White House resists release of Trump’s tax returns

(Reuters pic)

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump’s tax returns will never be handed over to Democratic lawmakers, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on Sunday, defying an effort in Congress to learn more about the Republican president’s personal finances.

Asked on the “Fox News Sunday” news program if congressional Democrats will succeed in obtaining Trump’s tax returns, Mulvaney said: “Never. Nor should they.”

He dismissed an effort to obtain the returns, launched formally on Wednesday by US House of Representatives tax committee chairman Richard Neal, as a political ploy from Democrats who will never stop attacking Trump.

“Democrats are demanding that the IRS turn over the documents. That is not going to happen, and they know it. This is a political stunt,” Mulvaney said.

Democrats fired back that Neal’s request to the Treasury Department for Trump’s returns is grounded in law and a needed inquiry, given Trump’s refusal to disclose his tax records and to divest himself of his business interests.

“This is a legitimate authority that the Congress has. This president, by the way, is the least transparent president that we’ve had in half a century,” Democratic Representative Dan Kildee, a tax committee member, told ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos.

“It is not up to President Trump, it is not up to some lawyer that President Trump hires, to determine whether” his tax returns can be sought, Kildee said. “This is not an autocracy. The president does not get to decide for himself and for Congress what a legitimate subject of inquiry might be.”