Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) confers with Rep. Michael Welch (D-VT) during the testimony of Michael Cohen before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill February 27, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

"It's Time": Push Intensifies for Democrats to Use Cohen Testimony to Subpoena Trump Tax Returns

"Michael Cohen's testimony has confirmed what most Americans already know, Trump is a TAX CHEAT! Congress must obtain his tax returns so we can finally see the full extent of his criminality, if any."

Julia Conley

Tax justice groups on Friday called on Democrats to make use of the most illuminating parts of Michael Cohen's testimony at a House Oversight Committee hearing earlier this week—arguing that his detailing of President Donald Trump's long history of alleged tax fraud gives lawmakers ample reason to subpoena the president's tax returns.

Thanks largely to pointed questioning by first- and second-term legislators including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Cohen described how he witnessed Trump devaluing assets to avoid paying taxes on them and shared the names of specific Trump associates who also knew about this activity. Cohen also alleged that Trump's son, Donald Jr., and former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg repaid Cohen $130,000 in hush money he had given adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

Ocasio-Cortez's line of questioning was particularly credited by observers with building a case for subpoenaing the president's tax returns, enabling members of Congress to compare the returns with his financial statements to confirm the fraud.

The national advovacy group Tax March argued on social media that the Cohen hearing may open to door to a number of potential investigations into the president's financial history.

"The Cohen hearing demonstrated that there is a lot that Donald Trump could be hiding," the group wrote on Twitter. "Democrats must move forward with obtaining and releasing Trump's tax returns so the American people know the truth."

Americans for Tax Fairness also called on Democrats to use their control of the House to finally hold the president accountable for his alleged crimes.

An in-depth New York Times report published last October laid out allegations that Trump's empire was built on decades of financial deception, with the supposedly self-made billionaire actually reaping wealth from his father starting almost from birth, and saving millions in taxes by passing his inheritance through a fraudulent corporation.

Cohen's testimony finally provided Democrats with guidance on how to make the case for examining Trump's tax returns and calling other witnesses to give further details on the president's financial history.

According to the Washington Post, the House Intelligence Committee is planning to question Weisselberg on Trump's financial past. The panel has already called Felix Sater, a Trump associate who worked with Cohen to develop Trump Tower in Moscow, to testify on March 14. 

The House Financial Services Committee is planning to investigate the Trump Foundation, the president's now-closed charity, which Trump used to pay for a $60,000 portrait of himself.

"I think that's an area that should be looked at, because I think the foundation has been used by him to avoid paying taxes on money he’s earned," Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) told Politico.

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) told the Post that Cohen "set a very rich table. We're now looking at a 10-course meal."

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has the authority to subpoena Trump's tax returns, on Thursday called on Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.) to move forward with demanding their release.

"He brought out many situations where the tax returns are the only answer," Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, told ABC News.

"It's time," added Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) on Twitter.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Biden White House Dismisses WHO Call for Moratorium on Vaccine Boosters

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki touted U.S. vaccine donations to poor countries, but public health advocates have warned the Biden administration isn't doing nearly enough.

Jake Johnson ·


Democrats Demand Amazon and Facebook End Efforts to 'Sideline' FTC Chair Lina Khan

"Your efforts only add to the perception that you are attempting to bully your regulators, disarm the FTC, and avoid accountability rather than to strengthen ethics standards."

Jessica Corbett ·


Amnesty Follows House Dems' Letter by Imploring Biden to Close Gitmo 'Once and for All'

"This letter, signed by four House committee chairs, should send a clear message to President Biden: He has the political support to swiftly close the detention center at Guantánamo."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Truly Disturbing': Facebook Blasted for Blocking NYU Researchers Examining Ad Model and Misinformation

"It is disgraceful that Facebook is attempting to squash legitimate research that is informing the public about disinformation on their platform."

Jessica Corbett ·


After Decades-Long Grassroots Push, Key Senate Panel Votes to Repeal Iraq War Authorization

Rep. Barbara Lee, the only member of the U.S. House to vote against the AUMF in 2001, called the vote "a major victory in our fight to end forever wars."

Julia Conley ·