In a bombshell report on Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Post revealed an internal IRS memo leaked to the paper that completely undermines every ounce of justification that the Trump administration and the Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, are using to continue to withhold the President’s tax returns, which have been subpoenaed by Congress.
According to the report, the legal memo clearly states that disclosure of the President’s tax returns — or ANY tax returns subject to a congressional subpoena — “is mandatory, requiring the Secretary to disclose returns, and return information, requested by the tax-writing Chairs.”
From the Post piece:
[T]he Secretary’s obligation to disclose return and return information would not be affected by the failure of a tax writing committee . . . to state a reason for the request,” it says. It adds that the “only basis the agency’s refusal to comply with a committee’s subpoena would be the invocation of the doctrine of executive privilege.”
The ironic part is, this legal memo, according to WaPo‘s source, pre-dates Secretary Mnuchin’s claim that he would not turn over the returns because the House Ways and Means Committee hadn’t demonstrated a “legitimate legislative purpose” for requesting them.
According to the document, the Committee doesn’t actually need any reason for demanding the tax returns, and they must be turned over in any circumstance other than the President actively asserting executive privilege — which Trump has not done.
Legal experts consulted by the Post to help parse the memo indicated that there was no confusion about it at all: “The memo writer’s interpretation is that the IRS has no wiggle room on this. Mnuchin is saying the House Ways and Means Committee has not asserted a legitimate legislative purpose. The memo says they don’t have to assert a legitimate legislative purpose — or any purpose at all.”
Ironically, the rejection of the Ways and Means Committee’s subpoena on Friday by Mnuchin triggered legal action by a DC federal judge. The appeal on that judge’s ruling, which was not in the administration’s favor, will come before the Chief Judge of the DC Circuit Court.
That judge’s name? Merrick Garland.
Of course, federal judges are impartial, but it certainly doesn’t help Trump’s case that the judge who will ultimately hear his appeal is a guy the GOP cheated out of a spot on the Supreme Court so that they could install Neil Gorsuch after Trump’s election.
Featured image via screen capture