Fortune – Politics
Why Mnuchin Doesn’t Want You to See Trump’s Tax Returns
Mnuchin Refuses to Release Trump Tax Returns.
Surprising absolutely no one, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin thumbed his nose at the House of Representatives on Monday evening and decided not to turn over President Donald Trump’s business and personal tax returns after weeks of saying he just needed a little more time to think about it. In a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, Mnuchin, citing guidance he received from the Justice Department, said the committee’s request for Trump’s returns “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose” and he was “therefore not authorized” to release them. With that, Mnuchin said he was “informing” Neal that Treasury “may not lawfully fulfill the Committee’s request.”
If it wasn’t clear before, then it is now: Trump’s White House has decided to wage war on the principles of transparency and oversight, arguing in a series of recent confrontations with the law enforcement community and Congress that the executive branch has the authority and independence to decide for itself whether it has to respond to – and even recognize – checks on its power.That muscularity surfaced during Attorney General William Barr’s Senate testimony last week, when he fended off hours of questions about how he oversaw the disclosure and interpretation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his Russia-Trump investigation. In response to questions about whether Trump had tried to impede or derail Mueller’s probe, and had therefore obstructed justice, Barr at one point said presidents had the power to upend any federal investigation – and to make up his or her mind whether the underlying reasons for a probe were robust enough for it to continue.