U.S. and China agreed on 'enforcement officers' on trade deal, says Mnuchin

U.S. and China agreed on 'enforcement officers' on trade deal, says Mnuchin

U.S. and China agreed on 'enforcement officers' on trade deal, says Mnuchin

Democrats say that a provision in the IRS service code enacted in 1924 requires the Treasury Department secretary to turn over returns to the chairmen of the congressional tax committees who ask for them for investigative purposes.

Rettig faced a Wednesday deadline to respond to a letter from Neal who last week formally requested Trump's business and personal tax information dating back to 2013.

"The legal implications of this request could affect protections for all Americans against politically-motivated disclosures of personal tax information", he added, "regardless of which party is in power".

Mnuchin said Neal's request raised important questions of "constitutional scope of congressional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative objective, and the constitutional rights of American citizens".

In the days leading up to Wednesday's response, both Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig gave nonspecific accounts during testimony before the House and the Senate about who would reply to Neal.

"No other secretary has ever told us the day before that they were going to limit their time", Waters said. He has the option of eventually seeking to subpoena the records or to go to court if the IRS does not comply, but it's not clear he'll adopt a more confrontational approach just yet.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of OR said it was "unfortunate" that Rettig wouldn't say if it's his sole responsibility to respond to the request without input from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

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.

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"Congress, as a coequal branch of government, has a duty to conduct oversight of departments and officials", Neal said when he requested the tax returns.

"Really unnecessary ending", Mnuchin said. "You are ordering me to stay here".

"We're late all the time, unfortunately", said Waters.

It was notable in itself that Mnuchin responded to the request, rather than IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.

Trump has refused to release his returns since he ran for president, and the clash over their release became a key front in the battles between his administration and newly-empowered Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Several members of the Trump administration, including White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, have called the request a political attack and a violation of Trump's privacy and have vowed to fight it. But Rettig reiterated that there's no rule prohibiting taxpayers under audit from releasing their returns. "That's where the real action is - in those federal forms - but even then, they are going to be probably a little too summary to answer some of the questions".

Trump's taxes have been a source of contention since his presidential campaign, when he broke with decades of tradition by refusing to release his returns. Trump's private attorneys have asked Treasury to deny the request as well.

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