Trump misses Democrat deadline for releasing tax return

Arturo Kim
April 12, 2019

(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.

Mnuchin added that he was never briefed on the content of the discussions.

"It will be embarrassing if I keep this person waiting for a long period of time", Mnuchin told House Financial Services Committee Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-California).

Neal said Tuesday that he plans to send a follow-up request for the information in writing before taking more drastic steps.

The White House did not respond to questions as to whether the president asked Mnuchin or the IRS head to intervene.

"It is our intent to follow the law and that is in the process of being reviewed, " Mnuchin told a House Appropriations subcommittee with responsibility for his budget.

The IRS provision states that the Treasury Department "shall" turn over "any return or return information" requested by certain committees. Over the weekend, White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Democrats would never obtain the tax returns, though he did not say how he was sure this would be the case.

Democrats cried foul, saying any White House involvement in Treasury's decision-making raised the risk of improper political involvement.

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"I am not afraid of being fired at all, " Mnuchin said. He gave a non-committal answer: "I want to acknowledge we have received the request".

Mnuchin told CNBC it was an "unnecessary" and "silly way" to end the over three hour testimony.

"Remember, I got elected last time - the same exact issue, with the same intensity, which wasn't very much because, frankly, the people don't care". Mnuchin tried to get testy, telling Waters that it was 5:08pm and he was told he could leave at 5pm. "House Democrats' unprecedented request has serious implications for all Americans and requires serious, careful analysis". "This is a new way, and it's a new day", she said while looking sternly into Mnuchin's eyes.

The exchange became heated when Waters declined to formally dismiss the meeting.

"I am unable to discuss that with you at this moment", Rettig told CNN after the hearing. "You're supposed to take the gavel and bang it", he said.

Ms. Waters replied, "Oh, so you don't do it anymore".

In a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., who asked for Trump's returns a week ago, Mnuchin said Treasury will consult with the Justice Department and "carefully" review the request further. The IRS is part of Treasury. Trump has broken with decades of presidential precedent by not voluntarily releasing his returns to the public. During the campaign, he promised to release his tax returns after a "routine audit" was complete.

GOP members of the panels rose to Trump's defense.

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