East Bay congressman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, is calling for an investigation into allegations in a New York Times report that President Trump engaged in questionable and potentially illegal tax schemes to hide large infusions of cash from his parents.
The Times investigation found that Trump had received "at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire, much of it through tax dodges in the 1990s."
The White House says the Times report is false.
"If the president thinks that the Times is wrong, then OK, let's have an investigation," said DeSaulnier, who sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, in a Wednesday interview with KQED.
"Let's have a nonpartisan investigation and find out what the truth is. And the way you find your way to the truth is to follow the facts," he said.
DeSaulnier said he doesn't think Republican leadership will pursue an investigation. But if Democrats retake the House in the November elections, he said a congressional investigation would be launched.
"If we get control of the majority, we will. And it will not be Benghazi political theater," DeSaulnier said. "You can't have the president of the United States and have these kind of accusations out there and not have them be fully vetted."
DeSaulnier said an investigation could take a form similar to his own investigation in 2014 into construction issues on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge.
"You start off with the public airing, setting the parameters of the investigation, and then you hire investigators and let them go do their job, and then you have updates to the committee over time, and then you have a final report, which suggests remedies, and that includes referring it to the Justice Department or the IRS or whomever," he said.
DeSaulnier said if the Times report is correct, then it refutes Trump's claims that his fortunes were self-made.
"He has claimed that he did all this like a Horatio Alger story, and it's more like an Al Capone story," he said.