U.S. President Donald Trump

Reuters

(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday held steady in his refusal to publicly release his tax returns, despite mounting pressure in Congress that is likely to spur a legal battle for the documents to be disclosed. 

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said Americans did not care about the issue and that his returns were being audited by the Internal Revenue Service, which tax and legal experts have said does not prevent their release. 

"I would love to give them, but I'm not going to do it while I'm under audit. It's very simple," Trump told reporters. 

Democrats are pursuing Trump's returns under a legal authority aimed at preventing interference from the White House in the Treasury's decision over whether to release the documents. 

 

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said on Tuesday that Treasury Department lawyers had held "informational" discussions with the White House about an expected request from House Democrats for the returns. 

As a presidential candidate in 2016, Trump broke with a decades-old practice of releasing tax returns publicly. He retains ownership in many enterprises, ranging from golf courses and hotels and other properties. 

If Congress takes the administration to court over Trump’s taxes, little case law would be available to help guide judges, legal experts have said.

(Reporting by Steve Holland and Tim Ahmann; Writing by Susan Heavey and Meredith Mazzilli; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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