Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A Taxing Strategy

Team Trump is fighting tooth, nail, and orange tan to keep Democrats from using subpoena power on Trump's tax returns, making me believe very much that somewhere in that mess is the end of his regime.

The new House Democratic majority is widely expected to test one of Donald Trump’s ultimate red lines by demanding the president’s personal tax returns — and the Trump administration has been gearing up for months to fight back hard.

Trump's Treasury Department is readying plans to drag the expected Democratic request for Trump’s past tax filings, which he has closely guarded, into a quagmire of arcane legal arguments.

At the same time, officials intend to publicly cast the request as a nakedly partisan exercise. The two-pronged scheme was developed by a handful of top political appointees and lawyers inside the department — with the ultimate goal of keeping the president’s past returns private, according to four people familiar with the administration’s approach.

The strategy will hinge on an argument that politically motivated Democrats will inevitably leak Trump’s tax information — a felony in and of itself — if the IRS hands over the documents. So because Democrats can’t be trusted to keep the documents private, they shouldn’t get them in the first place, officials will insist. Treasury officials have been waiting since early January for a top Democrat to make the request.

The battle between Treasury and the Democrats could plunge the country into yet another norm-breaking moment for the Trump presidency — with the fight stretching on for months and well into the 2020 campaign

“What happens if the Treasury secretary just doesn’t answer or sends back a note saying we refuse to do what you are saying?” said George Yin, a former chief of staff on the House Joint Committee on Taxation, one of the three congressional committees involved in major tax issues on Capitol Hill. “To my knowledge, that has never happened. … We are essentially in uncharted territory if he refuses.” 
A Treasury Department spokeswoman would only say: “Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin will review any request with the Treasury General Counsel for legality.”

And refuse Mnuchin shall.

There's every reason to believe that this is a two-pronged attack, that the Trump regime will stonewall Democrats for as long as they can, and that the regime will nakedly threaten prison time for anyone involved in publishing any leaks about the return.

We'll see what happens, but don't plan on finding out anything soon.

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