House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got laughs Wednesday when she was asked about going after President Donald Trump’s tax returns and joked about arresting Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for keeping the returns private.
“Could you hold the Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin in contempt? Some Democrats have even raised the prospect of arresting the Treasury Secretary if he does not comply with congressional demands,” The Washington Post reporter Robert Costa asked Pelosi at the paper’s “116th Congress: State of Play” event.
“Well, let me just say that we do have a little jail down in the basement of the capitol,” Pelosi responded. “But if we were arresting all of the people in the administration, we would have overcrowded jail situation, and I’m not for that.”
But her joke may not have been historically accurate.
Axios busted the idea of a Capitol basement jail as a “myth” Sunday. As House Democrats issue subpoenas for information related to Trump on multiple fronts, they are considering some “long-shot measures.” But unfortunately for them, the space often assumed to be a jail in the Capitol is “used to store the cherished Lincoln Catafalque, the pedestal for caskets during state funerals.”
Pelosi also responded at the WaPo event to a Tuesday night story by The New York Times that claimed that Trump’s core businesses lost roughly $1 billion between 1985 and 1994. She called the story’s claims “nothing new.”
The Times said it received “information contained in the returns from someone who had legal access to it” and “confirmed significant findings using other public documents.”
The information is not from the more recent time period House Democrats are demanding to see.
House Democrats going after Trump’s tax returns will have to provide a legitimate legislative reason for why they want them should they take their quest to the courts. Lawmakers like House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal, who requested six years’ worth of Trump’s tax returns April 3, will need to provide a legitimate legislative reason for obtaining the documents, according to the courts.
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