Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

House Democrats set hard deadline for Trump to cough up tax returns

House Democrats set hard deadline for Trump to cough up tax returns

The letter comes after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin informed the Committee he would not be able to review the Committee's request for President Donald Trump's tax returns by the April 10th deadline.

After a week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin - rather than Rettig - told Neal that the returns weren't yet available, as "t$3 he 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".

Trump broke with a long-established norm during the 2016 elections by refusing to release his income tax returns, as most presidents have done since the 1970s even though it is not required by law.

Trump lawyer William S. Consovoy argued this week that the order weaponizes the IRS for partisan purposes, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said it "raises serious issues concerning the constitutional scope of congressional investigative authority".

William Consovoy, whose firm was retained by Trump to represent him on the matter, has written the Treasury's general counsel and said the congressional request "would set a unsafe precedent" if granted and that the IRS can not legally divulge the information. "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".

"These are complicated legal issues and I think it is more important to the American taxpayers that we get this right than we hit an arbitrary deadline", Mnuchin told reporters.

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Members of the Trump administration, including acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and their allies have called the request a political attack and a violation of Trump's privacy. Neal asked for Trump's personal and business returns from 2013-18. Mnuchin used similar language in a letter to Neal this week.

"Together, we are going to make sure that does not happen again", Sanders said to cheers.

During the campaign, Trump said he wanted to release his returns but said because he was under a routine audit, "I can't". "People expect the rule of law to work smoothly, but that" s not always the case".

Neal also wrote that concerns about the committee's access to the returns were "baseless".

"It is not the proper function of the IRS, Treasury, or Justice to question or second guess the motivations of the Committee or its reasonable determinations regarding its need for the requested tax returns", continued Neal.

Neal extended the deadline to April 23 for Rettig to provide the requested information and that failure to comply would be seen as a "denial of my request".

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