Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) on Tuesday called on House Speaker Paul Ryan to “move aside” and allow Democrats to investigate possible connections between the Russian government and the Trump administration.
Meanwhile, US Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena) was recently named to the Ways and Means Committee, which allows its members to examine the taxes of any American citizen, including the president. However, on Monday, Republican House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady of Texas blasted a proposal by Democratic Congressman Ben Pascrell of New Jersey seeking Trump’s tax returns.
“[On] my first day on the House Ways and Means Committee, we voted on language that would have required Mr. Trump to release his tax returns, as all other recent presidents before him have, but unfortunately, my Republican colleagues voted against it,” Chu wrote in an email to the Pasadena Weekly. “But this is not the end of the issue. We will continue pushing for transparency so that we can have confidence that the president is putting America’s interests first.”
Trump, who has refused to release his tax returns, is not required by law to do so, but every president since Richard Nixon has made his tax information public, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Some critics have speculated that Trump’s tax returns may contain information about the billionaire real estate mogul’s business dealings with Russia and other countries.
Shortly after Trump defeated Hillary Clinton for the presidency, reports began to circulate that Russia had interfered in the election, leading to calls for an investigation.
On Monday night, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned after several news agencies reported that the US Department of Justice had informed the White House that Flynn had not been truthful about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak while Barack Obama was still president.
GOP representatives have been slow to respond to those calls and on Tuesday again seemed to shirk that responsibility when Democrats called for hearings to get to the bottom of Flynn’s dealings with the Kremlin.
Schiff — the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence — said Flynn’s resignation does not end the controversy.
“Flynn’s departure does not end questions over his contacts with the Russians, which have been alleged to have begun well before Dec. 29,” Schiff said on Tuesday, referring to an alleged conversation between Flynn and Kislyak regarding economic sanctions that had been imposed on Russia by President Obama for that country’s alleged interference in the election.
“These alleged contacts and any others the Trump campaign may have had with the Kremlin are the subject of the House Intelligence Committee’s ongoing investigation,” Schiff said in an email to the Pasadena Weekly. “Moreover, the Trump administration has yet to be forthcoming about who was aware of Flynn’s conversations with the ambassador and whether he was acting on the instructions of the president or any other officials, or with their knowledge.”