Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Refusal to Hand Over Trump's Tax Returns Sets up Legal Fight
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 5 years ago on
May 7, 2019

Share

WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has made it official: The administration won’t be turning President Donald Trump’s tax returns over to the Democratic-controlled House.

Mnuchin told Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., in a Monday letter that the panel’s request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose” as Supreme Court precedent requires.

In making that determination, Mnuchin said he relied on the advice of the Justice Department. He concluded that the Treasury Department is “not authorized to disclose the requested returns and return information.” He said the Justice Department will provide a more detailed legal justification soon.

The move, which was expected, is sure to set in motion a legal battle over Trump’s tax returns. The chief options available to Democrats are to subpoena the IRS for the returns or to file a lawsuit. Last week, Neal promised “we’ll be ready” to act soon after Monday’s deadline.

Treasury’s denial came the day that the House Judiciary panel scheduled a vote for Wednesday on whether to find Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena for a full, unredacted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Fights with other House panels are ongoing.

Request Would Potentially Weaponize Private Tax Returns

“I will consult with counsel and determine the appropriate response,” Neal said in a statement Monday.

“I will consult with counsel and determine the appropriate response.” — Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal

Neal originally demanded access to Trump’s tax returns in early April under a law that says the IRS “shall furnish” the returns of any taxpayer to a handful of top lawmakers, including the chair of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. He maintains that the committee is looking into the effectiveness of IRS mandatory audits of tax returns of all sitting presidents, a way to justify his claim that the panel has a potential legislative purpose. Democrats are confident in their legal justification and say Trump is stalling in an attempt to punt the issue past the 2020 election.

The White House and the Republican president’s attorneys declined to comment on the deadline to turn over Trump’s returns.

Mnuchin has said Neal’s request would potentially weaponize private tax returns for political purposes.

Trump has privately made clear he has no intention of turning over the much-coveted records. He is the first president since Watergate to decline to make his tax returns public, often claiming that he would release them if he was not under audit.

Trump Says The Attempt to Get His Returns Was an Invasion of His Privacy

“What’s unprecedented is this secretary refusing to comply with our lawful … request. What’s unprecedented is a Justice Department that again sees its role as being bodyguard to the executive and not the rule of law,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J. “What’s unprecedented is an entire federal government working in concert to shield a corrupt president from legal accountability.”

“What’s unprecedented is this secretary refusing to comply with our lawful … request. What’s unprecedented is a Justice Department that again sees its role as being bodyguard to the executive and not the rule of law. What’s unprecedented is an entire federal government working in concert to shield a corrupt president from legal accountability.” — Rep. Bill Pascrell

But the president has told those close to him that the attempt to get his returns was an invasion of his privacy and a further example of what he calls the Democrat-led “witch hunt” — like Mueller’s Russia probe — meant to damage him.

Trump has repeatedly asked aides as to the status of the House request and has not signaled a willing to cooperate with Democrats, according to a White House official and two Republicans close to the White House.

He has linked the effort to the myriad House probes into his administration and has urged his team to stonewall all requests. He also has inquired about the “loyalty” of the top officials at the IRS, according to one of his advisers.

Trump has long told confidants that he was under audit and therefore could not release his taxes. 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, according to the three White House officials and Republicans, who were not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

DON'T MISS

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

DON'T MISS

California Officials Sue Huntington Beach Over Voter ID Law Passed at Polls

DON'T MISS

Indiana Fever Receives No. 1 Overall Draft Pick Caitlin Clark

DON'T MISS

Which Fresno Restaurants Are Best? The Pros Picked These Places.

DON'T MISS

Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial Gets Underway; 1st Day Ends Without Any Jurors Being Picked

DON'T MISS

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

DON'T MISS

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

DON'T MISS

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

DON'T MISS

Why Tortillas Sold in California May Be Forced to Add a New Ingredient

DON'T MISS

Costco Tries Again at City Council for Big NW Fresno Move

UP NEXT

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

UP NEXT

Scheffler Turns the Masters Into Another Sunday Yawner With a Dominating Win

UP NEXT

Vegas, US Tour and More Signings: Wrexham Has Plenty of Fun and Work Ahead After Latest Promotion

UP NEXT

NBA Play-in Game Preview: West Games on Tuesday, East Games on Wednesday, Eliminations on Friday

UP NEXT

Ship That Caused Bridge Collapse Had Apparent Electrical Issues While Still Docked, Source Says

UP NEXT

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

UP NEXT

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

UP NEXT

US Intelligence Finding Shows China Surging Equipment Sales to Russia to Help War Effort in Ukraine

UP NEXT

Several Writers Decline Recognition From PEN America in Protest Over Its Israel-Hamas War Stance

UP NEXT

US Consumer Sentiment Falls Slightly as Outlook for Inflation Worsens

Which Fresno Restaurants Are Best? The Pros Picked These Places.

3 hours ago

Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial Gets Underway; 1st Day Ends Without Any Jurors Being Picked

4 hours ago

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

Local /

5 hours ago

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

5 hours ago

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

5 hours ago

Why Tortillas Sold in California May Be Forced to Add a New Ingredient

6 hours ago

Costco Tries Again at City Council for Big NW Fresno Move

7 hours ago

Scheffler Turns the Masters Into Another Sunday Yawner With a Dominating Win

7 hours ago

Ethiopia’s Lemma Wins, Fresno’s Albertson 7th in Boston Marathon. Kenya’s Obiri Retains Women Title.

7 hours ago

Vegas, US Tour and More Signings: Wrexham Has Plenty of Fun and Work Ahead After Latest Promotion

7 hours ago

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

Alright, cats and kittens, straphang onto your beanies because I’m about to lay a news flash on you that’s so whimsically wild it coul...

2 hours ago

Fresno Monopoly Edition
2 hours ago

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

2 hours ago

California Officials Sue Huntington Beach Over Voter ID Law Passed at Polls

2 hours ago

Indiana Fever Receives No. 1 Overall Draft Pick Caitlin Clark

3 hours ago

Which Fresno Restaurants Are Best? The Pros Picked These Places.

4 hours ago

Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial Gets Underway; 1st Day Ends Without Any Jurors Being Picked

Local /
5 hours ago

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

5 hours ago

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

5 hours ago

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend