Mnuchin Violates Tax Law As Barr Could Be Held In Contempt
Mnuchin and Barr are protecting Trump on two of his most vulnerable fronts: concealing the potential fraud in Trump’s tax returns and shielding him from accountability for obstructing justice.
On April 3, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) formally requested six years of President Trump’s tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Rep. Neal used No. 6103 in the tax code. The New York Times explained at the time:
The provision, which dates in some form to the Teapot Dome scandal of Warren G. Harding’s administration, at least on its face gives the Trump administration little room to decline a request like Mr. Neal’s. It only says that the Treasury secretary “shall” furnish the information.
After signaling he would protect President Trump’s privacy, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin sent a letter to Chairman Neal today rejecting his request for Trump’s tax returns. Mnuchin argued that Chairman Neal’s request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.” CNN analyst, and former FBI agent, Asha Rangappa argues that, “The legislative purpose of the law under which the Ways & Means Committee is requesting Trump’s tax returns was passed in the wake of the Teapot Dome scandal — the entire purpose of the law is to have oversight over potential financial conflicts of public officials.”
President Trump has long used his debunked audit excuse as reasoning for not releasing his tax returns, but it’s clear there is an ulterior motive. President Trump’s history of fraudulent activity, both in his personal and business life, has been widely reported on and is currently under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York.
This comes as Attorney General William Barr missed House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler’s (D-NY) deadline to provide Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full unredacted report to Congress. In response, Chairman Nadler released a statement:
“The Attorney General’s failure to comply with our subpoena, after extensive accommodation efforts, leaves us no choice but to initiate contempt proceedings in order to enforce the subpoena and access the full, unredacted report.”
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The contempt vote has been scheduled for Wednesday of this week. Barr has been actively misrepresenting the Mueller report, acting as President Trump’s personal attorney, and trying to shield the President from accountability when it comes to obstruction of justice. Vox explains what consequences the contempt process could yield for Wiliam Barr:
Contempt is another way for Congress to get subpoenaed documents, by asking the US attorney of the District of Columbia or the Department of Justice to charge Barr with criminal contempt for not complying with a congressional subpoena. In theory, a charge of contempt could result in a fine or jail time for the attorney general (though in reality, that likely won’t happen).
While the fight over releasing the full Mueller report continues, House Democrats are pushing for Robert Mueller to testify publicly on Capitol Hill. Further showcasing how important Mueller’s testimony will be, over 400 former federal prosecutors signed on to in a letter today declaring President Trump would be prosecuted for obstruction of justice if he weren’t president.
What Steve Mnuchin and William Barr are doing is clear: they are protecting President Trump from accountability for his alleged criminal acts at all costs, even if it means violating the law themselves.
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