House Chairman Says Treasury’s Concerns Over Trump’s Tax Returns ‘Lack Merit’ – The New York Times

The Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said on Saturday that he had read Mr. Neal’s letter but made no commitments about complying with the request by the new deadline, which he described as “arbitrary.”

“I feel a responsibility that we get this right and that the I.R.S. doesn’t become weaponized like it was under the Nixon administration,” Mr. Mnuchin said during a news briefing on the sidelines of the annual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Mr. Mnuchin said that Treasury lawyers were studying the lawfulness of the request with the Justice Department. While he said that he would follow the law, he made clear that he had serious concerns about protecting the privacy of the tax returns of all taxpayers, including Mr. Trump.

“I don’t think these are simple issues,” Mr. Mnuchin said. “They are constitutional issues.”

House Democrats, anticipating an increasingly likely legal fight over the Ways and Means action, have also taken steps to open a side door into Mr. Trump’s finances. Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland and the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, informed Republicans on Friday that he intended to issue a subpoena in the coming days to compel Mazars USA, an accounting company tied to the president, to turn over relevant financial records in its possession.

Republicans balked at the request, calling it an “astonishing abuse” of the committee’s powers. But Mr. Cummings said he had the authority to investigate potential wrongdoing by Mr. Trump and testimony from Michael D. Cohen, his longtime fixer, that the president had intentionally misrepresented his assets and liabilities to suit his needs at a given moment.

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