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Report: Classified Memo Claims Trump’s Tax Returns Must be Turned Over Unless Executive Privilege Invoked

Once Democrats won the House majority in the fall of 2018, attention turned to documents related to Trump’s business empire. One of the key goals for lawmakers, was to get their hands on the President’s tax returns.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Democrats and the current administration have engaged in a subpoena battle that has continued to rage on. A new memo obtained by the Washington Post shows that the IRS would be willing to submit Trump’s returns, unless he invokes executive privilege.

The draft, meant to be confidential, was written in the fall of 2018. The memo says the tax disclosure, “is mandatory, requiring the Secretary to disclose returns, and return information, requested by the tax-writing Chairs.”

Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, has so far refused to provide Congress with the returns. The request, ““lacks a legitimate legislative purpose,” wrote Mnuchin. “As you have recognized, the committee’s request is unprecedented, and it presents serious constitutional questions, the resolution of which may have lasting consequences for all taxpayers.”

The draft memo disagrees with the rationale Mnuchin is using. It reads, “[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. Only basis the agency’s refusal to comply with a committee’s subpoena would be the invocation of the doctrine of executive privilege.”

William Lowrance, a former attorney for the IRS, says, “The memo is clear in its interpretation of the law that the IRS shall furnish this information.”

The document did, however, note that executive privilege could be claimed by the administration. Trump has shown a willingness to claim executive privilege as recently seen with William Barr and Don McGahn testimony requests.



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