Steve Mnuchin, the secretary of the Treasury Department, responded to a request from House Democrats to hand over the tax filings from President Donald Trump on Wednesday just ahead of their deadline.
Mnuchin said in a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee that he would not meet their deadline to hand over the tax returns, which was midnight on Wednesday evening.
"The Committee's request raises serious issues concerning the constitutional scope of Congressional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative purpose, and the constitutional rights of American citizens," Mnuchin said in the letter.
"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 indicated that he would consult with the Department of Justice on how to move forward on the request from the committee.
Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) responded by tweeting that Mnuchin was violating the law by refusing the request.
"The law is clear," Cicilline responded. "Title 26, Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code."
The law is clear. Title 26, Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code. The Ways and Means Committee can compel… https://t.co/MRZP3jS21Y— David Cicilline (@David Cicilline)1554942487.0
"The Ways and Means Committee can compel the production of [President Trump]'s tax returns," he added. "Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is now violating the law to protect [President Trump]."
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said that Mnuchin had responded in a contradictory manner about whether the House had the right to request the tax returns from the U.S. Treasury.
"He has been contradictory in how he talked about whether or not he was going to follow the law and release those tax returns as the law mandates that he do and so we need to do our oversight," Waters said.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll, 64 percent of Americans said that the president should release his tax returns while 29 percent said he shouldn't do so.
Here's how MSNBC responded to Mnuchin:
IRS Misses Deadline To Release President Donald Trump's Tax Returns | Hardball | MSNBC www.youtube.com