House Republicans on Tuesday blocked an attempt by Democrats to use an obscure law to obtain President Trump's tax returns from the IRS, the AP reports. Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee tried to frame the issue as a matter of national security. They questioned whether Trump has any investments in Russia. The move came a day after Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign over conversations he had with Russian officials before Trump took office. The Ways and Means Committee has legal authority to obtain confidential tax records. The committee could then vote to make them public.
On Tuesday, committee Democrats tried to amend a routine annual oversight plan to insert a provision that called for obtaining Trump's tax returns. Republicans blocked it on a straight party-line vote, 23-15. Republican Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said the panel should only use its power to ensure that tax laws are being administered properly—not to investigate the president. "As chairman of this committee I will not allow Washington to return to the bad old days when government officials used their powers to intimidate, harass, and destroy their political enemies," Brady said. "If Congress uses its power to rummage around the president's tax returns for political purposes, what prevents it from doing the same to average Americans?"