Mnuchin has fiery exchange with Rep. Maxine Waters during hearing

Mnuchin has fiery exchange with Rep. Maxine Waters during hearing

Mnuchin has fiery exchange with Rep. Maxine Waters during hearing

Mnuchin told a House panel that he personally has not had any communications with the president or his top staff about the department's decision on whether to provide Trump's tax returns under a almost century-old law that says the Treasury Department "shall furnish" them when requested by top lawmakers.

Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., citing a long list of Trump administration officials who have departed, pressed Mnuchin on whether he was anxious about being fired if he complied with the request. "We had obviously read in the press that we were expecting this".

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO'-shin) says his department is unable to provide President Donald Trump's tax returns to Congress by Wednesday's deadline.

Mnuchin also told the Financial Services Committee on Tuesday that he would "comply with the law", but did not further say that he would hand over the tax returns.

"No other secretary has ever told us the day before that they were going to limit their time", Waters said. The practice of presidential candidates making tax returns public, which Trump promised to uphold and then broke, started after Nixon as an anti-corruption measure.

Mnuchin said he was consulting with the Justice Department as to the constitutional questions raised by the Democrats request and appeared deeply skeptical of the lawmakers intentions.

Mnuchin added that he was never briefed on the content of the discussions, and would not say what he would do about the Democrats' requests.

Mnuchin had testified about his plans to respond to requests for President Trump's tax returns for roughly three hours by 5pm when he reminded committee members that he had a meeting with "a foreign leader", meaning Bahrain's interior minister.

"If this is the way you will treat me, I will rethink" returning, Mnuchin said at one point.

The law seems certain, but some legal experts have said Congress's powers are constrained by legal rulings that require lawmakers to avoid fishing expeditions and instead to have a legitimate investigation underway. But asking for the president's tax returns is uncharted territory, a fact that the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee was cognizant of as he was waiting to make the request.

When Nixon was first audited by the IRS, he was given a clean bill on his returns, but a subsequent audit of the same returns found that he owed almost $500,000 in additional tax on interest. But Rettig reiterated that there's no rule prohibiting taxpayers under audit from releasing their returns.

Now, almost four full years since the infamous day he rode down the Trump Tower escalator to declare Mexicans are rapists and he was launching a presidential bid, President Trump lied to reporters, insisting "there is no law" that can force the release of his taxes.

Neal has adopted a methodical approach to seeking Trump's returns. "The Ways and Means Committee in particular has a responsibility to conduct oversight of our voluntary federal tax system and determine how Americans - including those elected to our highest office - are complying with those laws".

Allies of the President have argued that the Democrats have no right to see his returns.

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