The Treasury Department said on Wednesday evening that it would not immediately comply with a congressional request to hand over President Trump’s tax returns, setting up a protracted legal battle between two branches of government.
Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said in a letter to Representative Richard E. Neal, the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, that the Treasury Department’s lawyers needed more time to assess the lawfulness of the request and expressed concern that it would be a violation of taxpayer privacy.
Mr. Mnuchin did not say how much time the review would take but conveyed concerns about whether Congress has authority to review the records.
“The committee’s request raises serious issues concerning the constitutional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative purpose and the constitutional rights of American citizens,” Mr. Mnuchin wrote. “The legal implications of this request could affect protections for all Americans against politically motivated disclosures of tax information, regardless of which party is in power.”
SOURCE: Alan Rappeport, The New York Times