Larry Mnuchin Must Not Stop IRS From Releasing Trump’s Tax Returns | The Last Word | MSNBC


THE PRESIDENT’S LAWYERS HAVE ONE THE PRESIDENT’S LAWYERS HAVE ONE MOTHER FULL DAY TO TRY TO FIGURE MOTHER FULL DAY TO TRY TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO DEFY A VERY CLEAR AND OUT HOW TO DEFY A VERY CLEAR AND SIMPLE LAW THAT NO ONE HAS EVER SIMPLE LAW THAT NO ONE HAS EVER DEFIED. DEFIED. IT IS THE LAW THAT EMPOWERS THE IT IS THE LAW THAT EMPOWERS THE CHAIRS OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE CHAIRS OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE TAX WRITING COMMITTEES TO TAX WRITING COMMITTEES TO DOOMED, NOT REQUEST DEMAND FROM DOOMED, NOT REQUEST DEMAND FROM THE IRS ANY TAX RETURN THAT THEY THE IRS ANY TAX RETURN THAT THEY WANT TO SEE. WANT TO SEE. THE LAW DOES NOT PUT ANY THE LAW DOES NOT PUT ANY LIMITATIONS ON THAT POWER. LIMITATIONS ON THAT POWER. I’VE KNOWN ABOUT THAT LAW SINCE I’VE KNOWN ABOUT THAT LAW SINCE I WORKED ON THE STAFF OF THE I WORKED ON THE STAFF OF THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE IN THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE IN THE 1990s AND THOUGHTS I KNEW 1990s AND THOUGHTS I KNEW EVERYTHING ABOUT THAT LAW UNTIL EVERYTHING ABOUT THAT LAW UNTIL PROFESSOR LAWRENCE SOME MERS NEW PROFESSOR LAWRENCE SOME MERS NEW PIECE IN THE “WASHINGTON POST” PIECE IN THE “WASHINGTON POST” JUST PUT ONLINE TONIGHT. JUST PUT ONLINE TONIGHT. PROFESSOR SOME MERS WAS THE PROFESSOR SOME MERS WAS THE HEADS OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC HEADS OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA AND COUNCIL FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA AND HE SERVED AS TREASURY SECRETARY HE SERVED AS TREASURY SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT CLINTON. UNDER PRESIDENT CLINTON. AND HE HAS SOMETHING VERY AND HE HAS SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO TEACH US ABOUT THIS IMPORTANT TO TEACH US ABOUT THIS LAW AND AS I’VE MENTIONED LAW AND AS I’VE MENTIONED BEFORE, THE LAW WAS WRITTEN IN BEFORE, THE LAW WAS WRITTEN IN 1924 AND IT SAYS WHEN THE 1924 AND IT SAYS WHEN THE CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE WAYS AND CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE OR THE SENATE MEANS COMMITTEE OR THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE DEMANDS A TAX FINANCE COMMITTEE DEMANDS A TAX RETURN FROM THE IRS “THE RETURN FROM THE IRS “THE SECRETARY SHALL FURNISH SUCH SECRETARY SHALL FURNISH SUCH COMMITTEE WITH ANY RETURN OR COMMITTEE WITH ANY RETURN OR RETURN INFORMATION SPECIFIED IN RETURN INFORMATION SPECIFIED IN SUCH REQUEST.” SUCH REQUEST.” THE LAW WAS WRITTEN TO APPLY TO THE LAW WAS WRITTEN TO APPLY TO THE TREASURY SECRETARY SINCE THE THE TREASURY SECRETARY SINCE THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE IS PART INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE IS PART OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT. OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT. BUT IN HIS OP-ED PIECE, FORMER BUT IN HIS OP-ED