Mnuchin said his department will not meet the Wednesday deadline set by congressional Democrats to turn over copies of President's Trump tax returns, escalating a clash between the White House and Congress. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that Democrats would never see them and the American public had already settled the politics of it when they elected Trump.
"It is being reviewed by the legal departments and we look forward to responding to the letter", he said.
Mnuchin had not previously revealed that the White House was playing any official role in the Treasury Department's decision on releasing Trump's tax returns. "There's a copy of President Trump's NY state tax returns right here in NY state in an office somewhere", state Assemblyman David Buchwald said at a press conference on Monday. Neal said he wanted the records to be released by April 10, citing federal law that directs the information be disclosed upon request. Fellow Democrat Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia echoed Wyden, urging Rettig to respond to the request for the president's tax returns "without any interference by the Treasury Secretary" or the White House. "I will be very clear if that's the way you'd like to have this relationship".
Trump broke with 40 years of presidential campaign tradition in refusing to release his personal tax returns before he was elected, claiming at one point that he was under audit, and at another that it was an invasion of his privacy.
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Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., citing a long list of Trump administration officials who have departed, pressed Mnuchin on whether he was anxious about being fired if he complied with the request.
"We have completed the necessary groundwork for a request of this magnitude, and I am certain we are within our legitimate legislative, legal and oversight rights", Neal said last week.
"I think that there was any communication with the White House about this is deeply troubling and certainly violates the spirit of the law, if not the letter of the law, and I think we need to get to the bottom of this", she told Mnuchin at the afternoon hearing. During a hearing on the IRS budget before the Senate Finance Committee, Rettig was pressed by Sen.
Democrats may also choose to request the documents from NY state, given that federal taxes are often included as attachments in state tax returns. This is a new way and it is a new day and it is a new chair.
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The California Rep. continued, reminding Mnuchin that no other secretary had imposed their own limits on the length of time a hearing could go.
But Mnuchin, who pointed to the Bahraini official waiting in his office, refused the request, saying that further delay would be "very embarrassing" for the secretary.
Waters replied sharply, "Do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this hearing".
Mnuchin thought he could outsmart Waters, by getting testy, trying to play a mind game and then having the audacity to tell the senior top Democrat how to do her job and when to bang her gavel.
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"The requests for [Trump's] private tax information are not consistent with governing law, do not advance any proper legislative goal, and threaten to interfere with the ordinary conduct of audits", said William S. Consovoy, Trump's attorney, in a statement. Under questioning at his confirmation hearing last August, Rettig pledged to uphold the political independence of the IRS.