Trump stays mum on tax returns, despite mounting pressure

WASHINGTON -- There is still a good deal of mystery over President Trump’s finances.

As millions of Americans filed their taxes Tuesday, Mr. Trump made no mention of his. Defying 40 years of protocol, Mr. Trump refuses to release his tax returns, citing an ongoing audit. The IRS has said that does not bar any taxpayer from releasing returns. 

At a rally in Wisconsin Tuesday, Mr. Trump said his administration was on its way to fulfilling his campaign promise of overhauling the federal tax code.

“We’re in very good shape on tax reform,” Mr. Trump said.

“I think you’ll see we’ll have an amazing code,” Mr. Trump said on the campaign trail. “It will be simple, it will be easy, it will be fair.”

But Democrats say they won’t work with Mr. Trump unless he releases his own filings.

“It’s going to make it much harder to pass tax reform with the president not releasing his tax returns because everything he proposes, people will say, I wonder if he’s doing it for the public, or for himself,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.  

The White House insists voters do not care about the tax returns, but Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton faced tough questions about it Sunday during a townhall.

“As far as I’m aware, the president says he’s still under audit,” Cotton said to boos.

A leaked copy of Mr. Trump’s 2005 return showed he paid $38 million in federal taxes on $150 million in income, but it did not disclose the sources of Mr. Trump’s income or to whom he owes money.

Those key details should be included in financial disclosure forms, but the White House is still deciding whether the president will release his next month.

“When you look at a financial disclosure form, it lists every asset, every debt you owe, where you’re getting your money from, where your income is derived from,” said White House spokesman Sean Spicer. “It is a much more comprehensive understanding.”

Democrats say they will continue to press for financial transparency. But California Sen. Dianne Feinstein was jeered at a town hall for not doing enough.

Her staff is investigating whether Mr. Trump or his family violated a law that prohibits them from accepting payments from foreign governments.

“That new staff is looking very closely at the emoluments clause, as well as at whether we can, in fact, deny certain federal payments for business trips of his sons,” Feinstein said.

A spokesperson for the Trump Organization told CBS News that the company is tracking all profits earned from the foreign governments who are either tenants or staying at Trump properties -- and the Trump Organization plans to donate that money to the treasury at the end of the year.

  • Margaret Brennan

    Principally assigned to the State Department, Margaret Brennan also serves as a CBS News general assignment correspondent based in Washington, D.C.