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Refusal to hand over Trump’s tax returns sets up legal fight

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    President Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a meeting with Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, May 3, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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    President Donald Trump pumps his fist as he departs after the presentation of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point football team, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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    President Donald Trump speaks during the presentation of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point football team in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Published May 07. 2019 08:30AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has made it official: The administration won’t be turning President Donald Trump’s tax returns over to the Democratic-controlled House.

Mnuchin told Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., in a Monday letter that the panel’s request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose” as Supreme Court precedent requires.

In making that determination, Mnuchin said he relied on the advice of the Justice Department. He concluded that the Treasury Department is “not authorized to disclose the requested returns and return information.” He said the Justice Department will provide a more detailed legal justification soon.

The move, which was expected, is sure to set in motion a legal battle over Trump’s tax returns. The chief options available to Democrats are to subpoena the IRS for the returns or to file a lawsuit. Last week, Neal promised “we’ll be ready” to act soon after Monday’s deadline.

Treasury’s denial came the day that the House Judiciary panel scheduled a vote for Wednesday on whether to find Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena for a full, unredacted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Fights with other House panels are ongoing.

“I will consult with counsel and determine the appropriate response,” Neal said in a statement Monday.

Neal originally demanded access to Trump’s tax returns in early April under a law that says the IRS “shall furnish” the returns of any taxpayer to a handful of top lawmakers, including the chair of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. He maintains that the committee is looking into the effectiveness of IRS mandatory audits of tax returns of all sitting presidents, a way to justify his claim that the panel has a potential legislative purpose. Democrats are confident in their legal justification and say Trump is stalling in an attempt to punt the issue past the 2020 election.

The White House and the Republican president’s attorneys declined to comment on the deadline to turn over Trump’s returns.

Mnuchin has said Neal’s request would potentially weaponize private tax returns for political purposes.

Trump has privately made clear he has no intention of turning over the much-coveted records. He is the first president since Watergate to decline to make his tax returns public, often claiming that he would release them if he was not under audit.

“What’s unprecedented is this secretary refusing to comply with our lawful ... request. What’s unprecedented is a Justice Department that again sees its role as being bodyguard to the executive and not the rule of law,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J. “What’s unprecedented is an entire federal government working in concert to shield a corrupt president from legal accountability.”

But the president has told those close to him that the attempt to get his returns was an invasion of his privacy and a further example of what he calls the Democrat-led “witch hunt” — like Mueller’s Russia probe — meant to damage him.

Trump has repeatedly asked aides as to the status of the House request and has not signaled a willing to cooperate with Democrats, according to a White House official and two Republicans close to the White House.

He has linked the effort to the myriad House probes into his administration and has urged his team to stonewall all requests. He also has inquired about the “loyalty” of the top officials at the IRS, according to one of his advisers.

