WASHINGTON — Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Sunday said congressional Democrats will “never” obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns as a House committee demands the Internal Revenue Service turn over his records this week.
Mulvaney and Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, appearing on the Sunday political talk show circuit, pushed back on Democrats’ efforts to access the president’s tax returns, accusing them of weaponizing the IRS for political purposes.
“This is not going to happen, and they know it,” Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Last week, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) issued a letter to the IRS requesting that Trump’s past six years of tax returns be provided to the panel by Wednesday. Neal justified his request through a decades-old law that authorizes committees involved in drafting tax laws to view individual tax returns.
Trump, who has defied decades of political convention by not releasing his tax returns as a presidential candidate, has claimed he cannot release his tax returns until a series of audits are completed.
Mulvaney said lawmakers should “never” receive the president’s tax returns without his explicit consent.
"Keep in mind, that’s an issue that was already litigated during the election," Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday” host Bill Hemmer, referring to Trump’s refusal to make his tax returns public during the 2016 presidential election. "Voters knew the president could have given his tax returns, they knew that he didn’t, and they elected him anyway — which, of course, is what drives the Democrats crazy.”
Trump, when asked about Neal’s request last week, reasserted that he couldn’t disclose his tax returns while under audit. His personal attorney William Consovoy issued a letter to the IRS last Friday calling on the agency to reject Neal’s request, describing it “a gross abuse of power.”
“I’ve been under audit for many years because the numbers are big, and I guess when you have a name, you’re audited, but until such time as I’m not under audit, I would not be inclined to do that,” Trump told reporters last week when asked about releasing his returns.
Sekulow, appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” promised a legal fight to keep the IRS from releasing Trump’s records.
"If it has to be litigated, it will be litigated," Sekulow said. "As the president’s counsel, we have the right to protect his interests as a private citizen and as president."
On ABC’s “This Week,” Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, defended the committee's request saying lawmakers should have access to the president’s returns because “there's a real question ... as to whether the president's personal financial interests impact his public decision making."
"The public has a right to know whether the president's interests are impacting the decisions that he makes using the authority that we have granted him by electing him as president,” Kildee said.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who as the 2012 Republican presidential nominee released his tax returns for public scrutiny, called Democrats’ request “moronic,” during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Going after his tax returns through legislative action is moronic," said Romney, who has often been critical of Trump.
Romney argued “the courts are not going to say that you can compel a person running for office to release their tax returns. [Trump’s] going to win this victory.”