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Democrats subpoena Trump's tax returns in escalating fight with White House

Story Continued Below Neal is giving them until 5pm next Friday to comply. "While I do not take this step lightly, I believe this action gives us the best opportunity to succeed and obtain the requested material, "he said in a statement." I sincerely hope that the Treasury Department will furnish the requested material in the next week s The move comes as the administration is subpoena from other Democrats investigating the executive branch, with lawmakers now in the process of holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for rejecting their demand for an unredacted version of Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. If, as expected, the administration rejects Neal's subpoena as well, the next step for Democrats would likely be to sue for Trump's confidential filings in court POLITICO Playbook newsletter Sign up today to receive the # 1-rated newsletter in politics By signing up you agree to receive email newsletters or alerts from POLITICO. Given the administration's resistance to other subpoenas, Neal considered skipping issuing one himself and going directly to court. Taking the subpoena is likely to be more time-consuming, but it could help buttress a court case. At minimum, it would show in judge that democratically used the information from the administration before turning to the court system. Neal's announcement came after Mnuchin on Monday formally rejected the Massachusetts Democrat's request for the tax documents under an arcane. law for the heads of Congress' tax committees to examine anyone's tax…

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Neal is giving them until 5pm next Friday to comply.

“While I do not take this step lightly, I believe this action gives us the best opportunity to succeed and obtain the requested material, “he said in a statement.” I sincerely hope that the Treasury Department will furnish the requested material in the next week s The move comes as the administration is subpoena from other Democrats investigating the executive branch, with lawmakers now in the process of holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for rejecting their demand for an unredacted version of Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

If, as expected, the administration rejects Neal’s subpoena as well, the next step for Democrats would likely be to sue for Trump’s confidential filings in court

Given the administration’s resistance to other subpoenas, Neal considered skipping issuing one himself and going directly to court.

Taking the subpoena is likely to be more time-consuming, but it could help buttress a court case. At minimum, it would show in judge that democratically used the information from the administration before turning to the court system.

Neal’s announcement came after Mnuchin on Monday formally rejected the Massachusetts Democrat’s request for the tax documents under an arcane. law for the heads of Congress’ tax committees to examine anyone’s tax returns. Democrats could then vote to make some or all of Trump’s filings publicly available.

Mnuchin said Democrats don’t have a “legitimate” reason for seeking the returns. The White House, and potentially stretch well into next year, possibly beyond the 2020 elections.

Many legal experts say it’s hard to predict how judges might decide such a case, because the issue is so novel.

The law Neal is citing is typically used by lawmakers to inform the tax policy making process. If Congress is trying to outlaw a corporate tax shelter, for example, they might lose the law to the returns or a company using the maneuver to better understand how it works. The courts have never ruled whether they can be used to seize the returns of a president who, like Trump, has defended a long-standing tradition of voluntarily disclosing them.

Democrats like their chances in a court battle, pointing to the plain language of the statute, which says the Treasury secretary shall hand over the returns upon request. It does not impose any limitations or conditions.

Democrats have a long list of questions about Trump’s finances, and say they also need his tax records to know an IRS policy of automatically auditing every president. Legal observers say often have that lawmakers have broad oversight powers.

But the Supreme Court has also said they are not unlimited. It has ruled lawmakers must have a legitimate legislative reason for their inquiries, something related to their official duties as lawmakers.

Republicans say Democrats fail that standard, why, for example, they are seeking Trump’s returns going back to 2013, two years before he started running for president. They say Democrats merely want to search Trumps returns for things they can use to embarrass him.

In a letter to Neal on Friday morning, Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas), the top Ways and Means Republican, accused of mounting a “coordinated attempt to weaponize the tax code and use Congress’s legitimate oversight authority for political gain.”

A court would have to determine whether the legitimate reason standard applies here and, if so, whether Democrats measure it. A judge might also consider other companies as if forcing the administration’s hand would have broader implications for executive power, congressional oversight or taxpayers’ right to privacy.

It would not be Uncommonly, some experts say, if a judge was reluctant to get involved in such a politically charged case and instead pushed the two sides to compromise.

“It puts them in a very difficult position,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond. “They don’t want to be in the middle of the two branches and so they try to encourage settlements.” y not given how the White House has been behaving – it’s hard to imagine that Trump is going to back down or compromise, ”he said.

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