President Trump on April 5. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Ilya Shlyakhter’s partisan claim in his April 11 letter, “Mr. Trump’s tax returns,” that Democrats are merely digging for “dirt” in their attempts to obtain President Trump’s tax returns might be understandable only if we use as appropriate the example of the previous Congress’s nonchalant view of the duties, responsibilities and consitutional authority for oversight of the exuctive branch.

To answer his rhetorical question: If Mr. Trump ordered the Internal Revenue Service to release his opponents’ returns, he would be guilty, as Richard M. Nixon was, of abuse of power and be subject to impeachment. That a minority of voters voted for Mr. Trump in the absence of his publicly releasing his returns is irrelevant. Presidents in recent times have been under audit and released their returns. Both of these are wholly appropriate.

The only potential reason for Mr. Trump not to release his returns is that there is damaging information in them, which makes it all the more imperative that his returns be seen by Congress at a minimum, if not the public writ large. All members of Congress, as well as the president, the vice president and Cabinet-level appointees, should, as public servants, release their returns.

Public trust ought to mean trusting the public. In this case, Ronald Reagan had it right: Trust but verify.

Jim Nagle, Reston