White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Democrats will "never" obtain President Trump's tax returns, intensifying the latest showdown between the White House and Democrats in the House.
In an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," Mulvaney was asked by guest moderator Bill Hemmer whether Democrats would ever see Mr. Trump's tax returns. "Oh no, never. Nor should they," he told Hemmer.
Mulvaney said Mr. Trump was elected despite repeated refusals on the campaign trail to release his tax returns. "That's an issue that was already litigated during the election," he said. "Voters knew the president could've have given his tax returns. They knew that he didn't and they elected him anyway."
Last week, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal sent a formal request to the IRS for six years of Mr, Trump's tax returns, arguing the committee "has a responsibility to conduct oversight of our voluntary Federal tax system and determine how Americans — including those elected to our highest office — are complying with those laws."
The president responded by saying he's under audit — a pretext he has often cited — and "would not be inclined" to release his returns until the audit is completed. No federal statute bars individuals under audit from releasing their tax returns.
"Is that all? Usually it's 10, so I guess they're giving up," Mr. Trump said last week when reporters asked him about the demand by Democrats. "I've been under audit for many years, because the numbers are big and, I guess, when you have a name, you're audited."
The president's lawyer in the matter, Will Consovoy, asked the IRS Friday not to hand over the president's tax returns until it receives a legal opinion from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.
On Sunday, Mulvaney expressed confidence the IRS would not comply with Neal's request.
"They know one of the fundamental principles of the IRS is to protect the confidentiality of you and me and everybody else who files taxes. They know that," he said. "They know the terms under law by which the IRS can give them the documents, but 'political hit job' is not one of those reasons."
Kathryn Watson, Stefan Becket and Camilo Montoya-Galvez contributed to this report.