Trump has long told confidants that he was under audit and therefore could not release his taxes. But in recent weeks, he has added to the argument, telling advisers that the American people elected him once without seeing his taxes and would do so again, according to the three White House officials and Republicans, who were not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Comments
Another witch hunt? I voted for this man, he won in accordance to our system of election. By the way, our system has been intentionally set up to avoid mobs of idiots from (majority of a mere 51%)), from taking away the rights of the 49%. This is a Represented Republic. If you desire to live in a Socialist Democracy... move!
The Electoral College is one of the many finely tuned institutions within the Republics Charter that has ensured stability and continuity for over two centuries. Removal would be the end of the Republic.
You are willfully out of step then Joe. The Electoral College has been around for years. Why didn’t you lobby to change it years ago? Your argument is hollow. If your girl Hillary would have won, then it would have been great. Change the Electoral College, allow felons and 16 year olds to vote, right? Losers trying to change the goal posts. Don’t be a fool and a sore loser.
Come on Joe. Tens of thousands of people show up at a Trump Rally. Hillary & Bill show tickets are two dollars with mostly empty seats. Thousands stand outside for hours just to see Trump. Scalpers give away tickets for Hill & Bill. I don’t care about Trumps taxes. I know that people like you, Joe, hate Trump so much that you will do anything to bring him down. Whatever it takes. Denied Joe. Losers never get a second chance.
Yeah! It's a witch hunt. Name just on other recently elected POTUS, who came to us from private industry, having never before held public office. You see Joe, Trump didn't polish his resume, nor his financial records in order to meet your ill fated fancy prior to his run. Certainly, you and your tribe of "Never Trumpers" will find issues in his taxes.
Bullies! The left bully everyone they can.
Not to deflect, but look at how Hollyweird is bullying Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, as he prepares to sign a pro-life "heartbeat" abortion bill into law today. That's your side who fights against Pro Life. The wrong side of history Joe. How do you sleep at night? "you are either with me or against me sayeth the Lord"
We finally get an outsider in as President, and for some reason, you and the rest of the "Useful Idiots" just keep resisting and fighting him. I pray to God you folks will fail to ever gain the power you so desperately seek. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Come on Joe. Surely you realize that things are different. Unless you just fell down from Mars you know that this President is under scrutiny like no other. Nowadays a Democratic Capitalist is like a joke...like military intelligence. The two are juxtaposed. President Trump knows that those like you want to dig through everything just to spear him. Why would anyone with any political acumen at all do that?
Joe... Read... Elected not candidates. There's a difference in the way a politician cooks his books. Trump's books will surely raise eyebrows, but not mine, because I don't care about his taxes.
I can play a Liberal like a Stradivarius- The Great Rush Limbaugh. Joe, I know the Liberal minds like yours as well as Rush. Millions go to college, thousands graduate from college, hundreds get Masters Degrees, and tens get Doctorate Degrees. I figured that a Liberal like you would try to engage in a personal destruction campaign. That is how haters like you are. You spent hours trying to search me out, all for naught. I figured that you would be hell bent to destroy me, just as you are for President Trump. I purposefully gave you inaccurate information to lead you on a wild goose chase. You Liberals are all the same. You ignore the truth. You spend needless time trying to undermine others and build a fake case. Then, when you come up empty, you accuse the very person/group that you are trying to ruin. I can assure you that I have the credentials I stated. I can assure you also, that if I ever meet you, it will be on my terms, not yours. If by some chance you try to stalk me, I will take appropriate measures to protect myself. I am not afraid of you. I will consider your actions as hostile, in true Liberal fashion. You are rude insulting and wrong on all accounts. You are a Liberal hater. If someone disagrees with you they become morally wrong. That is fully wrong. It is unfortunate that a Liberal with a vendetta cannot be trusted with the truth. Liberals use truth as a weapon for hatred.
I would want our republic to have transparency on Presidential Candidates. However, things have changed with the intensity of hatred against Trump. Already, we had a fake hoax, fake collusion, a fake coup, fake personal and family investigations, and resistance at every level. You, I guess, can’t even see the hatred. That is wrong. You can not overturn an election because you hate President Trump. Watch as things develop. Also, Trump had a 3% chance of winning the election. Who won? Trump won legitimately. Trump is a winner. Just because you hate him won’t change that fact. Hate on.
Joe, you show tremendous gaps in knowledge and understanding. Do you think that after a two year witch-hunt that someone other than an idiot would give the “enemy” additional information against himself? This is crazy? You wouldn’t do it. You refused to look at many sources that confirm the Russian Hoax. You have a willful blind spot. You hate Trump and think everyone else should too. You are wrong again. The witch-hunt against Trump far exceeds any other previous “opposition research.” If you can’t see that you are a nut job.
