Published: Wed, May 08, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary, rejects Democrats' demand for Donald Trump tax returns

Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary, rejects Democrats' demand for Donald Trump tax returns

On April 3, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) formally requested Trump's tax returns, citing a provision in the tax code that empowers the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee to request a president's tax returns.

Mnuchin told Neal the Justice Department will memorialize its advice in a legal opinion soon. The likely options available to Democrats would be to subpoena the Internal Revenue Service for the returns or to file a lawsuit.

"I will consult with counsel and determine the appropriate response", the chairman said.

A defiant looking US President Donald Trump has refused to provide his tax returns.

Mnuchin's refusal after a month of deliberation appeared certain to spark yet another legal clash between the embattled president and congressional Democrats who now control the House of Representatives.

After Neal first issued the request, the Trump Administration immediately suggested that it would fail to comply with the request, with Mnuchin blowing off two deadlines imposed by Neal to hand over the tax information.

Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin share a moment prior to a Rose Garden event at the White House on May 7.

The Treasury's denial came the same day that the House Judiciary panel scheduled a May 8 vote on whether to find Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for not turning over a fully unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russia's meddling in the 2016 elections.

House Democrats have argued that the law is clear that congressional tax writing committees have broad authority to request the returns of any taxpayer.

"What's unprecedented is this secretary refusing to comply with our lawful ... request".

Unprecedented, but is it illegal?

NY state's legislature is considering legislation that would allow its tax department to turn Trump's state returns over to certain Congress bodies, including the House Ways and Means Committee. He also has inquired about the "loyalty" of the top officials at the IRS, according to one of his advisers.

Neal said a court battle for the tax returns was the outcome he's long foreseen. But in recent weeks, he has added to the argument, telling advisers that the American people elected him once without seeing his taxes and would do so again, three White House officials and Republicans told The Associated Press anonymously.

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