The Spectrum

One-on-One: Sen. Sherrod Brown on the Mueller Report, Trump's tax returns and more

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — President Donald Trump and the White House claimed victory and vindication after Attorney General William Barr said there was no collusion and released a redacted version of the 448-page Mueller Report.

Democrats reacted with outrage, saying Barr tried to whitewash the report and demanded testimony from Barr and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Now, congressional hearings will be scheduled as Democrats say they have a responsibility to get to the truth.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) told NBC4 that Members of Congress should have access to an unredacted copy of the report and that the public should see most of it too.

“I think the public should see all of it, maybe very lightly redacted,” Brown said.

The main concern for most Democrats, Brown included, is that an attorney general appointed by Trump, who once voiced his opposition to the special counsel’s investigation, decided what should be released and what should be redacted.

“He’s an attorney general on a very short leash. He knows if he says something or does something the president doesn’t like, He’ll be fired like that,” Brown said. “This attorney general is more of a political hack than he is a chief law enforcement officer.”

Democrats are also fighting to see the president’s tax returns, with House Democrats subpoenaing banks and Trump’s accountant as they seek information on the president’s financial activity.

“I think they wanna know, is he using his job to enrich his family?” Brown said. “I think he is to some degree.”

Brown pointed to a Pulitzer Prize-winning report from the New York Times last October that detailed alleged tax evasion on Trump’s part.  

“All of those things are part of his public record,” Brown said. “I know 50% of Ohio that voted for Trump doesn’t really want to hear that, but it’s pretty important we know what the president [does], where he comes from in terms of what he does.”

Brown also took aim at Trump’s tax plan and said Democrats are working on a plan that would right the wrongs in the president’s plan.

“Our Working Families Tax Relief Act is pretty simple,” Brown said.

Under the proposal Democrats are currently working on, the Earned Income Credit (EIC) and the Child Tax Credit would be expanded. Brown said that right now, families and even single people are struggling.

“If you’re slightly above the poverty level, you’re taxed back into poverty because of the payroll tax,” he said.

Passing a new tax plan would require getting enough support from Republicans, something that may be hard to do in a divided Congress. Brown said that they should be able to get enough support from both sides of the aisle.

“I’m hopeful and I’m not certain, but I think it’s likely,” he said, pointing to the last time he worked on expanding tax credits when he was able to get enough support from both parties.


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