President Trump reacted on Wednesday evening to the House Ways and Means Committee formally requesting six years of his tax returns from the IRS, saying, "Usually it's 10, so I guess they're giving up."
He did not say anything about the IRS releasing his tax returns, instead declaring that he's "under audit, despite what people say. We're working that out. I'm always under audit, it seems." He surmises he's been "under audit for many years because the numbers are big and I guess when you have a name, you're audited." Trump added that until he's no longer under audit, he "would not be inclined" to released his tax returns.
Previous presidents and presidential candidates voluntarily released their tax returns, but Trump has not followed in this tradition, repeating since his campaign days that because he is under audit, he can't make them public. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has argued that "people don't care" about his tax returns, and Trump has also said that because they are "extremely complex," the public "wouldn't understand them."
During his congressional testimony in February, Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, said he didn't know if Trump was under audit during the 2016 campaign. Cohen said Trump made statements suggesting he didn't want tax experts to start "ripping" his returns to pieces, resulting in an audit and "taxable consequences, penalties, and so on."