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Mnuchin defies House subpoena for Trump's tax returns

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 17, 2019 - Duration: 01:42s

Mnuchin defies House subpoena for Trump's tax returns

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday that he would not meet a congressional demand for six years of President Donald Trump's tax returns, all but guaranteeing a federal court battle with Congress over the records.

Nathan Frandino reports.

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Mnuchin defies House subpoena for Trump's tax returns

(SOUNDBITE) (English) STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY, SAYING: "You can guess which way we're leaning on our subpoena." In yet another act of resistance against congressional Democrats, the Trump administration on Friday defied a subpoena seeking years of President Donald Trump's tax returns.

House Ways and Means Committee chairman Richard Neal sent a subpoena a week ago to both Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.

But in a letter to the Committee Friday, Mnuchin said, quote, reiterated an earlier claim that there was no legitimate legislative purpose in the Democrat's request.

Neal has repeatedly cited a federal anti-corruption law that says the Treasury Secretary, quote, "shall furnish" the committee with any return.

Earlier on Friday, Neal alluded to what comes next.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REP.

RICHARD NEAL, (D) MASSACHUSETTS, SAYING: "And the result will be that we'll likely proceed to court as quickly as next week." REPORTER: "Would you consider holding Mnuchin in contempt?" NEAL: "Well I don't see that right now as an option.

I think the better option for us is to proceed with a court case, but we still have until 5 o'clock.

Who knows?" The move all but ensures a court battle in the coming months, which would test how much power Congress has to investigate the executive branch of government.

During the 2016 race, Trump became the first major party nominee in 40 years to break with the tradition of releasing their tax returns.

Trump has repeatedly said he is under no obligation to do so.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "I have no problem with it but while I'm under audit I would not give my taxes, there is no law whatsoever." The refusal comes a day after the U.S. Office of Government Ethics released Trump's financial disclosures, showing a drop-off in revenues at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida... modest gains at his Trump International Hotel in Washington... and at least $315 million in debt.

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