Mnuchin says request for Trump's tax returns is under review

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

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. "We had obviously read in the press that we were expecting this".

Mnuchin faced grilling before House panels on appropriations and financial services, where Democrats aggressively questioned him over President Donald Trump's tax returns, sanctions policy toward Russian Federation and his personal finances.

During a tense exchange before the Financial Services Committee on Tuesday afternoon, Mnuchin wouldn't commit to what precisely the Treasury Department would do next.

But in a second hearing later in the day, Mnuchin said the department had never sought permission from the White House on the issue regarding the release of the tax returns. "It will be embarrassing if I keep this person waiting for long periods of time", he said.

Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney said the communication between Treasury and the White House over the request for Trump's returns was "deeply troubling".

At both hearings, Mnuchin said the Treasury would "follow the law" regarding Neal's request for Trump's tax returns, adding that was being reviewed by the Treasury's legal department.

"I think as I have implied we have people working on this", Mnuchin told reporters on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington. Neal is relying on a 1920s-era law that says the IRS "shall furnish" any tax return requested by the chairmen of key House and Senate committees.

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Mnuchin said that he had a list of appearances by other Treasury secretaries and that none of them had been forced to testify for more than three hours and 15 minutes. Mnuchin then sarcastically offered to stay, an offer that Waters said she'd take him up on.

"This highlights the fact that there's an inherent conflict of interest for the agency to appropriately audit its boss", George Yin, a University of Virginia School of Law professor and former Joint Committee on Taxation chief of staff tells Fortune.

Waters then interrupted him, saying, "Please do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this committee". Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters didn't waste time, using her first question to ask Mnuchin if he would send the president's tax information by their Wednesday deadline.

Trump's taxes have been a source of contention since his presidential campaign, when he broke with decades of tradition by refusing to release his returns.

Mnuchin revealed in testimony earlier this week that Treasury lawyers had consulted with White House attorneys about the possible release of the returns.

"While I'm under audit I would not give my taxes - there's no law whatsoever".

Trump's position has always been that he is under audit and therefore could not release his returns. During a hearing on the IRS budget before the Senate Finance Committee, Rettig was pressed by Sen.

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