Mnuchin insists he can hide Trump's taxes after IRS memo says he can't


Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is continuing to deny that he's breaking the law by not handing Trump's tax returns to Congress.

At a House Financial Services Committee hearing Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he adamantly disagrees with legal guidance saying the IRS has to comply with Congress' request for Trump's tax returns — even though he admitted he has not reviewed the memo containing the guidance.

Under questioning from Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), Mnuchin claims he didn't know an IRS memo existed before receiving a call from the Washington Post earlier this week.

But he still denied that the IRS memo contradicts the guidance from the Department of Justice that he's relying on to deny Congress access to Trump's tax returns.

"Actually, I haven't reviewed it. I looked at it literally on the way up here," Mnuchin said in response to a question from Wexton. "Someone handed me the printed copy of it, so I would not describe that as 'I've reviewed it.'"

"You are at least aware that the conclusions of that memo directly contradicts the conclusion that you're relying upon?" Wexton asked.

"No, I actually don't believe that's the case," Mnuchin said, claiming the IRS memo addresses a different issue than the Department of Justice.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday it had received a confidential legal memo drafted by the IRS saying the law "does not allow the Secretary to exercise discretion" when deciding whether or not to hand Trump's taxes to Congress upon request, and that Mnuchin's obligation to disclose return information is not affected if the committee fails "to state a reason for the request."

The memo is clear, stating "the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified." Yet Mnuchin continues to refuse to follow the law, despite both a written request from Congress for Trump's tax returns and a subpoena.

Wexton is not the only member of Congress concerned about Mnuchin's lawless activities.

The leaked IRS memo "contradicts President Trump's wishes and it was buried," Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a Wednesday statement. "It's hard to believe that Secretary Mnuchin, [IRS] Commissioner Rettig and other political appointees did not know about the existence of this memo."

"Congress needs answers as to who knew about this memo and when, and why Secretary Mnuchin ultimately did an end run around the IRS to get the answer President Trump wanted," Wyden added.

Mnuchin is breaking the law to hide Trump's taxes, and both Congress and the American people deserve answers.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.