PIECE, FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY LARRY SOMERS TREASURY SECRETARY LARRY SOMERS SAYS THE TREASURY SECRETARY SAYS THE TREASURY SECRETARY SHOULD HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING SHOULD HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH CHAIRMAN RICHIE TO DO WITH CHAIRMAN RICHIE NEAL’S DEMAND FOR THE TRUMP TAX NEAL’S DEMAND FOR THE TRUMP TAX RETURNS BECAUSE THE TREASURY RETURNS BECAUSE THE TREASURY SECRETARY YEARS AGO SPECIFICALLY SECRETARY YEARS AGO SPECIFICALLY DELEGATED THIS RESPONSIBILITY DELEGATED THIS RESPONSIBILITY DIRECTLY TO THE COMMISSIONER OF DIRECTLY TO THE COMMISSIONER OF THE IRS. THE IRS. LARRY SOMERS WRITES THE AN LARRY SOMERS WRITES THE AN APPROPRIATE RESPONSE OF THE APPROPRIATE RESPONSE OF THE TREASURY SECRETARY IS VERY TREASURY SECRETARY IS VERY CLEAR. CLEAR. UNDER A LONG-STANDING DELEGATION UNDER A LONG-STANDING DELEGATION ORDER, THE SECRETARY DOES NOT ORDER, THE SECRETARY DOES NOT GET INVOLVED IN TAXPAYER GET INVOLVED IN TAXPAYER SPECIFIC MATTERS AND HAS DEL SPECIFIC MATTERS AND HAS DEL GUYED TO THE IRS COMMISSIONERS GUYED TO THE IRS COMMISSIONERS AS FOLLOWS, “THE COMMISSIONER OF AS FOLLOWS, “THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE SHALL BE INTERNAL REVENUE SHALL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE LAWS.” OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE LAWS.” MOREOVER, THIS IS NOT A MOREOVER, THIS IS NOT A DELEGATION THAT IS READILY DELEGATION THAT IS READILY REVOKABLE. REVOKABLE. FEDERAL LAW PROVIDES THAT IF THE FEDERAL LAW PROVIDES THAT IF THE SECRETARY DETERMINES NOT TO SECRETARY DETERMINES NOT TO DELEGATE A POWER SUCH DELEGATE A POWER SUCH DETERMINATION MAY NOT TAKE DETERMINATION MAY NOT TAKE EFFECT UNTIL 30 DAYS AFTER THE EFFECT UNTIL 30 DAYS AFTER THE SECRETARY NOTIFIES THE TAX SECRETARY NOTIFIES THE TAX WRITING AND OTHER SPECIFIED WRITING AND OTHER SPECIFIED COMMITTEES. COMMITTEES. SO THE, SO FAR THE SECRETARY TO SO THE, SO FAR THE SECRETARY TO SEEK TO DECIDE WHETHER TO PASS SEEK TO DECIDE WHETHER TO PASS ON THE PRESIDENT’S TAX RETURN TO ON THE PRESIDENT’S TAX RETURN TO CONGRESS WOULD SURELY BE CONGRESS WOULD SURELY BE INAPPROPRIATE PAN PROBABLY INAPPROPRIATE PAN PROBABLY ILLEGAL. ILLEGAL. PROBABLY ILLEGAL. PROBABLY ILLEGAL. I WOULD TRULY NOT HAVE DONE IT. I WOULD TRULY NOT HAVE DONE IT. RATHER I WOULD HAVE INDICATED TO RATHER I WOULD HAVE INDICATED TO THE IRS COMMISSIONER I EXPECTED THE IRS COMMISSIONER I EXPECTED THE IRS TO COMPLY WITH THE LAW THE IRS TO COMPLY WITH THE LAW AS ALWAYS. AS ALWAYS. AND JOINING US NOW FOR AN AND JOINING US NOW FOR AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, LAWRENCE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, LAWRENCE SOMERS, THE FORMER TREASURY SOMERS, THE FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT BILL SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON AND FORMER DIRECTOR OF CLINTON AND FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNSEL THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNSEL UNDER OBAMA. UNDER OBAMA. HE IS AN ECONOMICS PROFESSOR AT HE IS AN ECONOMICS PROFESSOR AT HARND UNIVERSITY. HARND UNIVERSITY. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TONIGHT. TONIGHT. HAVE YOU TAUGHT ME SOMETHING HAVE YOU TAUGHT ME SOMETHING ONCE AGAIN. ONCE AGAIN. I’M USED TO TAKING NOTES WHEN I’M USED TO TAKING NOTES WHEN YOU SPEAK. YOU SPEAK. BUT I DID NOT KNOW THAT THE BUT I DID NOT KNOW THAT THE DELEGATION FROM THE TREASURY DELEGATION FROM THE TREASURY SECRETARY TO THE IRS SECRETARY TO THE IRS COMMISSIONER ON MATTERS OF TAX COMMISSIONER ON MATTERS OF TAX ISSUES LIKE THIS WAS ACTUALLY IN ISSUES LIKE THIS WAS ACTUALLY IN WRITING AND THAT IT’S A FORMAL WRITING AND THAT IT’S A FORMAL DELEGATION AND THERE’S A FORMAL DELEGATION AND THERE’S A FORMAL PROCESS FOR REVOKING THAT PROCESS FOR REVOKING THAT DELEGATION. DELEGATION.>>THAT’S RIGHT.>>THAT’S RIGHT. YOU KNOW, IT’S THE FIRST ONE OF YOU KNOW, IT’S THE FIRST ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS MY GENERAL THE FIRST THINGS MY GENERAL COUNSEL TOLD ME WHEN I BECAME COUNSEL TOLD ME WHEN I BECAME TREASURY SECRETARY WAS ANY TREASURY SECRETARY WAS ANY INDIVIDUAL TAX MATTER AFFECTING INDIVIDUAL TAX MATTER AFFECTING ANY INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYER YOU ARE ANY INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYER YOU ARE UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES GOING TO UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES GOING TO BE ANYWHERE NEAR. BE ANYWHERE NEAR. AND THAT APPLIES TO A REQUEST OF AND THAT APPLIES TO A REQUEST OF THIS KIND AND FOR GOOD REASON. THIS KIND AND FOR GOOD REASON. IT’S THE ESSENCE OF THE IT’S THE ESSENCE OF THE INTEGRITY OF THE TAX SYSTEM THAT INTEGRITY OF THE TAX SYSTEM THAT POLITICALLY APPOINTED OFFICIALS POLITICALLY APPOINTED OFFICIALS NOT BE INVOLVED IN THESE MATTERS NOT BE INVOLVED IN THESE MATTERS AND THAT’S WHY THERE IS A AND THAT’S WHY THERE IS A DELEGATION TO THE HEAD OF THE DELEGATION TO THE HEAD OF THE IRS AND IT WOULDN’T HAVE EVER IRS AND IT WOULDN’T HAVE EVER OCCURRED TO ME AND WOULDN’T HAVE OCCURRED TO ME AND WOULDN’T HAVE OCCURRED TO THE TREASURY OCCURRED TO THE TREASURY SECRETARIES WHO I SERVED UNDER SECRETARIES WHO I SERVED UNDER OR THE TREASURY SECRETARY I OR THE TREASURY SECRETARY I SERVED WITH TO BECOME INVOLVED SERVED WITH TO BECOME INVOLVED IN AN INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYER IN AN INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYER MATTER, MUCH LESS AN INDIVIDUAL MATTER, MUCH LESS AN INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYER MATTER INVOLVING THE TAXPAYER MATTER INVOLVING THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.