Mnuchin refuses to give Trump's tax returns to House Dems

Secretary Mnuchin testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill

The Treasury Department refused to provide House Democrats access to President Donald Trump's tax returns, The New York Times reported Monday.

But Mnuchin, Trump's former campaign finance chairman, has fought to protect the returns from public disclosure and said it would create a unsafe precedent if the returns are released.

"As you recognized, the Committee's request is unprecedented, and it presents serious constitutional questions, the resolution of which may have lasting consequences for all taxpayers", added Mnuchin.

Mnuchin said in his letter that he relied on "the advice of the Department of Justice" in making this determination.

The Treasury Secretary went on to claim in the May letter that, contra assertions by House Democrats and legal scholars familiar with the underlying statute, that "the Department may not lawfully fulfill the Committee's request".

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, expressed agreement with progressives' demand for rapid action in a statement late Monday.

Neal said in a statement Monday he would "consult with counsel and determine the appropriate response".

"We are under audit, despite what people said, and working that out", Trump told reporters at the White House.

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Unprecedented, but is it illegal?

And, as The Washington Post reports, what is "unprecedented" is Mnuchin's refusal.

US congressional Democrats edged closer on Monday to fighting two legal battles - one over the Mueller report and one over President Donald Trump's tax returns - after administration officials stonewalled lawmakers' requests for those documents.

Also, if there were anything juicy in the tax returns, wouldn't some self-righteous anti-Trump IRS official leak them by now? "His request is a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and speech". The chief options available to Democrats are to subpoena the IRS for the returns or to file a lawsuit.

Both developments put the two oversight committees on a course leading to federal court action to obtain the documents, as the Trump administration escalated its push to block multiple probes by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. That is not going to happen, and they know it.

Speaking to reporters at the White House on April 3, Trump didn't entirely rule out the possibility of providing six years worth of his tax returns. Democrats have accused Trump of shielding embarrassing information, but Republicans have said Trump is under no obligation to provide financial records and that voters decided the records were not important when they elected him to office.

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