White House chief of staff says Congress will 'never' obtain Trump's tax returns
We do not know what is in Donald Trump’s tax returns; unlike every other president of the modern era, this one has refused to release them. But Congress has broad powers to obtain those documents for their own oversight purposes, and the law is not subtle on the point. If Congress requests it, the IRS shall comply.
Which makes it all the more interesting that White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, of all people, took to Fox News this Sunday morning to vow that the IRS would “never” turn over Trump’s returns. There was no attempt at separating the White House from this apparent order to the IRS; Trump runs the IRS, and therefore can use it as protectionary force if he sees fit.
As for the laws that would seemingly require IRS compliance, they apparently no longer exist because Donald Trump won an election.
“Keep in mind, that’s an issue that was already litigated during the election. Voters knew the President could have given over his tax returns, they knew that he didn’t and they elected him anyway.”
An interesting argument, that. Trump’s voters gave him approval to hide potential wrongdoing, so laws that might uncover such acts are now … nullified? The oversight responsibilities of Congress are now null and void, overwritten by the desires of whichever candidate won the Electoral College? All of them, or just some?
But this was not Mick Mulvaney going rogue on behalf of a boss who appears to view congressional probes of his ongoing corporate doings as a threat dire enough to go a-Nixoning around the place. Trump “lawyer” Jay Sekulow appeared on This Week to further insist that the White House would not be complying, and that Trump’s remaining non-indicted legal team would be dragging it through the courts as long as the courts let them.
Experts aren’t terribly conflicted on this one. The provision in question was written specifically to allow congressional oversight of the executive branch; there appears to be no “unless the president orders his underlings to do otherwise” footnote. One of the basic premises of a democracy is that the laws remain the laws even if an elected official wants very, very much for them not to be. It is perhaps not surprising that Trump cannot comprehend the concept, but every other Republican around him knows full well what they are doing.
Protecting him even from the most generic of oversight—taking a peek to see if he has been defrauding the government itself, all this time, as multiple news reports and his own ex-lawyer have now offered evidence of—is anti-American in premise. Mulvaney is arguing that corruption itself can be nullified by an election. It’s not true.