Speed Reads

not buying it

Fox News and MSNBC agree Trump's audit excuse is bogus

President Trump once again said on Wednesday he's not "inclined" to release his tax returns because he says they're under audit — but even Fox News believes his hands are probably tied at this point.

Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, has formally requested Trump's tax returns in a letter to the IRS, but the president batted down the suggestion, per The New York Times.

Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano on Thursday concluded that an audit doesn't matter, saying the "obscure statute" Neal cited says the committee can ask for anyone's tax returns without needing a reason. He also said that Trump's taxes being under audit would "not be a defense," and he wasn't sure what the legal argument against releasing them would be, per Mediaite.

Fox's analyst was in agreement with one over on MSNBC, with Jake Sherman saying on Morning Joe that it's the law that the committee "has the unilateral right to obtain any American's tax returns." Sherman noted that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin can perhaps "put up some roadblocks" by saying Trump is under audit, but he noted that "this is the law." MSNBC's Willie Geist, meanwhile, mocked the very idea that Trump is still under audit after years, quipping, "This is the longest audit in the history of audits, if in fact there is an audit." Earlier, Hardball's Chris Matthews said the situation is "black and white" because the law requires Trump to turn over his taxes when requested.

Those on Fox and MNSBC didn't agree, however, whether this is a good thing, with Napolitano expressing his outrage at this law he says he didn't even know existed until this week and fretting, "they did this to Donald Trump, they could do it to any of us."