Trump Biographer, Who's Seen President's Tax Returns, Urges Democrats to 'Go Back 15 Years' to Find 'Murky' Dealings

Bloomberg Opinion executive editor Tim O'Brien, who claims he's seen the president's tax returns, urged Democrats to "go back about 15 years" when requesting for his tax returns to find "murky" dealings.

During a segment on MSNBC's Deadline: White House host on Thursday, O'Brien, who penned TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald, a biography about Trump, talked to anchor Nicolle Wallace about whether the public should be allowed to see the president's tax returns.

"A U.S. citizen should know the financial conflicts that potentially reside in the Oval Office, and especially with this president," O'Brien said. "The issues that have floated around him—business relationships that he's continued to maintain even after he went to the White House, foreign influences featured through either loans or investments in his businesses—all these are sitting out in a dark cloud that no one has a handle on, because he hasn't released his tax returns."

"You've seen the taxes, though, right?" Wallace later asked O'Brien.

"Right, he turned the taxes over," he replied. "So he sued me for the biography I wrote on him, and because he sued me for about three pages of the book that focus on how much money he had, when we got to the discovery process we got his bank records and his taxes and his business records.

"I think it's pretty clear what he's afraid of coming out in those things," O'Brien continued. "Part of it's his ego: He doesn't want people to know that his business is not as robust as he's always claimed it to be."

O'Brien went on to note that the "scariest thing sitting in front of" Trump when it comes to his tax returns is "what kind of financial relationships does he have overseas in Russia, in the Arab world and China."

Later in the segment, O'Brien said he didn't think "six years [of Trump's tax returns] are enough" for Democrats to find something. "I think they need to go back about 15 years," he said. "A lot of cash came into his business in the mid-[2000s] from sources that are very murky. And I think they would answer a lot of questions about his relationship with Russia, for example.

"And six years isn't going to do it, so I think they need to get more aggressive about the time frame, too," he added.

Last month, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman, formally requested Trump and the Trump Organization's tax return in a letter sent to tax and accounting firm Mazars USA. Cummings on Wednesday told reporters that the company intended to comply with the panel's request if they received a "friendly" subpoena.

In a statement to Newsweek, Mazers USA declined to comment on Cummings' statement, citing client privilege, but said it would "respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations."

"Mazars believes strongly in the ethical and professional rules and regulations that govern our industry, our work and our client interactions," a spokesperson said. "As a matter of firm policy and professional rules, we do not comment on the work we conduct for our clients. Mazars USA will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations."

Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, on Wednesday formally requested six years of Trump's personal and commercial tax returns from the IRS in a letter sent to IRS commissioner Charles P. Rettig.

Trump's repeated refusals to release his tax returns are at odds with a practice that all former presidents since Richard Nixon have abided by, with the exception of Gerald Ford, who released a summary of his returns.

Watch the MSNBC segment below: