Published: Thu, April 11, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Trump repeats claim he won't release his taxes while under audit

Trump repeats claim he won't release his taxes while under audit

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

Mnuchin's revelation was the first indication that the White House was playing an official role in the Treasury Department's decision on whether to release Trump's tax returns, The Washington Post reported.

Ron Wyden, Democrat of OR, on a request made by House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, Democrat of MA, who set a deadline of Wednesday for the submission of Mr. Trump's returns.

However, the Treasury Secretary's letter also makes a point of noting the political concerns, and how in the last Congress the committee took up a similar request and concluded it "would be an "abuse of authority" and "set a risky precedent by targeting a single individual's confidential tax returns and associated financial documents for disclosure" for political reasons".

Mnuchin revealed the discussions during a congressional hearing.

Trump also reminded critics that he was under "no obligation" to release his tax returns despite Democrat protests that many previous candidates for president had done so.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney: "I think the fact that there was any communication with the White House about this is deeply troubling and certainly violates the spirit of the law, if not the letter of the law, and I think we need to get to the bottom of this".

"I believe, based no our personal interaction, Senator, that you have a pretty good read on me as a person and I'll leave it at that", Rettig responded to Wyden bluntly.

In a hearing Wednesday morning before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Rettig declined to say whether he would comply with Democrats' request.

Trump has promised to release the returns after a conclusion of an audit, although independent legal experts have said that an audit would not bar him from doing so.

"I won't do it" Trump says. If the department refused to hand them over, Democrats would likely sue. Neal requested the returns on the basis that he wants to review the procedure for the routine audits of presidents.

When testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, Mnuchin defended his admission at an earlier hearing that the Treasury legal department consulted the White House general counsel prior to getting Democrats' 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.

The latest phase in the battle over Trump's tax returns comes as the Democrat-controlled House steps up oversight of the President and his administration.

Mnuchin then asked whether that meant the committee had been dismissed, to which Waters repeated: "If you wish to leave, you may leave", suggesting that the meeting would continue.

In a 2016 column in Forbes, Rettig, then a private attorney, said no "experienced tax lawyer" would advise Trump to publicly release his tax returns during an audit.

In the days leading up to Wednesday's response, both Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig gave nonspecific accounts during testimony before the House and the Senate about who would reply to Neal.

Trump's taxes have been a source of contention since his presidential campaign, when he broke with decades of tradition by refusing to release his returns. He also said he was alarmed by Mulvaney's comments denying Democrats would ever get the returns.

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