers have argued otherwise, with his personal attorney Jay Sekulow falsely asserting that Congress had overstepped its bounds with the request.
Grassley went on to make the case for why the public should see Trump's returns, though he didn't seem to understand he was doing so at the time.
"If you need to write legislation, then maybe you need some information from people that are avoiding taxes or using tax loopholes, or maybe not finding a way to get out and you want to change the laws," Grassley explained.
Trump has bragged in public about evading taxes, responding to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential debates that it "makes him smart" to do so.
Similarly, Trump's sole piece of signature legislation, the tax scam he ushered through Congress, benefits people in his purported economic class (the ultra-wealthy). Because Trump continues to hide his returns, it is unclear to the public how much his own personal gains factored into the nitty-gritty of the legislation.
Grassley's inadvertent admission — he opposes the public knowing Trump's finances — blows a hole in the White House's defense of the issue.
White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Democratic requests for Trump's returns are a "political stunt" and vowed that it "is not going to happen."
If Trump broke the law before assuming the presidency, or if he has written legislation with an eye towards personally profiting, the public should know about it.
Other presidential candidates had no such cloud hanging over them, as it has been a bipartisan tradition for decades to release returns. Hillary Clinton did it. As did Barack Obama, John McCain, and Mitt Romney.
Trump stood alone, and in the presidency, continues to stand alone on the topic. He asserts unbelievable claims that his finances remain under audit, while refusing to level with the public. His immediate predecessor in office, President Obama, always released his returns.
While trying to defend Trump, Grassley made a key mistake: He told the truth, and also made the case for why the country should know far more about Trump's secret finances.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.