Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 25 April 2019

Trump misses Democrat deadline for releasing tax return

Trump is the first US president since Richard Nixon to refuse to divulge his tax information.

U.S. President Trump arrives on stage during an executive signing event at the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Training and Education Center in Crosby, Texas. Bloomberg
U.S. President Trump arrives on stage during an executive signing event at the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Training and Education Center in Crosby, Texas. Bloomberg

The US administration will miss a Wednesday deadline set by congressional Democrats demanding to see President Donald Trump's tax returns, the Treasury Secretary said.

Mr Trump is the first US president since Richard Nixon to refuse to divulge his tax information and critics say his refusal suggests he might have something to hide.

Democratic representative Richard Neal, chairman of the House ways and means committee, sparked a battle last week when he made the request using a little-known provision in the tax code.

"It is critical to ensure the accountability of our government and elected officials," Mr Neal said.

But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin released a letter on Wednesday evening saying he was checking with the Justice Department as to the constitutional issues raised by the request.

"The Committee's request raises serious issues concerning the constitutional scope of congressional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative purpose, and the constitutional rights of American citizens," Mr Mnuchin wrote.

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Fox News Sunday that since voters knew before the 2016 election that Mr Trump would not reveal his returns and then elected him anyway, the matter was "already litigated".

Mr Mulvaney said that while there were legal provisions for the Internal Revenue Service to turn tax papers over to the committee, a political attack was not a valid reason.

Meanwhile Jay Sekulow, Mr Trump's private lawyer, said that the Democratic-controlled House was trying to move beyond its constitutionally mandated role into law enforcement.

If the Democrats want to know "if the IRS is doing its job auditing the president, they could ask the IRS", Mr Sekulow told ABC's This Week.

Mr Trump said that he cannot release his tax returns because they are being audited, but the IRS said this was no impediment.

Updated: April 11, 2019 05:14 AM

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