politics sarah huckabee sanders steve mnuchin Trump

Scholars Mnuchin, Bartiromo ‘Analyze The Law’, Warn Public How ‘Dangerous’ Releasing Trump’s Taxes Would Be

Steve Mnuchin is busy, so don't bother him, ok?

Steve Mnuchin is busy, so don’t bother him, ok?

Specifically, Steve is busy “analyzing the law” when it comes to congressional requests to produce six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns, something the president insists isn’t possible because “when you’re under audit, you don’t do it”.

Never mind the fact that nobody knows what that means –  the IRS does not prevent a filer from releasing returns that are under audit. Additionally, Reuters reminds you that Trump has “offered no evidence of the agency’s review.”

Republicans are attempting to spin Mnuchin’s efforts to stall as something that’s necessary in order to avoid setting a “dangerous precedent”. Again, it’s not entirely clear what that means. Is there really a “slippery slope” here? Is it likely that future congresses will point to the Donald Trump example in the course of obtaining the tax returns of random citizens and/or politicians and then wielding those returns for nefarious purposes? And considering there’s four decades of precedent for presidents releasing their returns (and exactly no indication that anyone intends to follow Trump’s example by steadfastly refusing to do so), is there any evidence to support the idea that complying with Richard Neal’s request would affect future presidents?

The answer is “no” to all of the above. This is just another example of Republicans (and Trump’s inner circle) pretending as though they have no idea why these things are happening – as though it is completely lost on them why anyone would suggest that Trump is a special case that calls for (indeed demands) scrutiny.

You’re reminded that according to some tax attorneys, Mnuchin doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on here – at all.

Read more on the effort to keep Trump’s tax returns from Congress

The Treasury Secretary last week failed to meet a deadline for producing the returns citing, among other things, the necessity of consulting with William Barr (which is laughable for obvious reasons) on questions of law.

Steve reiterated that on Monday in an interview with (guess who) Maria Bartiromo. “We’re analyzing the law, we’re consulting with the Department of Justice”, Mnuchin said.

Just watch the clip and decide for yourself whether this is a legitimate effort to assess complex legal issues and protect taxpayers’ privacy, or whether this is just an absurdly transparent attempt to shield Trump (almost certainly at the White House’s behest, by the way):

 

With apologies to anyone who finds that convincing, you would have to be an overtly gullible person to believe anything Mnuchin says there. Even if you buy the premise (which you absolutely shouldn’t, for all the reasons laid out in these pages over the past month and touched on above), Mnuchin comes across as wholly unconvincing, which isn’t surprising because you can be sure he doesn’t believe anything he’s saying.

On Sunday, Sarah Sanders took the silliness to new extremes by explicitly saying that Congress shouldn’t be allowed to see Trump’s returns because lawmakers “aren’t smart enough”.

 

Obviously, nobody would believe any of the above if it could somehow be separated from the partisan melee and evaluated on its own merit.

Sanders’s comments in particular are laughably ridiculous, not to mention insulting to Trump’s base to the extent she knows many of the president’s supporters are gullible enough to believe the press secretary’s subjective assessment of lawmakers’ mental acuity is not only relevant, but cause for defying a congressional order.

And, meanwhile, poor Larry with his umbrella and contrasting collar…

10 comments on “Scholars Mnuchin, Bartiromo ‘Analyze The Law’, Warn Public How ‘Dangerous’ Releasing Trump’s Taxes Would Be

  1. Lol @ anyone in Trump’s orbit including Sanders making claims about anyone’s intelligence

  2. While I understand why people want to see Trump’s returns, I disagree that he has any obligation to share them. I’m appalled that Congress might subpoena them

    and yes, I am no fan of the president

    • Oh, ok. That, despite the fact the he and/or his organization and charity have been implicated in all manner of financial fraud. Would you think it equally disagreeable for Congress to subpoena a suspected drug dealer’s tax returns? If not, why not?

