Mnuchin and Maxine Waters Clash at Hearing

Paul Waldman Trump’s tax return scam has taken yet another turn

The comment came as part of a testy exchange between Mnuchin and the California Democrat during Mnuchin's testimony to the House Committee on Financial Services Tuesday. "If I'm not under audit, I would do it, I have no problem with it, but while I'm under audit, I would not give my taxes", Trump said. "It will be embarrassing if I keep this person waiting for long periods of time", he said.

Attorneys for the president have argued Neal's request risks using the IRS for partisan political aims, arguing House Democrats are engaged in a "gross abuse of power" that infringes on taxpayer privacy.

Mnuchin said that he was scheduled to meet with a senior official from the Bahrain government.

The New York bill introduced Monday would require the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to release any state income tax return requested by leaders of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation "for a specified and legitimate legislative goal".

That's the deadline they had given IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to turn over six years of President Donald Trump's personal and business tax returns to House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat.

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"Remember, I got elected last time, the exact same issue, with the same intensity, which was not very much, because, frankly, the people don't care", Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to Texas.

The chairman said getting a look at the president's tax information is necessary to study IRS practices about auditing presidential tax returns, but Republicans say there's no legislative value to them and have dismissed the request as an attempt to fish for damaging details about the president.

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. "As I've said, we consulted - which I believe was appropriate of our legal department", Mnuchin said Tuesday.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters Wednesday that he planned to respond to Neal by the deadline, but he didn't specify what the response would say.

Democratic Rep. Nydia Velázquez of NY shot back, "And the law says - upon a written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate or the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the secretary shall furnish". "It's a new day and it's a new chair", said Waters.

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"Please do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this committee", she warned.

Waters then cut in, offering that Mnuchin was free to leave whenever he wished, but Mnuchin pushed further, appearing to ask for official permission to leave. The 1924 law in question has never been challenged in court, and this is the first time it is being used to compel the provision of the president's tax returns.

"You made me an offer that I accepted", Waters said.

The head of the IRS faced questions from politicians for a second day on his response to Neal's request.

During the 2016 campaign, he defended Trump's decision to break with tradition by refusing to release his tax filings.

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