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Previous story Trump ally Lindsey Graham thinks the President should release tax returns Next story
Published on September 18, 2020 1:39 AM

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Washington - President Donald Trump has long resisted releasing his tax returns in a break with historic precedent, but even one of his closest allies in the Senate thinks he should.

Asked if Trump should release his tax returns, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told CNN on Thursday, "Yeah, I think everybody should. I've said that for a long time."

Graham has sought to make financial disclosure an issue in his reelection by releasing 11 years of state and federal tax returns for press review and demanding that his Democratic opponent, Jaime Harrison, do the same. "What is he hiding?" Graham tweeted last Saturday.

Harrison has since released the details of several years of past tax returns. South Carolina newspaper The State reported earlier this week that after asking both campaigns for candidate tax returns, Harrison's campaign let the newspaper review his returns from 2012 through 2018.

In response to a call from Graham for him to release tax returns, Harrison tweeted on Tuesday, "Done. Now do President Trump."

A recent poll from Quinnipiac University showed the two candidates tied with 48% of likely voters supporting Graham and 48% backing Harrison. That follows an August Quinnipiac poll that had the two candidates tied, with 44% each among registered voters. Harrison, a former state party chairman, has been outraising Graham, bringing in about $14 million in the second quarter compared to Graham's $8.4 million.

Graham downplayed the new poll's result and projected confidence in the race, saying, "We're leading and we're taking it seriously."

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the campaign arm for Senate Democrats, announced on Thursday that it is making a seven-figure investment in support of the Harrison campaign.

Pressed on whether this is the hardest race he's faced, Graham said, "Yeah, I mean in the sense that anybody spends $80 million against you, that makes it hard, but structurally we're in good shape. It's a center-right state, and he's on the wrong side of a bunch of issues that matter and we'll do fine, but we've got to take it seriously. We've got to match him money-wise, we've been outraised two to one."

Trump is the first president in the modern era not to release any personal tax returns, something Democrats and activists have been clamoring for throughout his presidency.

The President has repeatedly claimed that he is under audit and won't release his tax returns as a result, triggering a lengthy legal battle for his financial records.

This isn't the first time Graham has indicated he believes Trump should release his tax returns. He has previously said that everyone running for the White House in 2020 should release their tax returns.

Asked on Thursday if he wants to see Trump come in to help him in the race, Graham responded, "We're doing well with the President. I just need to identify him (Harrison) as more liberal than the state, which he is, and the Democratic party's radical agenda, which I think it is, and remind people what I've done for the state, which we will."

Asked if Trump would campaign for him in South Carolina, Graham said: "I don't foresee that."

CNN's Ariane de Vogue and Lauren Fox contributed to this report.