Well, it’s come to a head, folks. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin essentially told Congress to shove it, refusing to turn over years of tax returns from Donald Trump. House Democrats had requested six years worth of tax returns from Trump and those of his businesses as well. The request was made in early April, priming another legal showdown between this White House and a rabid, anti-Trump House that’s doing everything it can to impede or impeach the president. Mnuchin has already faced off with some of the Democratic caucuses’ most ardent anti-Trump members, like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).
Well, now, it’s time to fix bayonets (via WaPo):
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday told House Democrats he would not furnish President Trump’s tax returns despite their legal request, the latest move by Trump administration officials to shield the president from congressional investigations
Mnuchin, in a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), said he had consulted with the Justice Department and that they had concluded that it would not be lawful for the Trump administration to turn over the tax returns because of potential violations of privacy.
Mnuchin added that requests from Congress “must reasonable serve a legitimate legislative purpose” and that the request from Democrats does not.
A number of legal experts have said it would be unprecedented for Mnuchin to refuse to turn over the tax returns, as the power for lawmakers to seek the returns is written explicitly in a 1924 law.
But Mnuchin, Trump’s former campaign finance chairman, has fought to protect the returns from public disclosure and said it would create a dangerous precedent if the returns are released. Mnuchin’s announcement on Monday appears to be his final decision in the matter, though he has hinted for weeks that he would not allow the release.
Unprecedented, but is it illegal? Does Mnuchin have to turn over these documents? Also, if there were anything juicy in the tax returns, wouldn’t some self-righteous anti-Trump IRS official leak them by now? Time will tell, but I commend Mnuchin for not giving the Democrats any ammunition in their crusade to impeach Trump.