Treasury Secretary says battle over Trump's tax returns could go to court

Steven Mnuchin

Steven Mnuchin

Mnuchin says he considers the issue of Congress having access to Trump's tax returns constitutes a difference of legal opinion.

"There's a difference in interpretation in Congress and us and the Department of Justice", Mnuchin told a Senate appropriations panel Wednesday.

He has refused to comply with the demand by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, Massachusetts Democrat, to turn over six years of returns from Mr. Trump and some of the president's associated businesses.

The president's lawyers and White House are expected to challenge the move and have argued that Democrats' request does not serve a legitimate legislative goal, an argument the administration made in its rejection of the Democrats' initial request.

Mnuchin told the senators that Congress didn't need to see the president's returns to ensure the IRS was conducting audits properly.

Mnuchin officially said he had not made up his mind on how his department would respond, but he signaled during comments at a hearing on Capitol Hill, as well as while speaking to reporters directly following that appearance, that the response to Neal would likely fit a pattern.

"Mr. Secretary, doesn't Congress as a separate branch of government have a legitimate interest in determining whether or not the airs is enforcing tax laws with respect to the President of the United States? Sen".

"I have not discussed this with the president or anybody at the White House", Mnuchin said.

Trump broke with 40 years of precedent by refusing to release his tax returns during the 2016 campaign. Another dispute over Trump's tax returns, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee seeking Trump's personal and business records from accountant Mazars USA LLP, had a hearing in federal court on Tuesday.

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