Bill Barr Will Help Democrats Get Trump's Tax Returns, Cross His Fingers And Hope To Die!
Who needs judges when you have the Trump Department of Justice on speed dial? That's basically what the DOJ said to a federal court in DC Friday in Committee on Ways and Means v. Department of Treasury, where House Democrats and the Trump regime are duking it out over Trump's tax returns.
Because of course Donald Trump and Bill Barr's DOJ will totally charge Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin with contempt of Congress, if Congress asks! Trump and Barr are just so into following the law and holding other executive branch officials accountable for their wrongdoing! And so far, they have been INCREDIBLY HELPFUL in trying to help Ways and Means get Trump's tax returns!
LOLOLOL JK JK JK JK JK JK!
So why, exactly, is concealing his tax returns from the public so important to Trump? Whatever the reasons are, there is no way it's a good thing for our country.
Since Trump took office, we've learned that the sketchy, criminal president was even sketchier and more of a criminal than we knew. A New York Times investigation showed us a bunch of different ways Trump had committed fraud and tax fraud, allegedly. Trump Organization probably committed a bunch tax fraud allegedly. Donald Trump's presidential campaign committed a whole bunch of tax fraud, allegedly. Donald Trump's lawyer DEFINITELY committed a whole bunch of tax fraud, NOT ALLEGEDLY. And recently, we got word that Trump might have gotten loans co-signed by Russians -- Lawrence O'Donnell retracted the story and apologized, but he didn't say he was wrong -- which we would call "fraud on the American people," except Trump and his cronies have actually been preeeeeetty upfront about how much they love to lick Putin's ballsack.
The House Ways and Means Committee gets that there are a lot of reasons Trump could be hiding his tax returns -- and none of them are good. An entire subsection of its complaint is titled "President Trump's Statements and News Reports About His Tax Returns and Audits Raise Questions." And when Ways and Means filed a motion for summary judgment in this case, we found out a whistleblower had come to the committee with "credible allegations" that someone had potentially interfered with the IRS's presidential audit process.
This lawsuit is in front of Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee. Last week, McFadden denied Democrats' request to expedite the suit and the motion for summary judgment, choosing to first deal with the impending motion to dismiss. On Friday, we got the motion to dismiss, and boy, is it a doozy. But it's only the latest episode of the ongoing soap opera that involves alleged pee tapes, Russian spies, and the President of the United States's tax returns.
"All My Deductions," the latest episode from hit show Desperate Americans
Since before the 2016 election, Trump's tax returns have been an issue. He refused to publicly release his tax returns prior to the election, making him the first major party candidate in modern history to conceal his tax returns from the American people.
It's clear that there's something in Trump's tax returns he doesn't want us to see. Whether it's tax fraud, loans co-signed by Russians, or just his usual corruption, you just know there's something. And not just because it's Donald fucking Trump, the man of 1,000 grifts and biggest kleptocrat US politics has ever seen. But because he's going to such great lengths to keep them a secret.
New York passed a law allowing its Department of Revenue to release his New York state tax returns to the committee upon request. Trump sued.
California passed a law requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns to get on the primary ballot. Trump sued.
Congress subpoenaed Deutsche Bank to try to get Trump's tax returns. Trump sued.
House Ways and Means filed a request for Trump's tax returns, in accordance with federal law. Trump got a bunch of his lackies to go "NUH-UH, YOU CAN'T DO THAT." Ways and Means sued. Trump threw a temper tantrum.
Here's how things went down in this situation, according The Hill:
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) first requested Trump's tax returns in April, under a section of the tax code that states that the Treasury Secretary "shall furnish" tax returns requested by the chairs of Congress's tax committees. Neal said that his committee is interested in the tax returns as it conducts oversight and considers legislative proposals related to how the IRS audits presidents.
But the Treasury and the IRS rejected Neal's requests, as well as subpoenas he subsequently issued, arguing that they lack a legitimate legislative purpose and that Democrats' real reason for seeking Trump's tax returns is to expose the tax documents of a political rival. Both the administration and House Democrats had expected the dispute to be resolved in the courts.
Although it's true that both sides expect this dispute to be resolved in the courts, the DOJ is now arguing that, actually, the courts have no business getting involved in this, at all. So that's cute.
DOJ: Why does Congress need the courts when they have us?!
DOJ lawyers and Trump's personal lawyers filed a joint motion to dismiss, and they are all just really upset about this lawsuit. The brief gets quite snippy, saying at one point:
If Congress is dissatisfied with the Executive Branch's response to its subpoena, its recourse is the constitutionally mandated accommodation process and legislative tools assigned by the Constitution, not the deployment of lawyers wielding the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
YEAH, SCREW THOSE FANCY ELITIST DEMOCRAT LAWYERS WIELDING THEIR FANCY HARDBOUND COPIES OF THE FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE!
They also tell the court that the case should be dismissed so Congress and Treasury can have more meetings about this issue, even though Mnuchin is on the record saying the committee would "never" see Trump's tax returns.
Incredibly, the DOJ also argues that "the House's only means to enforce a subpoena using the judicial process is pursuant to the criminal contempt statute that Congress created for that purpose." That's where things really go off the rails.
This would give the executive branch sole discretion over when to enforce the law against executive branch officials. Kind of seems like a problem with that whole "separation of powers" thing we have going, no?
Perhaps someone can give the Attorney General a refresher?
School House Rock - The Constitution www.youtube.com
And actually, if someone could also show that to the President while they're at it, that would be great.
It's possible that we maybe don't actually live in the dumbest possible timeline. But we definitely live in the timeline with the dumbest constitutional crises.
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