Trump repeats claim he won't release his taxes while under audit

Paul Waldman Trump’s tax return scam has taken yet another turn

Mnuchin said they won't be able to meet the deadline set by the committee, telling Chairman Richard Neal he's consulting with the Department of Justice and making sure "our response is fully consistent with the law and the Constitution".

"I would love to give them, but I'm not going to do it while I'm under audit".

Mnuchin previously testified he would comply with such requests and said he hadn't asked the White House for permission about Neal's request.

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

"I believe that the communication between our legal department and the White House general counsel was informational", Mnuchin told a House appropriations subcommittee.

Neal last week asked Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig to hand over the president's filings.

Regardless of those risks, past presidents released their tax returns while in office.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on Sunday that lawmakers will "never" see Trump's returns. The Democrats' request is expected to lead to a long court battle. "They knew that he didn't, and they elected him anyway-which, of course, is what drives the Democrats insane". And if the request ends up in the courts, the issue could linger unresolved until after the 2020 presidential election.

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"The requests for [Trump's] private tax information are not consistent with governing law, do not advance any proper legislative objective, and threaten to interfere with the ordinary conduct of audits", said William S. Consovoy, Trump's attorney, in a statement.

There are two legitimate ways that the president can refuse to disclose his returns: by demonstrating that the request is outside the committee's legitimate purview, or that the request itself is unconstitutional, according to Harold Krent, dean of the Chicago-Kent College of Law.

In a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee, Mnuchin wrote, "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". The committees could then vote to make those documents public.

Waters complained that no Treasury secretary had previously attempted to set a time limit on his testimony before the committee. But he added, "We will protect the president as we would protect any individual taxpayer under their rights".

"I expect the secretary to honor our invitation to return so that the rest of these members have an opportunity to pursue their questions", she said.

In doing so, the president reiterated his oft-cited rationale for withholding his tax information: claiming they were under audit - although that has never been confirmed.

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.

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