Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pushed back against Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) over questions concerning the release of President Donald Trump’s tax returns, saying the administration is concerned about “weaponizing” the IRS.
Mnuchin says he considers the issue of Congress having access to Trump’s tax returns constitutes a difference of legal opinion.
Mnuchin was speaking before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday on 2020 budget requests for the Treasury Department and IRS. Van Hollen was asking if he agreed that Congress has a “legitmate interest in verifying that the president has paid the taxes due.”
“I think this is a very important issue that has a precedent beyond any one president and Congress,” Mnuchin said. “It affects the weaponization of the IRS.”
Van Hollen noted that Mnuchin “did not address whether Congress has a legitimate interest in verifying whether the IRS is properly enforcing the tax law with respect to the president.”
“Doesn’t Congress, as a separate branch of government, have a legitimate interest in determining whether the IRS is enforcing the tax laws with respect to a president of the United States,” Van Hollen asked.
Mnuchin responded, saying “there is a difference in interpretation between Congress and us and the Department of Justice around this law.”
“That not only impacts this president and this Congress but has a very big impact on every single taxpayer in weaponizing the IRS,” Mnuchin continued, saying ultimately this will go to the court system to be resolved.
Watch above, via C-SPAN.
[image via screengrab]
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