      • And investigating the commission of financial fraud is really an unnecessarily difficult standard where there is already a sound legal basis for Congress obtaining the returns: oversight of the Chief Executive’s financial conflicts of interest–even if they are entirely legal.

        Although with the Justice Department attempting to gut the Emoluments clause, conflicts of interest might not be an issue anymore.

  3. I have no problem with a federal prosecutor subpoena wrt a criminal indictment

    This is nothing more than a political ploy. They’ve been pursuing them since before the election. My objections go back that far. While it is customary for presidential candidates to release their returns, there is no requirement. In my opinion this is nothing but a cynical fishing expedition. Trump has nothing to gain by releasing them

    If there is actual precedent for Congress scrutinizing a president’s finances solely for conflicts of interest then I am open to persuasion

    • “Trump has nothing to gain by releasing them” and everything to lose. Fixed it for you. So let them fish and see what they catch. It’s bound to be tasty

    • lol. Trump and his various operations are the subject of all manner of indictments. which one would you like to read? I mean, Jesus — you are aware of how many indictments handed down over the past two years reference him, his family and his businesses right? and you’re surely aware that his charity was shuttered. and that he was essentially forced to admit to defrauding thousands of “students” in his farcical “Trump U.” and that Democrats have now subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and four other banks for records. and that New York’s insurance regulator is now investigating him on suspicion of fraud. and that there are so many financial-fraud-related cases pending in the SDNY that nobody even knows what they all are. and on and on and on.

      also, did you read this? …. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/10/02/us/politics/donald-trump-tax-schemes-fred-trump.html

      his entire history is nothing but a giant tax fraud — literally.

      of course none of this matters to people who, for whatever reason, want to persist in this fantasy that Democrats are somehow in the wrong for wanting to get to the bottom of what crimes the sitting US president has committed.

    • You’re right, Trump has nothing to gain by releasing them. But the American People have the right to see whether the Executive branch is conducting policy faithfully on behalf of the public–although the argument could be made that with so much ‘winning’ likely going on in those returns, it would be damaging to the psyche of everyday Americans to see them, and thus Trump is performing a vital national service.

      But back to scrutinizing finances. The Revenue Act of 1924, the statute being cited for the tax returns, is a direct legislative response to the infamous Teapot Dome scandal. While this isn’t a perfect analog, it still shows that the opportunity for Executive Branch enrichment poses a problem, and necessitates caution and scrutiny by the other branches of government. The oil-lease transactions setting off that scandal were technically legal, yet aroused enough suspicion to warrant further investigation. Thus the law making sure that these opportunities can be checked by congress.

      To give a better recent example: imagine having gone through the Iraq War and hearing unverified news stories that Dick Cheney had been awarding lucrative military contracts to his old company, one in which he still held a financial interest. In this alternate reality, imagine that his old company wasn’t HAL, a public corporation, but instead a private company. With no public disclosures and no way of verifying the stories, Ol’ Deadeye Dick vehemently denies the extent of any influence between his old company and his new office, reminding everyone that his tax returns, which would verify the truth of the stories, cannot be released because they are under audit–and besides, Congress wouldn’t understand them anyway.

      In the actual timeline, America knew about Cheney’s his conflicts of interest and he was unsuccessfully impeached. It should be pretty evident that there are situations where getting this otherwise-unavailable information into the system of checks and balances is vital for our democracy.

  4. Poor little rich Maria Bartiromo – she was so good for so many years on CNBC until too many CEO’s flatly contradicted her and her tax-cuts-for-the-rich-job-creators and trickle-down economics. Many would not take her bait.
    She had to go to Fox or continue to be humiliated

  5. jamaican

    Also, Trump himself promised to release his tax returns on numerous occasions.
    Here’s a timeline on that:
    https://money.cnn.com/2017/04/17/news/donald-trump-tax-returns/index.html
    The article is 2 years old, which only reinforces the notion that he’s been bulls***ing everbody ever since.
    It never ceases to amaze me how Republicans are willing to turn a blind eye to all of this – do they really believe that this moron is their last and only chance to stay in power? And if so, how sad is that

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