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. Though other Congressional committees "must include a goal for their request for returns and return information when seeking access", the House Ways and Means Committee, along with the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation, does not have to provide a reason for requesting tax information.
During an appearance before the House Financial Services Committee, he told Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) that he hadn't had time to review the memo in full yet, which concludes that Trump must either release his returns or invoke executive privilege.
The Post said in a report published Tuesday that it could not determine who wrote the memo or who reviewed it. "We confirmed that I and the (IRS) commissioner were not aware of that letter and had not seen it".
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified that he hadn't read a daft memo from the IRS legal counsel stating that he was required to hand over the president's tax returns until shortly before appearing at a public hearing Wednesday.
Mr. Weld said he'd ask lawmakers to send him a bill in his first 100 days in office requiring presidential candidates to release five years of their past tax returns and their tax filings for every year they are in office.
But the IRS document says the law "does not allow the Secretary to exercise discretion in disclosing the information provided the statutory conditions are met" and directly rejects the reason Mnuchin has cited for withholding the information.
'I've been advised I am not violating the law, ' he said.
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It was unclear how long it would take the Circuit Court Clerk's Office, which maintains the criminal records, to unseal Smollett's case.
A Treasury statement provided earlier this week argued the IRS memo did not address the constitutional questions raised by the House panel's request, although some legal experts said the memo does address those questions.
The Post says the only exception would be if "the president takes the rare step of asserting executive privilege", which he has not.
The administration also recently defied a congressional subpoena demanding that the IRS turn over the president's tax returns.
'I have no idea, ' responded Mnuchin, who served as Trump's campaign finance chair before being confirmed as Treasury Secretary.
House Democrats want to see Trump's returns to confirm the amount and source of his wealth, to see if he has any foreign entanglements that could affect his presidency, and whether he ever cheated on his taxes.
Mnuchin also repeatedly denied any political interference in his decision-making around the tax return issue, stating that he didn't discuss the matter with anyone inside or outside of the White House, including the President himself. "Congress in its oversight and investigative role could seek to compel by subpoena a refusal to disclose returns or return information requested".