Trump confirms he’s looking at releasing detained immigrants into so-called sanctuary cities

14 April, 2019, 20:57 | Author: Wade Massey
  • White House considered releasing detained immigrants into ‘sanctuary cities’

A top House Democrat on Saturday ratcheted up his demand for access to President Donald Trump's tax returns, telling the IRS that the law clearly gives Congress a right to them.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has grave constitutional concerns about the House Ways and Means Committee's request for Donald Trump's recent tax returns.

Neal argued the statute used in his request, Section 6103, was "unambiguous and raises no complicated legal issues that warrant supervision or review" by either the Treasury Department or the Justice Department.

Earlier this month, Neal wrote the IRS asking for six years of the president's personal and business tax returns, which Trump has refused to release breaking decades of precedent for candidates for the White House.

"Please know that, if you fail to comply, your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request", Neal wrote.

The Committee's Saturday letter to the IRS reiterated their position, saying Mnuchin should not be concerned.

Mr Neal is the only member of the House of Representatives authorised to request individual tax information under a federal law. Trump claimed it wouldn't make sense to release his tax returns while, he said, they are under audit.

Trump had telegraphed his Treasury secretary's move Wednesday, telling reporters he wouldn't release his tax returns since he's still under audit.

Congressional Republicans and Trump's personal attorney, William Consovoy, have argued Democrats' request risks weaponizing the IRS for partisan political gain, with Consovoy calling it a "gross abuse of power".

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"With immigrants being less likely to commit crimes than the US born population, and with sanctuary jurisdictions being safer and more productive than non-sanctuary jurisdictions, the data damns this proposal as a politically motivated stunt that seeks to play politics with peoples' lives", said George Gascon, district attorney for San Francisco.

On Monday, lawmakers in NY proposed a bill that would allow the commissioner of the state's Department of Taxation and Finance to turn over state tax returns if requested by certain congressional committees.

As a result, more than 125,000 people have been released as they await court hearings - a practice Mr Trump has derided as "catch and release". House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, questioned the legality of the proposal.

According to The Hill, Mnuchin plans to consult with the Justice Department to determine how the IRS is to handle the matter.

At congressional hearings, Mnuchin accused lawmakers of seeking Trump's returns for political reasons.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, didn't address Trump's proposal directly when asked for comment about it Friday.

Federal law gives the chairmen of House Ways and Means, Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation the power to request the returns of any taxpayer, although some legal scholars believe the request needs a legitimate legislative objective, which Democrats say they have met.

The standoff between Congress and the administration over the request is expected to launch an unprecedented legal battle, one that will test for the first time in court a 1920s-era tax statute that was little known until recently.

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