>>AND SO AND THE PART THAT I>>AND SO AND THE PART THAT I DIDN’T REALIZE IS THAT THIS IS DIDN’T REALIZE IS THAT THIS IS ACTUALLY WRITTEN AND IN EFFECT ACTUALLY WRITTEN AND IN EFFECT CODIFIED WITHIN THE TREASURY CODIFIED WITHIN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT AND SO WHAT YOU’RE DEPARTMENT AND SO WHAT YOU’RE TELLING US IS, IF SECRETARY TELLING US IS, IF SECRETARY MNUCHIN DOES WANT TO BE THE ONE MNUCHIN DOES WANT TO BE THE ONE WHO DECIDE WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE WHO DECIDE WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE TRUMP TAX RETURNS, HE HAS TO TRUMP TAX RETURNS, HE HAS TO FILE A NOTICE WITH THE SENATE FILE A NOTICE WITH THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE AND WITH THE FINANCE COMMITTEE AND WITH THE HOUSE WAYS EMINS COMMITTEE RIGHT HOUSE WAYS EMINS COMMITTEE RIGHT NOW SAYING THAT 30 DAYS FROM NOW SAYING THAT 30 DAYS FROM NOW, HE WILL REVOKE — HE WILL NOW, HE WILL REVOKE — HE WILL RESUME OR TAKE BACK THE POWER RESUME OR TAKE BACK THE POWER AWAY FROM THE IRS COMMISSIONER AWAY FROM THE IRS COMMISSIONER TO DEAL WITH THESE TAX RETURNS. TO DEAL WITH THESE TAX RETURNS.>>THAT IS THE UNDERSTANDING>>THAT IS THE UNDERSTANDING THAT I HAVE OF THE LAW CONFIRMED THAT I HAVE OF THE LAW CONFIRMED BY LEGAL OFFICIALS WHO HAVE BY LEGAL OFFICIALS WHO HAVE SERVED IN THE RELEVANT TAX SERVED IN THE RELEVANT TAX POSITIONS IN THE PAST. POSITIONS IN THE PAST.>>AND –>>AND –>>I DO NOT THINK IT WOULD BE>>I DO NOT THINK IT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE FOR A SECRETARY OF APPROPRIATE FOR A SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY TO BECOME INVOLVED THE TREASURY TO BECOME INVOLVED IN THE RESOLUTION OF A MATTER OF IN THE RESOLUTION OF A MATTER OF THIS KIND. THIS KIND.>>AND KNOWING THE WAY THE>>AND KNOWING THE WAY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT WORKS, TREASURY DEPARTMENT WORKS, THERE’S A COUNCIL BUT THERE THERE’S A COUNCIL BUT THERE ALREADY ALSO SOME PEOPLE WORKING ALREADY ALSO SOME PEOPLE WORKING AS I UNDERSTAND IT KIND OF IN AS I UNDERSTAND IT KIND OF IN THE MID LEVEL OF AN OFFICE LIKE THE MID LEVEL OF AN OFFICE LIKE THAT WHO HAVE BEEN THERE FOR THAT WHO HAVE BEEN THERE FOR YEARS THROUGH DIFFERENT YEARS THROUGH DIFFERENT ADMINISTRATIONS WHO REALLY HAVE ADMINISTRATIONS WHO REALLY HAVE INSTITUTIONAL EXPERTISE ABOUT INSTITUTIONAL EXPERTISE ABOUT THIS. THIS. WOULD YOU EXPECT WHAT YOU’RE WOULD YOU EXPECT WHAT YOU’RE TELLING US NOW HAS ALREADY TELLING US NOW HAS ALREADY FOUNDITY WAY TO SECRETARY FOUNDITY WAY TO SECRETARY MNUCHIN, THAT HE SHOULD HAVE MNUCHIN, THAT HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE AWARE OF WHAT YOU KNOW BEEN MADE AWARE OF WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS EVEN BEFORE YOUR ABOUT THIS EVEN BEFORE YOUR OP-ED PIECE CAME OUT? OP-ED PIECE CAME OUT?>>I CAN’T KNOW THAT FOR SURE.>>I CAN’T KNOW THAT FOR SURE. I IMAGINE DIFFERENT SECRETARIES I IMAGINE DIFFERENT SECRETARIES OPERATE DIFFERENTLY. OPERATE DIFFERENTLY. CERTAINLY ON MATTERS OF THIS CERTAINLY ON MATTERS OF THIS KIND, WE WOULD ALWAYS HAVE BEEN KIND, WE WOULD ALWAYS HAVE BEEN VERY CAREFUL TO SEEK THE VERY CAREFUL TO SEEK THE GUIDANCE OF AND PRESUMPTIVELY 0 GUIDANCE OF AND PRESUMPTIVELY 0 FOLLOW THE GUIDANCE OF CAREER FOLLOW THE GUIDANCE OF CAREER OFFICIALS. OFFICIALS. AND AN CERTAINLY CAREER AND AN CERTAINLY CAREER OFFICIALS ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE OFFICIALS ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE LONG HISTORY OF THE CONCEPT OF LONG HISTORY OF THE CONCEPT OF INDEPENDENCE OF MAIN TREASURY INDEPENDENCE OF MAIN TREASURY FROM INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYER FROM INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYER MATTERS. MATTERS.