Mnuchin: Treasury lawyers consulted White House on Trump tax returns

Mnuchin: Treasury lawyers consulted White House on Trump tax returns

Mnuchin: Treasury lawyers consulted White House on Trump tax returns

US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, January 11, 2018.

House tax committee Chairman Richard Neal last week requested six years of Trump's personal and business returns from the IRS, invoking a seldom-used law entitling him to make such a request.

When testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, Mnuchin defended his admission at an earlier hearing that the Treasury legal department consulted the White House general counsel prior to getting Democrats' request.

The White House did not respond to questions as to whether the president asked Mnuchin or the IRS head to intervene.

The New York Times reported this was the first public acknowledgment of communication between the White House and the Treasury Department over the tax returns.

Asked about the matter on Wednesday, Trump once again said his tax returns were being audited by the IRS.

In the letter, Mnuchin references Neal's preparation for the request, writing that "you too have acknowledged the unprecedented nature of the request".

"No other secretary has ever told us the day before that they were going to limit their time", Waters said.

IRS Commissioner Charles Retting said the decision on whether Trump's tax returns will be released is ultimately his, adding he had discussed Neal's request with Mnuchin but was not ordered to reject the request or told how to handle the returns.

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That comment seemed to confuse Mnuchin, who did not know whether Waters was ending the hearing.

But he rejected Democrat lawmakers' suggestion that this could have been illegal or improper, saying it was merely a consultation and that he had not personally been involved. "I have no problem with it, but while I'm under audit, I would not give my taxes". But he also faces pressure not to let working relations with congressional Democrats, in the Financial Services Committee in particular, deteriorate as they have the power to make his life hard.

"I have the gavel at this point", Waters said.

"The committee's request raises serious issues concerning the constitutional scope of Congressional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative goal, and the constitutional rights of American citizens", Mnuchin added in the letter. "And no lawyer would tell you to release your tax returns while you're under audit".

Trump has said his returns are under audit and that he doesn't intend to turn anything over until that is finished.

See, the President Trump appointed advisor was upset that his testimony was taking too long-over three hours-and that he had a meeting to attend.

Trump has broken with tradition by not voluntarily releasing his tax returns.

"We need to get to the bottom of this", she said.

Attorneys for the president have argued Neal's request risks using the IRS for partisan political aims, arguing House Democrats are engaged in a "gross abuse of power" that infringes on taxpayer privacy.

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