White House Chief of Staff John Mulvaney has declared unequivocally what has clearly been the case over the last two years: That Democrats aren’t going to lay eyes on Trump’s tax returns without a fight.
Mulvaney appeared on Fox News Sunday to deliver what I’m sure he thought was a coup de grâce to the last of Democrats’ hopes on the matter, following a renewed effort launched Wednesday by House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, who has demanded that the IRS release six years worth of Trump’s personal and business returns.
“Democrats are demanding that the IRS turn over the documents. That is not going to happen, and they know it. This is a political stunt,” Mulvaney said.
“Nor should they,” he added. “That’s an issue that was already litigated during the election. Voters knew the president could have given his tax returns, they knew that he didn’t, and they elected him anyway.”
The resurrected attempt to get ahold Trump’s tax returns comes after Neal invoked a century-old law that allows the committee chair to see anyone’s confidential tax filings. It’s unclear why he didn’t do this earlier, particularly since Michael Cohen strongly suggested during his February testimony that access to the returns would reveal a rich trove of tax fraud, among other potential discoveries.
Trump, for his part, has made explicit the fact that his tax returns will be torn from his cold, dead hands. On Wednesday, he offered the same half-hearted explanation for his obfuscation that he’s been offering since ahead of the election:
“We are under audit, despite what people said, and working that out — I’m always under audit, it seems, but I’ve been under audit for many years because the numbers are big, and I guess when you have a name, you’re audited,” Trump said. “But until such time as I’m not under audit, I would not be inclined to do it.”
He’s also made it clear that he will fight the case all the way to the Supreme Court. This certainly sounds like a guy with nothing to hide.