Cohen On Trump Blocking Tax Return Release: He Doesn’t Want Scrutiny From Experts

Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 27, 20... Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 27, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 27, 2019 4:55 p.m.

President Trump is withholding his tax returns because he doesn’t want outside experts scrutinizing him and causing him to be audited or penalized, his former fixer Michael Cohen testified to Congress Wednesday.

Cohen was asked by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) about Trump’s claims — in defending his norm-busting refusal to publicly release the returns — that he is under an audit. An audit, in theory, would not prevent a taxpayer from releasing his or her returns, Khanna noted.

Cohen said he sought documentation of such an audit to help him to respond to press inquiries about the returns, but never received it.

The former Trump fixer was asked about Trump’s reasons for not turning over his tax returns.

Cohen said that Trump told him that “what he didn’t want is to have an entire group of think tanks that are tax experts run through his tac returns and start ripping it into pieces.” He said he feared such scrutiny would result in him being audited and ultimately facing taxable consequences or penalties, Cohen testified.

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