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House Democrats schedule a hearing in a big formal step toward focusing on Trump's tax returns

Key Points
  • Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee's Oversight Subcommittee, announced the event will take place on Feb. 7.
  • The hearing in front of the Democratic-led panel is called "Legislative Proposals and Tax Law Related to Presidential and Vice-Presidential Tax Returns."
Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., leaves the Capitol after the last votes of the week in the House on December 13, 2018.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call Group | Getty Images

A House committee will hold a hearing next week on presidential tax returns as Democrats clamor for access to President Donald Trump's elusive financial information.

Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee's Oversight Subcommittee, announced the event will take place on Feb. 7. The hearing in front of the Democratic-led panel is called "Legislative Proposals and Tax Law Related to Presidential and Vice-Presidential Tax Returns."

It marks the new Democratic House majority's first formal step on the path to focusing on Trump's tax returns. The president refused to release the documents during the 2016 campaign, in a break with decades of precedent.

The party's left wing has agitated for Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., to take swifter action to get access to Trump's financial information. But Neal has said he is being cautious.

Neal told CNN on Tuesday that he was proceeding "quite judiciously."

"This is the beginning of a court case. I think the idea here is to avoid the emotion of the moment and make sure that the product stands up under critical analysis," he said. "And it will."

Democrats hope the returns can show whether Trump's decisions in office have affected his sprawling holdings. They are also seeking more information about any financial connections to Russia.

The president's attorney Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, has said that the president was in talks to build a Trump Tower Moscow through the day that he won the presidency, though he later walked those comments back.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin's efforts to influence the 2016 election is ongoing.

Trump has repeatedly claimed he cannot release his tax returns because they are under audit.

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