FORMER President Donald Trump has gone to federal court to prevent the Democrat-led House Ways and Means Committee from seeing his tax returns, which he has famously, or infamously, refused to publish.

The Trump tax returns are part of what the Committee says is its usual oversight of how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits presidents.

Yesterday morning the ex-President’s attorneys filed a 37-page court filing stating that the committee’s real intention was to embarrass Trump by obtaining his tax returns so Congress can publish politically damaging information.

Trump knew he was in trouble when the Justice Department last week reversed a 2019 decision and allowed members of the House of Representatives to see Trump’s returns under federal law, stating that the Treasury Department must give his tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee or Senate Finance Committee if either body requests them.

Trump’s lawyers argued that they would not “valid oversight requests”.

The filing stated: “The primary purpose of the requests is to obtain and expose Intervenors’ information for the sake of exposure, to improperly conduct law enforcement, or some other impermissible goal — not to study federal legislation.

“While House Democrats had offered countless justifications for obtaining the president’s tax returns, no one at the time had ever mentioned a desire to find out how the IRS audits presidents.

“The requests are not pertinent to legislation that is within the Committee’s jurisdiction and constitutionally valid.”

His lawyers added that the Democrat-led House committee’s efforts are simply political, claiming their goal “is to expose the private tax information of one individual — President Trump — for political gain”.

The filing stated: “The requests single out President Trump because he is a Republican and a political opponent.

“They were made to retaliate against President Trump because of his policy positions, his political beliefs, and his protected speech, including the positions he took during the 2016 and 2020 campaigns.”

Trump is the first president, and indeed presidential candidate, not to publish his returns in over 40 years. Speculation in the USA is that Trump acted to delay the inevitable and that his returns will eventually be published.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Dawn Johnsen said in a memo from the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that Trump’s tax information would “further the Committee’s principal stated objective of assessing the IRS’s presidential audit program — a plainly legitimate area for congressional inquiry and possible legislation”.

That memo would have been heavily scrutinised and is a strong indication that the Department of Justice believes that even the Supreme Court, with some of its membership picked by Trump, will side with the Government lawyers.

Federal judge, Trevor McFadden, who was appointed by Trump to the DC District Court, will consider Trump’s claim in court and will likely set a schedule for more proceedings. The court will also delay the IRS from turning over the tax returns immediately.