Published: Thu, April 11, 2019
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Trump says he won't give tax returns to Congress as deadline looms

Trump says he won't give tax returns to Congress as deadline looms

Democrats say that a provision in the IRS service code enacted in 1924 requires the Treasury Department secretary to turn over returns to the chairmen of the congressional tax committees who ask for them for investigative purposes.

The likelihood of a court fight over President Donald Trump's tax returns grew on Wednesday when the U.S. Treasury Department showed no sign of complying with a deadline set by Democratic legislators and Trump himself stuck to his refusal to publicly release them.

"We did receive the request" for six years of Trump's personal tax returns as well as those for several of the president's business entities, Mnuchin told a House Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday.

In a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee, Mnuchin wrote, "The Committee's request raises serious issues concerning the constitutional scope of congressional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative objective, and the constitutional rights of American citizens". But asking for the president's tax returns is uncharted territory, a fact that the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee was cognizant of as he was waiting to make the request.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of OR said it was "unfortunate" that Rettig wouldn't say if it's his sole responsibility to respond to the request without input from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Technically, there's nothing preventing Trump from releasing his tax returns now.

"I won't do it" Trump says.

"It is being reviewed by the legal departments, and we look forward to responding to the letter", Mnuchin said.

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On Sunday, Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said Democrats would "never" see Trump's tax returns.

This is a hard lesson that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin learned on Tuesday when he showed out during his testimony in front of the House Financial Services Committee, which Waters leads.

"We would not ever ask for the White House's permission on this nor did they give us the permission".

Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., citing a long list of Trump administration officials who have departed, pressed Mnuchin on whether he was anxious about being fired if he complied with the request.

Mnuchin did not indicate how his department would respond to the request, saying he meant to "follow the law", while defending Trump's right to keep his tax returns private. He would eventually go to jail for accepting bribes as part of the scheme, and lawmakers decided after the scandal that they needed access to more information about the economic interests of top White House officials.

Once again, Republicans are challenging rule of law and executive norms whenever possible, as presidents have been releasing their tax returns for decades.

Other presidential candidates, dating back to the Nixon administration, have released their tax returns.

And even if we were able to get our hands on Trump's returns, the likelihood of finding anything criminal is somewhat unlikely.

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