Mnuchin says he'll 'follow the law' on Trump tax returns

Paul Waldman Trump’s tax return scam has taken yet another turn

The commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service said his agency is working on Democrats' letter requesting President Donald Trump's tax returns and "anticipates" responding as a key Wednesday deadline looms.

Last week, House Democrats formally requested the IRS give Congress copies of President Trump's tax returns over the past six years.

"The Committee's request raises serious issues concerning the constitutional scope of Congressional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative goal, and the constitutional right of American citizens", Mnuchin wrote.

Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, told Rettig at a hearing earlier Wednesday. The returns of USA taxpayers are generally held as confidential by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is part of the Treasury Department.

When Neal filed his former request with the Treasury Department last week, he was sure the request was proper.

Democrats want to review Trump's returns chiefly as part of their investigations into possible conflicts of interest posed by his continued ownership of extensive business interests even as he serves the public as president.

"If anybody's tax return is under audit, is there a rule that would prohibit that taxpayer from releasing it?" (He admitted during the hearing that White House lawyers communicated with the Treasury Department over how to release those returns, despite there being a law created to keep the White House out of these discussions.) She brought up the alleged negotiations regarding Russian sanctions and the personal financial benefit members of the Trump administration and their friends might have seen from the lifting of those sanctions.

Trump's position has always been that he is under audit and therefore could not release his returns.

IRS Commissioner Charles Retting said the decision on whether Trump's tax returns will be released is ultimately his, adding he had discussed Neal's request with Mnuchin but was not ordered to reject the request or told how to handle the returns.

Committee member Jimmy Gomez (D-Cali.) said there will be "at least one more step before going to court" and that Chairman Neal "has a strategy in mind".

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Tuesday, April 9, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Presidential candidates since the Nixon administration have released their tax returns, but Trump has refused to do so.

If the IRS misses the Wednesday deadline, Neal is likely to send a follow-up letter about his request, according to CNN.

Mnuchin told lawmakers on Tuesday that the department had been in touch with White House lawyers before Neal made his request but had not personally been fully briefed on those discussions. Another bill, the New York Truth Act, would require the disclosure of state tax returns for eight statewide elected officials in New York, including the U.S. President and Vice President if they file taxes in the state. "And I have the gavel", she said.

Mnuchin responded, "Again, I just want to be very clear".

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