A confidential Internal Revenue Service legal memo says tax returns must be given to Congress unless the president takes the rare step of asserting executive privilege, according to a copy of the memo obtained by The Washington Post. Confidential draft IRS memo says tax returns must be given to Congress unless president invokes executive privilege:
The memo contradicts the Trump administration’s justification for denying lawmakers’ request for President Trump’s tax returns, exposing fissures in the executive branch.
Trump has refused to turn over his tax returns but has not invoked executive privilege. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has instead denied the returns by arguing there is no legislative purpose for demanding them.
But according to the IRS memo, which has not been previously reported, the disclosure of tax returns to the committee “is mandatory, requiring the Secretary to disclose returns, and return information, requested by the tax-writing Chairs.”
The 10-page document says the law “does not allow the Secretary to exercise discretion in disclosing the information provided the statutory conditions are met” and directly rejects the reason Mnuchin has cited for withholding the information.
“[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.”
Excuuuse me? On what basis could the president assert executive privilege, which only applies to confidential communications for the purpose of obtaining advice? This is plainly inapplicable to tax forms to comply with income tax filing requirements.
The leak of this memo upset Bond villain, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who is hunting down the author of the memo, rather than complying with the law as accurately outlined in the memo. Mnuchin says Treasury trying to find out who wrote IRS memo: “We’re trying to find out who wrote the memo, where it came from, when it was and why it wasn’t distributed,” Mnuchin said at a House Financial Services Committee hearing.
In his testimony this morning, Mnuchin basically said “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.” Mnuchin says releasing Trump taxes would break law:
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that he would be breaking the law if he released President Trump’s tax returns to Congress.
Mr. Mnuchin said he feels he’s on firm legal ground in his decision to defy a subpoena issued by the House Ways and Means Committee demanding six years of tax records from Mr. Trump and some of his associated businesses.
“I have been advised I am not violating the law,” the secretary said. “I have been advised that had I turned them over I would be violating the law.”
See the above legal memo contradicting these false assertions. That piece of shit legal justification (CYA) Mnuchin got from our incredibly corrupt A.G. William “Coverup” Barr is not going to save him from being held accountable.
It’s time to remove this Bond villain from office under Section 7214(a), which provides that “Any officer or employee of the United States acting in connection with any revenue law of the United States… who with intent to defeat the application of any provision of this title fails to perform any of the duties of his office or employment… shall be dismissed from office or discharged from employment and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $10,000, or imprisoned not more than 5 years or both.”
The good-conduct provisions of the tax law are as broad as they are severe. Significantly, it doesn’t just affect IRS auditors and collections officers. It applies to any federal employee—which means Trump as well as [Treasury Secretary] Mnuchin and [IRS Commissioner] Rettig—who “fails to perform any of the duties” they are assigned.
Remove them all for for their lawlessness. It’s time for Congress to act.