House Chairman Says Treasury’s Reasons to Withhold Trump’s Tax Returns ‘Lack Merit’ – The New York Times

Anticipating an increasingly likely legal fight over the Ways and Means action, House Democrats were also taking 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.

“The committee has full authority to investigate whether the president may have engaged in illegal conduct before and during his tenure in office, to determine whether he has undisclosed conflicts of interest that may impair his ability to make impartial policy decisions, to assess whether he is complying with the emoluments clauses of the Constitution, and to review whether he has accurately reported his finances to the Office of Government Ethics and other federal entities,” Mr. Cummings wrote, hinting at the broad scope of his own investigation.

Mr. Trump himself has made abundantly clear he does not intend to relent on his yearslong objections to turning over his tax returns, and his personal lawyer has urged the Treasury Department, which includes the I.R.S., to fight Mr. Neal’s request.

On Wednesday, just before Mr. Neal’s initial deadline for compliance, the Treasury Department said it needed more time to assess the legality of the request but cast doubt on his assertions to having a legitimate legislative purpose to do so. Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, wrote that he was consulting the Justice Department to draft a response, but did not indicate how long that would take.

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