Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin got into a fiery exchange with U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters on Tuesday during a committee hearing with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. He did not flatly reject the notion that he might ultimately comply, but the letter suggested that Mnuchin would not hold himself to any timeline.
"The Committee's request raises serious issues concerning the constitutional scope of congressional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative objective, and the constitutional rights of American citizens", Mnuchin writes.
The Treasury Department blew through congressional Democrats' Wednesday deadline for turning over President Trump's tax returns, with officials saying they want to study the request and figure out if it's legally sound.
"We intend to review your request carefully", he adds.
An attorney for Trump on Friday blasted the request from Democrats as "a misguided attempt" to politicize the tax laws, accusing lawmakers of harassment and interference in IRS audits. I respect the committee, and we want to have a good working relationship with you. Donald Trump is the only president since Nixon to refuse to do so, but Congress does have one law at its disposal.
If the IRS misses the Wednesday deadline, Neal is likely to send a follow-up letter about his request, according to CNN.
Mnuchin had been in the House Committee on Financial Services hearing that Waters was chairing for over three hours, but said he needed to leave at 5 p.m.to meet a senior official from the Bahraini government.
It's not clear how long the subsequent court fights would take. New York's legislature is now considering legislation that would allow Congress to request the president's tax returns from the state's Department of Taxation and Finance. "That's really hard to predict", Hemel said. I will be very clear.More news: Trump announces resignation of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen
Trump said there was "no law" requiring him to give up his returns, but said he would "love" to release them if he weren't under audit.
Both Rettig and Mnuchin are Trump appointees.
On Sunday, Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said Democrats would "never" see Trump's tax returns.
The procedure was supposed to ensure that the White House could not interfere in the request.
Mnuchin revealed the discussions during a congressional hearing. Mr. Trump's lawyer in the matter, Will Consovoy, also asked the IRS not to hand over the president's tax returns until it receives a legal opinion from the Justice Department.
Republican Trump has consistently refused requests by politicians, journalists and others, stating his reason for not doing so is that the returns are under audit. "We have said we will comply with the law".
In the latest contest between Democrats and the administration, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told Rep. Maxine Waters that he wouldn't come back to Congress if forced to stay past 5:15pm. Tax and legal experts have said, however, that an audit should not prevent their public release, a practice presidents have followed for decades. Neal made a case for this in his letter, writing that the request was part of his committee's oversight role, with the objective of determining whether the IRS is fairly and impartially auditing Trump. He also said he was alarmed by Mulvaney's comments denying Democrats would ever get the returns. "I personally wasn't involved in those conversations".
"I believe that the communication between our legal department and the White House general counsel was informational", Mnuchin told a House appropriations subcommittee.