Donald Trump continues to insist, despite numerous instances of debunking by the IRS, that he cannot release his tax returns due to the fact that he is under audit. While the IRS cannot reveal to the public whether or not anyone is under audit, they have repeatedly contradicted his claim that an audit prevents him from releasing his taxes, as every other presidential candidate and sitting president in modern history has done.
BREAKING: IRS attorneys wrote an internal memo finding it has to give over tax returns requested by Congress, contradicting Treasury's denial for Trump's tax returns
The Washington Post has a copy you can read
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) May 21, 2019
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, a Trump appointee, has argued that there is no legislative basis for the returns’ release and has refused to comply with a congressional subpoena to do so. However, it does not appear that he has that right.
The Washington Post published the confidential memo, which states:
‘[The law] does not allow the Secretary to exercise discretion in disclosing the information provided the statutory conditions are met.’
The internal memo gives some perspective on just how far the Trump administration is twisting the law to cover for the president: https://t.co/hwMLNKYhfN
— Slate (@Slate) May 21, 2019
The only way that Trump can prevent the IRS from releasing the returns, apparently, is by invoking executive privilege. However, personal tax returns wouldn’t really be covered by executive privilege since there is no measurable harm to the public interest, but a benefit in knowing the financial motivations of its president in relation to his foreign business interests.
The memo further states that:
‘[T]he Secretary’s obligation to disclose return and return information would not be affected by the failure of a tax-writing committee…to state a reason for the request [and the] only basis [for] the agency’s refusal to comply with a committee’s subpoena would be the invocation of the doctrine of executive privilege.’
Secretary Mnuchin just wants us to take his word that Trump—who said he was smart for not paying taxes and used tax shelters like a sport—is not getting special treatment?
That’s the same thing Nixon asked us to do and guess who discovered he was tax cheat?
— Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) May 15, 2019
In their lawless efforts to circumvent the rules and deny Congress the ability to conduct oversight, Mnuchin has backed Trump’s lack of transparency. However, the memo undermines every justification Mnuchin has used to justify this.
‘Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week declined to comply with a subpoena from the House Ways and Means committee for six years of Trump’s tax returns. Mnuchin previously cited guidance from the Justice Department as the reason behind not turning the returns over, and Trump has not asserted executive privilege over the returns.’
A confidential IRS legal memo obtained by The Washington Post reportedly stipulates that tax returns must be given to Congress unless Trump asserts executive privilege over them https://t.co/ClxnbkhrkM
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) May 21, 2019
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