One of the biggest questions surrounding Donald Trump is related to his tax returns. In a break from decades of tradition, Trump refused to release his tax returns and frequently insisted that he couldn’t release them while under audit. We still do not have Trump’s tax returns, but CNN has reported that the IRS has released specific documents to Robert Mueller’s team in relation to the ongoing Russian investigation. The report does not mention Trump’s tax returns but does include documents related to former campaign manager Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
In fact, the reason that the IRS did not participate in the FBI’s raid of Manafort’s home was due to fears that the FBI’s investigation might interfere with the IRS’s separate investigation into Manafort.
This announcement marks a turning point in Mueller’s relationship with the IRS, as the two groups have clashed in the past over the investigation. Part of the issue arises from the broad scope of Mueller’s investigation. In relation to Manafort, his team has requested financial documents going back eleven years. Mueller’s investigation is governed by an order written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein which granted Mueller the power to look into “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”
Now, after several months of feuding, the IRS has agreed to share those documents with Mueller’s team. A former IRS investigator told CNN that the documents would include “would include anything tax return-related such as real estate and banking records.” He also said that the IRS is normally governed by very strict rules regarding what information it can and cannot share. Normally, it would require a subpoena from a grand jury before being able to release tax information to other agencies.
CNN’s sources did report that they do not know whether or not Mueller’s team has asked for Trump’s tax returns. However, if he did, it is likely that Rosenstein would have to grant permission before they were released. It is possible that Mueller has them, but, as of right now, no one has confirmed that.
For more information, CNN’s report can be seen below. The information regarding the IRS begins at 6:36.
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