Connect with us

Politics

Mnuchin says he’ll protect Trump privacy if taxes requested

Published

on

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

 / Updated 

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested Thursday he will protect President Donald Trump’s privacy if he receives a request from House Democrats for Trump’s tax returns.

At a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, Mnuchin was asked whether he would meet a request for Trump’s past tax returns. Chairman Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., is expected to formally ask for those as Democrats seek to shed light on Trump’s financial dealings and potential conflicts of interest.

“We will examine the request and we will follow the law … and we will protect the president as we would protect any taxpayer” regarding their right to privacy, Mnuchin said.

Neal is one of only three congressional officials authorized under a rarely used 1924 law to make a written request for anyone’s tax returns to the Treasury secretary. The law says the Treasury chief “shall furnish” the requested material to members of the committee for them to examine behind closed doors. But Mnuchin did not specifically say he would turn them over.

The unprecedented move likely would set off a huge legal battle between Trump’s administration and Democrats controlling the House. The fight could take years to resolve, possibly stretching beyond the 2020 presidential election.

Neal could move in coming weeks to ask for the documents. “It’s happening and it’s coming, so be prepared,” Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., told Mnuchin at the hearing.

Democrats say that seeking Trump’s tax documents falls within their mandate of congressional oversight; Republicans accuse the Democrats of using powers in the tax law to mount a political witch hunt. Republican lawmakers have invoked privacy concerns and the confidentiality of all tax documents, suggesting that the Democrats would leak Trump’s returns so they would become public.

Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani has suggested the Democrats could have a hard time proving their demand was intended for pursuing legitimate congressional oversight and was not a political scavenger hunt.

Mnuchin was asked whether Trump had intervened in some way or asked him to ignore the expected request for the tax returns. “He has not,” Mnuchin responded. He said he hasn’t discussed the issue with anyone in the White House or with Trump’s attorneys.

Trump broke with decades of tradition for presidential candidates by refusing to release his income tax filings during his 2016 campaign. He has said he won’t release them because he is being audited, even though IRS officials have said taxpayers under audit are free to release their returns. Trump claimed at a news conference following the November elections that the filings are too complex for people to understand.

Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, during his detailed testimony to a House committee last month, said he asked Trump for paperwork for the audit to prepare Trump’s response to reporters about the issue, but never received any documentation. Cohen said that led him to presume that Trump isn’t being audited.

Getting Trump’s returns has been high on the Democrats’ list of priorities since they won control of the House in November’s midterm elections. The Democrats tried and failed several times as the minority party in Congress to obtain Trump’s returns.

They want to explore numerous aspects of Trump’s complex financial dealings and corporate empire. Among them: whether there are conflicts of interest between Trump’s companies and his presidential actions, whether he’s properly paid taxes and whether he personally benefited from the sweeping Republican-written tax law enacted in late 2017.

Source link

Politics

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s Hollywood ties spark ethics questions in China trade talks

Published

on

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

/ Source: CNBC.com

By Emma Newburger/CNBC

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, one of President Donald Trump’s key negotiators in the U.S.-China trade talks, has pushed Beijing to grant the American film industry greater access to its markets.

But now, Mnuchin’s ties to Hollywood are raising ethical questions about his role in those negotiations. Mnuchin had been a producer in a raft of successful films prior to joining the Trump administration.

In 2017, he divested his stake in a film production company after joining the White House. But he sold that position to his wife, filmmaker and actress Louise Linton, for between $1 million and $2 million, The New York Times reported on Thursday. At the time, she was his fiancée.

That company, StormChaser Partners, helped produce the mega-hit movie “Wonder Woman,” which grossed $90 million in China, according to the Times. Yet, because of China’s restrictions on foreign films, the producers received a small portion of that money. Mnuchin has been personally engaged in trying to ease those rules, which could be a boon to the industry, according to the Times.

Mnuchin’s 2018 disclosure, which was obtained by the Times, shows StormChaser listed as one of Linton’s assets. Because the couple is now married, the asset is considered Mnuchin’s. And he is owed that same $1 million to $2 million, with additional interest, from the company in 2026, the 2018 form disclosed.

Senate Democrats on Thursday questioned Mnuchin about his financial holdings. He responded during the hearing that he has complied with rules of career ethics officials inside the Treasury Department, but declined to discuss details of the transaction.

“I am advised by people at Treasury that I am fully in compliance and I have no ethical issues,” Mnuchin said at the hearing. The Office of Government Ethics has not yet certified his 2018 financial disclosure, the first since his marriage to Linton, the Times reported.

Since trade talks began last year, film lobbyists have met with Mnuchin’s top deputies and officials from the Commerce Department and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Mnuchin has reportedly been particularly responsive to lobbying from the film industry.

StormChaser did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

A Treasury Department spokesperson said in a statement: “Treasury’s career ethics lawyers certified the Secretary’s financial disclosure on June 27, 2018 and identified no outstanding conflicts of interest. The Secretary is in full compliance with his ethics agreement. We continue to work with the Office of Government Ethics to obtain certification of the disclosure.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Pompeo says he remains hopeful about North Korea denuclearization talks

Published

on

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

By Abigail Williams

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that the U.S. is hopeful denuclearization talks with North Korea will continue despite threats by a senior North Korean official to pull out of the negotiations and resume missile testing.

The official, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, “left open the possibility that negotiations would continue for sure,” Pompeo told reporters. “It’s the administration’s desire that we continue to have conversations.”

He also responded directly to threats that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might consider resuming missile tests.

“In Hanoi, on multiple occasions, he spoke directly to the president and made a commitment that he would not resume nuclear testing, nor would he resume missile testing,” Pompeo said. “That’s Chairman Kim’s word. We have every expectation that he will live up to that commitment.”

North Korea and the United States failed to reach agreement last month at the second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim, and the two sides left in a stalemate over how far North Korea must go toward denuclearization in exchange for sanctions relief.

Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Hui blamed Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton for the breakdown in talks.

“I want to make it clear that the gangster-like stand of the U.S. will eventually put the situation in danger,” Choe said, according to The Associated Press. “We have neither the intention to compromise with the U.S. in any form nor much less the desire or plan to conduct this kind of negotiation.”

Pompeo brushed off the attacks.

“It’s not the first time. I have a vague recollection of being called ‘gangster-like’ from a visit that I took one time previously,” Pompeo said. “And following that we continued to have very professional conversation.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Bernie Sanders gets stitches after cutting head on shower door

Published

on

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

 / Updated 

By Jane C. Timm

2020 campaign is leaving its mark — on Bernie Sanders’ head.

The Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont independent senator cut his head on the edge of a shower door, his campaign said on Friday, and visited a walk-in clinic as a “precaution.”

He was given seven stitches and an otherwise clean bill of health.

“The senator has proceeded with all of his scheduled events,” the campaign said in a statement.

Sanders, who was a Democratic contender in 2016 before running again for the 2020 nomination, is 77.



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending