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MUNCH! Do not come into Auntie Maxine's House with your stupid botoxed face and your stupid Kermit-the-frog-with-lockjaw voice and bring that disrespect. Do not do it!

By now we've all seen the video of House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters maneuvering Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin into losing his shit over a scheduling issue. (If you haven't, skip down to the end of the post, and we'll meet you back here in a minute!) How very dare the Congresswoman keep him from his extremely important meeting with ... whoever this guy is.

It's the INTERIOR MINISTER! From BAHRAIN! Don't those evil Democrats understand that Bahrain's whopping 1.5 million residents constitute our nation's most potent ally in the war on terror?

On a more serious note, Mnuchin's testimony reveals the extent to which Trumpland DGAF about hiding the corruption anymore. Sure the IRS is discussing the Ways and Means Committee's request for Trump's tax returns with the White House. Why ever not?


MNUCHIN: First, let me just say, as I commented this morning and I will repeat, I have had no direct conversations with the president or anyone else in the White House about this. As I volunteered this morning, I did make clear our legal department has consulted with the White House as they would and as I believe would be normal. That is not taking direction from the White House, and I don't view it as interference. I think, as you know, it was widely publicized we were going to receive the request and that consultation with them before was not specific to the president or anything related to the president's tax returns other than the expectation of getting this request.

REP. MALONEY: Did your team ask for the White House's permission to release the president's tax returns? Did the White House ask your team not to release the tax returns?

MNUCHIN: We would not ever ask for the White House's permission on this, nor did they give us permission. As I said, we consulted, which I believe was appropriate of our legal department.

In fact, this consultation is anything but "normal." One of the articles of impeachment drawn up against Nixon was for interfering with the IRS. And a lawsuit arising out of the infamous Teapot Dome corruption scandal in the 1920s established the principle that Congress is presumed to have a legitimate legislative purpose for its enquiries. Whoops, there goes the Trump stooges' argument that Neal's request is illegal because how even is congressional oversight allowed!

As former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers wrote in the Washington Post yesterday:

[F]or the secretary to seek to decide whether to pass on the president's tax return to Congress would surely be inappropriate and probably illegal. I would surely not have done it. Rather, I would have indicated to the IRS commissioner that I expected the IRS to comply with the law as always.

Chuck Rettig, come on down! Looks like you've been elected to eat the shit sandwich!

IRS Commissioner Rettig also testified before the House Appropriations Committee yesterday. Will he be complying with Richard Neal's offer he can't refuse -- not legally anyway -- to produce Trump's tax returns? He couldn't possibly say! In fact, the Commissioner was unable to even clarify whether he'd be exercising his authority pursuant to the plain language of the statute, or passing it off to the Treasury Secretary. Acting Secretary of All the Things Mick Mulvaney is promising a fight to the death to conceal the returns, since the issue was already "litigated" in the 2016 election. But sooner or later, someone is going to have to put his name on a response to Congress. Someone has to either comply with the law and face the wrath of Trump, or be held in contempt of Congress and become the named defendant in the ensuing lawsuit to force the IRS to cough up Trump's returns. A suit which the government will lose, although they might be able to drag it out for another six or eight months.

No, we do not feel sorry for Rettig! He knew who that flaccid, orange snake was before he climbed into bed with him. Ya pays your money, and ya takes your chances.

And Mnuchin can go pound sand, too. When he wasn't threatening to stomp out of the hearing and never come back because of his hot date with the Interior Minister FROM BAHRAIN, he was flatly refusing to tell the Committee who bought his shares in the entertainment company RatPac-Dune, which has partnered with British petroleum magnate Lev Blavatnik. Munch pinky swears the buyer's not an oligarch, but other than that, he's not saying because, "I don't think it is relevant." Sounds legit!

Today is the deadline Neal has imposed for Rettig and Mnuchin to comply with the request for Trump's returns. Can't hardly wait for whatever creative way Pat Cipollone comes up with to say FUCK YOU, MAKE US this time.

Here, enjoy that video one more time of Congressional Badass Waters grinding her heel into Munch's pink bits.

BAHRAIN! Also, check out this interesting article in Slate that suggests Neal might subpoena Trump's personal and business returns from New York state's tax authorities, who would no doubt be delighted to hand 'em over in response to a subpoena. Just do it, Congressman!

[C-SPAN / WaPo / NYT / Slate]

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