On this point, the President has made it easier for his opponents, as he often does. Mr. Trump danced his way through the 2016 campaign with promises to release his returns followed by claims that he couldn’t do so because of an audit. We advised him to do it in the public interest, but there’s no legal obligation for a candidate to release his taxes.
By refusing to release his returns in 2015 when he first entered the race, Mr. Trump has given every reporter, every Democrat in Congress, and every swamp denizen an incentive to make the returns into a Holy Grail of transparency. Mr. Trump stonewalled Congress’s patent fishing expedition on the returns, and the Supreme Court gave him a legal reprieve for a while.
But that increased the incentive to leak and publish the returns, or some version of them, close to the election. Mr. Trump could have controlled the political narrative by releasing his tax returns on his terms and timetable. Now his opponents will do it.