erin burnett 4.14
Burnett: Is Trump hypocritcal on visitor logs?
02:09 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

The President will not release visitor logs

Spicer said Trump will not release his tax returns either

Washington CNN  — 

The President’s tax returns and White House visitor logs – both public information under the previous administration – will remain private under President Donald Trump.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday dealt another blow to transparency advocates, announcing that Trump’s 2016 tax returns are under audit and therefore would not be released, and defended the White House’s decision to reverse an Obama administration initiative and make White House visitor logs private.

“They are,” Spicer said of the 2016 tax returns being under audit.

Moments later, he added: “We’re under the same audit that existed, and so nothing has changed.”

Demonstrators march through downtown Houston demanding greater governmental transparency and the release of President Donald Trump's tax returns during a protest Saturday, April 15, 2017. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)
Tax marches across the US
01:15 - Source: CNN

Mandatory audit

And per federal law, the President and vice president’s taxes are audited annually.

The practice of doing a “mandatory examination” of the presidential and vice presidential tax returns has been in the Internal Revenue Manual since the Watergate era, according to the IRS.

The President always gets audited (and the veep too)

Both President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew became embroiled in personal tax controversies around the same time that the Watergate scandal was unfolding. Agnew ended up resigning after admitting to tax evasion.

Trump has refused to release his tax returns, breaking with decades of precedent by arguing that he would not release them while those returns are under audit, though there is nothing legally preventing him from doing so.

Pressed whether Trump was prepared to rule out ever releasing his tax returns, Spicer demurred: “I’ll have to get back to you on that.”

Spicer’s comment about Trump’s 2016 tax returns came a day before the federal tax filing deadline and followed a weekend of protests in cities across the country where protesters demanded Trump release his tax returns. Trump, though, has typically been granted an extension until the following October to file his taxes due to their complex nature.