Monday, 22 April, 2019

Mnuchin has fiery exchange with Rep. Maxine Waters during hearing

Charles Rettig President Donald Trump's nominee to be Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Capitol Hill Steve Mnunchin and Maxine Waters Butt Heads Again
Leonard Rios | 12 April, 2019, 03:04

Neal, the Ways and Means chairman, requested six years of Trump's personal and business returns, relying on a 1924 statute that says the Treasury Department "shall furnish" them when requested.

"Given the seriousness of these issues, which bear no connection to ordinary tax administration", Mnuchin wrote, "we have begun consultations with the Department of Justice to ensure that our response is fully consistent with the law and the Constitution".

Trump says he can not release the tax returns because he is under audit, and the administration has put up a united front aimed at blocking the documents from being released.

IRS Commissioner Charles Retting said the decision on whether Trump's tax returns will be released is ultimately his, adding he had discussed Neal's request with Mnuchin but was not ordered to reject the request or told how to handle the returns.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin clashed with Maxine Waters, the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, bickering with her about ending a hearing on Tuesday after more than three hours of testimony and about whether he would return to the panel.

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal set a deadline of Wednesday for Treasury to respond to the request. After running overtime, he said he would be willing to stay until 5:15 and return at a later date to testify before Congress.

"We've pretty much agreed on an enforcement mechanism", Mnuchin said on CNBC.

Campaigning ends for phase 1 of Lok Sabha polls
He said that the Modi government had sanctioned Rs16,500 crore for various schemes in the state during the last five years. Latur, where PM Modi addressed a public rally today will vote on April 18 in the second phase of the general election.

U.S. proposes tariffs on $11bn of European Union products
The yen rose as traders favored the safe-haven currency in the wake of the U.S. proposal for tariffs on European goods .

Pak-India set for Kartarpur talks on April 16
Pakistani authorities have handed over 100 detained Indian fishermen to their country's officials at the Wahga border crossing. Two days later, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of the corridor in Narowal, 125 km from Lahore.

Trump has broken with tradition by not voluntarily releasing his tax returns.

The president has told those close to him that the attempt to get his returns amounted to an invasion of his privacy and was a further example of the Democratic-led "witch hunt" - which he has called special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation - meant to damage him. He said that when Republicans controlled the House, "they did not treat the secretary of the Treasury this way".

Both Kildee and Gomez said a letter from Trump lawyer William Consovoy sent to Treasury last week lambasting the Democrats' request as a "transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and speech" was meaningless.

The battle over Trump's tax returns - after he was the first president in four decades not to release the annual filings - has been brewing since the 2016 campaign.

The problem is Waters, who then went on to ask more questions and continue the hearing, has no cause for the arrogance. Trump has promised to release the returns after a conclusion of an audit, although independent legal experts have said that an audit would not bar him from doing so.

Mnuchin did not address whether the enforcement structure would allow the United States a unilateral right to reimpose tariffs without retaliation if China fails to follow through on its commitments. "The timing is yet to be determined, we're looking at what the precise steps would be", said Democrat Dan Kildee, a committee member and chief deputy whip of the Democratic Caucus". And if the request ends up in the courts, the issue could linger unresolved until after the 2020 presidential election.

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