While some progressive Democratic lawmakers have clamored for the release of Trump's tax returns, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters on Wednesday that it's "appropriate" to take a more cautious approach and hold a hearing before acting to obtain the documents.
"Where does it end?"
The tax returns of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, other lawmakers or federal employees could be in jeopardy, he warned.
In one hearing room, Democrats kicked off their pursuit of the president's tax returns. "Every single American has the right to privacy".
The committee, which is now headed by Democrat Adam Schiff of California, hopes Mr. Mueller will be able to prosecute instances of perjury among some of President Donald Trump's current and former colleagues that have come under the investigation's crosshairs.Meanwhile the same Committee launched a new probe into Trump's foreign business deals to determine if the President's decisions on Russian Federation might have been influenced by his desire for personal financial gain.
Trump's tax returns have been the subject of intense speculation since he refused to release them during the 2016 presidential campaign.
But it soon became the first real skirmish between Trump's defenders in Congress and newly empowered Democrats since the House changed hands last month.
Also in the mix is a key element of the Democratic proposal: $500 million in money to upgrade facilities at the border so the conditions are more humane and medically safer for asylum-seeking families and children.
"I look at the legitimate goal and the legal objective and I don't see it", said LaHood.
A 1924 law gives authority to the chair of the Ways and Means Committee, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and the chair of the Joint Committee on Taxation to request in writing taxpayer information from the Treasury Department.
Joseph J. Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project, agreed that presidential candidates disclosing their tax returns is "tradition, not a law".
The Democrats tried and failed several times to obtain Trump's returns as the minority party in Congress.
Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has handed off the matter to his oversight subcommittee and its chairman, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), and not all Democrats have an appetite for the coming legal and political battle.
Republicans also parroted Trump's own reason as to why he has never released his tax returns, suggesting it would be unwise to do so while the president is under audit.
Some of the witnesses - a crew of tax and ethics experts - have urged Congress to demand them, arguing that it would provide answers to whether the President, who has maintained ownership of his business, is benefiting from public office. "In terms of the tax issue, it's not a question of just sending a letter". Democrats are trying to limit the Trump administration's ability to detain border crossers, preferring alternatives such as ankle bracelets.
In his State of the Union Address, Trump slammed Democrats for their investigations, which are being led by multiple committees and extend beyond the scope of his tax returns. "I think it will reveal a lot".
In early December, "Presidential Harassment" - also known as the "phony Russia Witch Hunt" - caused his plummeting approval rating.
"I would expect the President to use every legal means he can to keep that from happening".
"I expect to meet the Friday deadline", Representative Nita Lowey of NY, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, said Wednesday. "It's just as wrong (as) if Nixon were doing it".
The argument has been either that Democrats were actually the ones who had caved by agreeing to enter into negotiations after Trump pushed them into it, or that Trump had shrewdly set the table to declare a national emergency for the wall that the public would rally behind, now that they'd seen him being flexible enough to reopen the government.
"I think Ways and Means should focus their time making sure of how strong this economy is today, of how we can make it stronger", said McCarthy, a California Republican.