Key House Democrat issues subpoenas for Trump's tax returns

A sign announces the closing of Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City N.J

A sign announces the closing of Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City N.J

House Democrats issued subpoenas on Friday to force Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to release six years of President Trump's tax returns. "I sincerely hope that the Treasury Department will furnish the requested material in the next week so the committee can quickly begin its work", Neal said in a written statement.

Critics of Mnuchin say that he's thumbing his nose at the oversight duty of Congress, while others say Democrats are overstepping their bounds with a politically motivated demand.

The Democrats on Mr Neal's committee have argued that they need access to the President's tax returns in order to understand how the IRS administers the presidential audit program even as Republicans and the Treasury Department have argued it is not a legitimate legislative objective.

Neal initially requested the tax documents more than a month ago and Mnuchin blew off multiple deadlines imposed by the committee.

Democrats say they are prepared for a lengthy court battle over the returns. (PA) Some on the committee like Rep Lloyd Doggett, a liberal Democrat from Texas, have argued that if they were in Mr Neal's position, they would hold Mr Mnuchin in contempt of Congress if he refuses to hand over the tax returns, a step that is unlikely to happen with Mr Neal at the helm of the committee.

Neal originally demanded access to Trump's tax returns in early April. White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told CBS News this week that Congress would never see Mr. Trump's tax returns, saying that Congress is "not entitled to see them by law".

In upcoming days - if the Treasury Department or IRS defy the subpoenas - the House counsel would ask the speaker of the House to authorise court action.

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The latest pseudo-scandal over President Trump's taxes is that he apparently took more losses than nearly anyone in the country three decades ago - and by doing so, escaped the Internal Revenue Service's clutches.

Trump has privately made clear he has no intention of turning over the much-coveted records. Mnuchin formally refused to comply with the law on Monday. 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.

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 Russian Federation probe - meant to damage him.

He has linked the effort to the myriad House probes into his administration and has urged his team to stonewall all requests.

But Mnuchin rejected the request this week, telling Neal that he was relying on Department of Justice advice that the request "lacks a legitimate legislative objective". The legal battle would likely drag on for years and end up at the Supreme Court.

'And while I'm under audit, I won't do it.

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