Collins Open to Requesting Trump's Tax Returns for Russia Probe

Feb 22, 2017

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins says she's open to requesting President Donald Trump's tax returns if the documents are necessary to complete an ongoing probe into Russia's alleged interference in the November election. 

Collins was asked during the Maine Public call in program Maine Calling if she would support subpoenaing the president's tax returns. Collins at first said she wasn't sure such a request would be necessary, but added, "If it's necessary to get the answers then I suspect we would."

Trump refused to release his tax returns during the campaign, first claiming that he was under audit by the IRS. Kellyanne Conway, a spokeswoman for Trump, said after his inauguration that he would never release them because the American public does not care. 

But the president's financial history, and more specifically his business ties with Russia, have come under further scrutiny since the election. It has intensified since the dismissal of former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Flynn resigned after it was revealed that he discussed sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama Administration before Trump was inaugurated. 

Subsequent reports revealed members of Trump campaign were in contact with Russian intelligence agents. The reports were sourced to anonymous officials within U.S. intelligence agencies, who said the conversations between Trump's campaign and Russian intelligence agents had been intercepted.

The Senate Intelligence Committee had already committed to review Russia's alleged meddling in the election. Some members of the committee have expressed interest in calling Flynn to testify. 

Collins, a member of the intelligence committee, told Maine Public Wednesday that she wants Flynn to testify, although it's not clear if she wants that to happen in public or in a closed door session, which the committee frequently operates. 

"All of us are determined to get the answers," Collins said, adding that she is confident the inquiry will get to the bottom of the controversy. 

Collins also said she wanted the committee's final report to be public and she hoped some of the proceedings would be, too.