Trump says he won't deliver tax returns to Congress

Clay Curtis
April 10, 2019

"There is no law, as you know, I got elected last time with the same issue and while I'm under audit, I won't do it".

The two leaders began arguing after Mnuchin asked for the hearing to end so that he could attend a meeting with Bahrain's finance minister at 5:30 Washington.

"No other secretary has ever told us the day before that they were going to limit their time", Waters said. "I personally wasn't involved in those conversations". Of course, most tax attorneys don't represent presidents or people running for the White House.

Democrats want six years of Trumps' returns - which he has refused to release - using a federal law that says the treasury secretary "shall follow" requests from House or Senate chairmen to release tax return information.

At a separate congressional hearing in the afternoon, Mnuchin said Treasury officials did not seek the White House's "permission" as to whether to release the tax returns, and he also said he didn't view the meeting as "interference".

Mnuchin had not previously revealed that the White House was playing any official role in the Treasury Department's decision on releasing Trump's tax returns. As the White House and their allies dig their heels in, the question of whether Trump has anything to hide feels like it's being answered, but not in a way that will lead to any consequences until after a possible lengthy court battle.

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House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal set a deadline of Wednesday for Treasury to respond to the request.

Under the law, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and designated staff are allowed to view the returns but not release them to the public.

On April 5, lawyers for Trump sent the Treasury Department general counsel a letter telling him not to release the records until the Justice Department has issued a new legal opinion. "And I have the gavel", she said. "Voters knew the president could have given his tax returns, they knew that he didn't, and they elected him anyway, which is, of course, what drives the Democrats insane".

"I expect the secretary to honor our invitation to return so that the rest of these members have an opportunity to pursue their questions", she said. But Democrats have long wanted Trump's tax returns to see what foreign financial dealings he may have, whether he always followed the law, and if he benefited from the 2017 Republican tax overhaul.

As a presidential candidate in 2016, Trump broke with a decades-old convention of releasing tax returns publicly. Once the tax returns are out, reporters could find something that the IRS missed.

Democrats are relying on a provision in the Internal Revenue Service code enacted in 1924 after the Teapot Dome oil leases scandal rocked President Warren Harding's administration.

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