Neither President Trump nor I have anything to do with Russia. You are crazy to think that. Read The Russian Hoax that I told you about six times and you refused to read. That fully exonerates Trump with accredited sources. As for me, I grew up with a MIG-29 dartboard. Of course, no one wants to go to war. It is the warrior that makes the sacrifices during war. By the same token as a fighter pilot that is what you train for. I dreamed about shooting down a MIG-29. That was the best fighter they had. Don’t be silly Joe. I trained for years to take on the damn commies. The Russians will never be our friends. You are in desperate need of catching up with reality. I am embarrassed for you...almost.
Come on Joe. Rise above the willfully ignorant haters. The Russian Hoax by Gregg Jarrett.
Ch 1. Hillary Clinton’s E-mail Server
Ch 2. Comey Contorts The Law To Clear Clinton
Ch 3. “The Fix”
Ch 4. Clinton Greed And “Uranium One”
Ch 5. The Fraudulent Case Against Donald Trump
Ch 6. The Fabricated “Dossier” Used Against Trump
Ch 7. Government Abuse Of Surveillance
Ch 8. Meeting With Russians Is Not A Crime
Ch 9. Flynn’s Firing, Session’s Recusal, And The Canning Of Comey
Ch10.Obstruction Of Justice
Ch11.The Illegitimate Appointment Of Robert Mueller
Ch12 Is Joe Afraid To Read The Truth? (Ha Ha)
Come on Joe. You refuse to accept the truth. You purposely avoid reality. Just wait as things emerge that will rock your artificial sense of reality.
Here is yet another reason that America loves President Trump. Lt. Behenna was pardoned today. He was imprisoned by the Obama Administration. He was wrongly convicted of murdering an enemy. Thank you President Trump. This is why veterans and Americans don’t care about your tax returns. We will vote for you again because you care. You stood behind us to right a wrong. We will stand behind you by the millions to right the wrongs against you. This is what MAGA means!
Come on Joe. The Electoral College has been in use for quite some time in American Presidential elections. The Electoral College was certainly the approved process for the election of 2016. The Electoral College was established so the entire country would have input into the selection of a President. Iowa, Maine, Wisconsin, etc. would have input into Presidential selection. Popular ballots would not give candidates a reason to visit many states. This would give an unfair advantage to New York, California the heavily populated states. President Trump was certainly elected in a legitimate election. Now, since Hillary lost, because of her own campaign mistakes, you, Joe, want to change the rules. This claim of yours is ignorant of the rules. You should be trying to change Hillary’s strategy rather than try to change the election rules after the election. You are a Trump hater that just can not leave it go. Denying election results is just the next futile attempt at delegitimization for losers.
Trump owes nobody his tax results. You show me where it is ok to target a private citizen with the intent to dig up a crime on him. Not in my America. You bring me the man and I will find the crime-Stalin. Trump doesn’t need to provide proof to anybody about being under audit. You hate Trump so you have it out for him. Do you want an America that targets individuals like this? What if it was you? Would that be ok? You hate Trump and you think everyone else should too. You are self centered to think like this. Trumps tax returns should remain private, especially if the reason for their disclosure is unlawful incrimination. The courts will certainly agree. Let’s take this to the Supreme Court Joe!
The democrats have no legal standing under the constitution to demand his tax returns.
Joe come on. We have three coequal branches of government. Congress is not over the Executive branch. The Supreme Court would have to decide whether a few deranged Congress members who have it out against a private citizen should have access to private records to search them for something that they don’t like. Get real. I will defend this any time. This is the last gasp of losers, Joe.
Political theatrics through a committees misuse of power has been tried before. Look folks, our Constitution does not explicitly grant any power of inquiry to Congress (originally). Things quickly changed, and today we have committees of appointees who are given powers to be abused over and over.
This is all political theatrics of an obstructing nature. Never forget... Democrats always accuse Republicans of the very things they have already perfectly committed. Obstruction? Hillary is a prime example of obstruction, but these committee folk couldn't be bothered with that obstruction. Time will tell.
Come on Joe. You have been accusing President Trump of illegality for over two years now. A $35 Million investigation came up empty. You absolutely refuse to review the very sources that would and have put the case to rest. The burden of proof is on you. Just because you don’t like the Electoral College, or because you don’t like Trump is not a valid reason to overturn the election. Oversight and checks and balance are out of control. We have a silent coup going on here. Can’t you even acknowledge that? Unelected people are trying to overthrow a legitimate President. Not in my America.

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