Mnuchin postpones decision on handing over Trump tax returns

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks to the news media after giving a television interview at the White House in Washington Dec. 3 2018

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks to the news media after giving a television interview at the White House in Washington Dec. 3 2018

In a House Financial Services Committee hearing in July 2017, Mnuchin stalled while answering a question asked by Waters by showering the Congresswoman in meaningless praise. He said that members of Treasury's legal team had had consultations on the matter before the tax return request was made but that the Treasury officials had not sought any type of permission to release the returns.

"We would not ever ask for the White House's permission on this nor did they give us the permission".

"It is our intent to follow the law and that is in the process of being reviewed, " Mnuchin told a House Appropriations subcommittee with responsibility for his budget.

Neal's initial letter didn't lay out any consequences for the IRS if it didn't comply, and a spokesman said a likely course would be a second, more insistent, letter. The law is clear. Backers see the bill as an alternative way to Trump's tax records, even if Trump's allies manage to stonewall efforts by Democrats in the U.S. House to get Trump's federal tax returns.

Democrats cried foul, saying any White House involvement in Treasury's decision-making raised the risk of improper political involvement. "It appeared to me that Maxine Waters, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, did not know that the government had nationalized student loans 10 years ago". "You're instructing me to stay here", he said. The 1924 law in question has never been challenged in court, and this is the first time it is being used to compel the provision of the president's tax returns.

"If this is the way you will treat me, I will rethink" returning, Mnuchin said at one point. "We're all pressed for time, and I do get it". "Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is now violating the law to protect [President Trump]". House Democrats are at a party retreat in the Virginia suburbs of Washington.

The secretary told Waters that he was in a time crunch and needed to be in a meeting with a high ranking Bahraini official by 5:30pm-a change to the schedule that he only informed Waters, the chair of the committee, about the day before.

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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.

"He wanted me to order him or to shut down the committee.to use the gavel to say the committee was adjourned for his purposes".

Then, Waters turned the questions on the bank executives, asking what they meant to do about the student debt crisis: "What are you guys doing to help us with the student loan debt?"

Rettig faces a Wednesday deadline to respond to a letter from the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., who last week formally requested Trump's business and personal tax information dating back to 2013. The IRS is part of Treasury.

Trump's taxes have been a source of contention since his presidential campaign, when he broke with decades of tradition by refusing to release his returns.

Speaking to reporters before departing for a trip to Texas on Wednesday, the president reiterated that he would not release the returns while under audit and asserted that Americans don't care in any case.

Rep. Bishop: "If anybody's tax return is under audit, is there a rule that would prohibit that taxpayer from releasing it?"

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