President Trump's attorney Jay Sekulow told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that the House Ways & Means Committee's demand that the IRS hand over the president's tax returns amounts to "using the IRS as a political weapon."
STEPHANOPOULOS: I have read the law, it does say the IRS shall turn over the returns after a legitimate request from the chairman.
JAY SEKULOW, TRUMP ATTORNEY: And the Supreme Court has said that you can do that if you have a legitimate legislative purpose. And with due respect to the congressman, he said there's been a lack of transparency. He thinks the president should have put forward his tax returns before he announced or when he announced his candidacy for president, which sounds interesting, but unfortunately, it's not the law for the United States. We don't have a requirement that presidents do that. This president decided not to because he has an ongoing IRS audit, so that's number one. What is the legitimate legislative purpose?
Number two, is the Supreme Court has said that on multiple occasions that congressional oversight cannot become law enforcement. So this idea that the real reason that the Congress and Chairman Neal has asked for these documents is because they want to know if the IRS is doing its job and auditing the president, well, they could ask the IRS what job are they doing? What are the audit procedures?
But this idea that you can use the IRS as a political weapon, which is what is happening here, is incorrect both as a matter of statutory law and constitutionally. We should not be in a situation where individual private tax returns are used for political purposes. As you just said, George, what stops another party from doing the same thing?
And by the way a lot of these congressmen...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is the president going to do that?
SEKULOW: No, no. He hasn't. Congress has.
A majority of the -- the majority party in the House has, the president has not. The president has not asked for Nancy Pelosi's tax returns, which, by the way, and it's in the letter that my colleague sent forward on this issue. They have not asked for or now for have produced, they have not produced their tax returns. It's not a requirement that they do, by the way.
So this idea that you're using a hearing, a Ways and Means hearing, about IRS enforcement as a way to get to the president's private individual and business tax returns makes no sense both constitutionally and statutorily. And, look, this I think this is going to be, if necessary, we're not at that point yet, if it has to be litigated, it will be litigated.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It is the decision of the IRS commissioner. Is the president going the order the IRS commissioner not to turn them over?
SEKULOW: The president isn't ordering anything. What we've done, and I disagree with the congressman here, George, as the president's counsel we have the right adds the president's counsel we have the right to protect his interests as a private citizen and as president.
And so what you have to look at here is -- the idea that congress would say, I'm not very
happy with the way George Stephanopoulos is handling his interviews with various members of my party, I'm going to look at his tax returns, if I was your lawyer, I would be objecting. And by the way, I do have a right to object and my colleagues that authored the letter have the right to reject, and that's exactly what has been done here.
The constitution and the statutes need to be filed. 6103 by the way overall so you know is a confidentiality provision with limited exceptions and again there has to be a legitimate legislative purpose. There is not one here.