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

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Trump has repeatedly asked aides about the status of the House request and has inquired about the "loyalty" of the top officials at the IRS, according to one outside adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Mnuchin, however, said it would be "premature at this point to make any specific comments".

Mnuchin added that he was never briefed on the content of the discussions, and would not say what he would do about the Democrats' requests.

During the two hearings, Mnuchin admitted that White House lawyers had contacted his department about the request for Trump's tax returns but he had not personally spoken to Trump about the matter.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters Wednesday that he planned to respond to Neal by the deadline, but he didn't specify what the response would say.

There was a tense exchange between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and California Rep. Maxine Waters over whether Mnuchin could leave a committee hearing for another engagement on Tuesday.

"I want to be very clear and not be misleading".

Neal last week asked Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig to hand over the president's filings. No federal statute bars individuals under audit from releasing their tax returns.

"They knew they were not going to get these taxes", Mulvaney said of Democrats.

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Consovoy argues that even if the Ways and Means Committee had a "legitimate" reason for making the request, it is "a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and speech".

The invocation of President Richard Nixon in defense of Trump is particularly egregious.

Democrats don't expect the department to comply, but they haven't sketched out their next steps. And if the request ends up in the courts, the issue could linger unresolved until after the 2020 presidential election.

Trump's position has always been that he is under audit and therefore could not release his returns. No law prevents a taxpayer from releasing returns that are under audit.

"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 rights of American citizens", Mnuchin writes.

Waters asked Mnuchin if he could give the committee another 15 minutes so members who had been waiting for their five-minute turn could ask him questions.

The New York Times reported this was the first public acknowledgment of communication between the White House and the Treasury Department over the tax returns. Most tax attorneys would typically advise a client against doing so if they're under audit to avoid further scrutiny.

Mnuchin told a House panel that he personally has not had any communications with the president or his top staff about the department's decision on whether to provide Trump's tax returns under a almost century-old law that says the Treasury Department "shall furnish" them when requested by top lawmakers.