Yesterday Peter Nicholas, Nick Timiraos and Bob Davis reported in the Wall Street Journal that President Trump has been telling insiders of his disappointment in Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, blaming him for the stock market’s recent decline and for rising interest rates. Although Trump later called the WSJ article “FAKE NEWS”, there’s likely fire underneath all that smoke.
Trump might replace Mnuchin with an even Trumpier toady for a reason he might not divulge, even to insiders: his tax returns. Next year, incoming House Ways and Means Committee chair Richard Neal (D-MA) will likely ask the IRS for a copy of the Trump family’s tax returns as part of the committee’s investigation into their dubious financial dealings. Congress has the right to do this under Section 6103 of the tax code, passed after the Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920s when the Coolidge administration initially refused to give copies of relevant tax returns to Congressional investigators.
Trump will resist any attempt by Congress to get copies of his tax returns, and the legal process could drag on for quite some time — past the 2020 elections, Trump no doubt hopes. However, the bottom line for Trump is whether Mnuchin will eventually release the returns, and Mnuchin has already signaled that he will follow the law.
Trump can’t be happy about this.