>>AND YOU MAKE THE POINT THAT>>AND YOU MAKE THE POINT THAT WHILE YOU WERE TREASURY WHILE YOU WERE TREASURY SECRETARY, YOU NEVER HAD TO SECRETARY, YOU NEVER HAD TO WORRY ABOUT OR THINK ABOUT WORRY ABOUT OR THINK ABOUT SOMETHING LIKE THIS. SOMETHING LIKE THIS. AND YOU EXPLAIN IN YOUR PIECE AND YOU EXPLAIN IN YOUR PIECE WHY. WHY. COULD YOU REMIND THE AUDIENCE COULD YOU REMIND THE AUDIENCE WHY YOU AS BILL CLINTON’S WHY YOU AS BILL CLINTON’S TREASURY SECRETARY NEVER HAD TO TREASURY SECRETARY NEVER HAD TO THINK ABOUT IT. THINK ABOUT IT.>>SURE, PRESIDENT CLINTON MADE>>SURE, PRESIDENT CLINTON MADE ALL HIS TAX RETURNS PUBLICLY ALL HIS TAX RETURNS PUBLICLY AVAILABLE. AVAILABLE. ALL THE PRESIDENTS FOR THE LAST ALL THE PRESIDENTS FOR THE LAST 50 YEARS HAVE MADE ALL THEIR TAX 50 YEARS HAVE MADE ALL THEIR TAX RETURNS PUBLICLY AVAILABLE. RETURNS PUBLICLY AVAILABLE. SO THIS KIND OF ISSUE WOULD HAVE SO THIS KIND OF ISSUE WOULD HAVE BEEN — COULDN’T POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN — COULDN’T POSSIBLY HAVE ARISEN. ARISEN. IT’S ONLY ARISEN BECAUSE THIS IT’S ONLY ARISEN BECAUSE THIS PRESIDENT HAS CHOSEN NOT TO MAKE PRESIDENT HAS CHOSEN NOT TO MAKE HIS TAX RETURNS PUBLICLY HIS TAX RETURNS PUBLICLY AVAILABLE. AVAILABLE. WHICH WAS HIS PREROGATIVE. WHICH WAS HIS PREROGATIVE. BUT IT IS ALSO THE PREROGATIVE BUT IT IS ALSO THE PREROGATIVE OF THE CONGRESS AS PART OF THEIR OF THE CONGRESS AS PART OF THEIR OVERSIGHT FUNCTION AND ONE OF OVERSIGHT FUNCTION AND ONE OF THEIR OVERSIGHT FUNCTIONS IS THEIR OVERSIGHT FUNCTIONS IS MAKING SURE THAT PRESIDENTIAL MAKING SURE THAT PRESIDENTIAL TAX RETURNS ARE ADEQUATELY TAX RETURNS ARE ADEQUATELY MONITORED AND AUDITED ESPECIALLY MONITORED AND AUDITED ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT THERE IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT THERE WERE FAILURES IN THAT AREA WERE FAILURES IN THAT AREA DURING THE NIXON ADMINISTRATION, DURING THE NIXON ADMINISTRATION, FOR WHICH REASON THEY HAVE FOR WHICH REASON THEY HAVE REQUESTED ACCESS TO THE REQUESTED ACCESS TO THE PRESIDENT’S TAX RETURN. PRESIDENT’S TAX RETURN. BY THE WAY, THIS IS — THIS IS BY THE WAY, THIS IS — THIS IS SOMETHING THAT’S BEEN CONSIDERED SOMETHING THAT’S BEEN CONSIDERED EXTENSIVELY. EXTENSIVELY. THIS ISN’T SOMETHING NEW. THIS ISN’T SOMETHING NEW. THE RELEVANT STATUTE 6103 DATES THE RELEVANT STATUTE 6103 DATES FROM 1924, CONGRESS DURING THE FROM 1924, CONGRESS DURING THE TIME I WAS IN THE TREASURY TIME I WAS IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT IN THE ’90s, PASSED DEPARTMENT IN THE ’90s, PASSED THE IRS RESTRUCTURING ACT AND AS THE IRS RESTRUCTURING ACT AND AS PART OF THAT IRS RESTUK TOURING PART OF THAT IRS RESTUK TOURING ACT THEY MADE CLEAR THAT ANY ACT THEY MADE CLEAR THAT ANY EMPLOYEE OF THE IRS WHO FAILED EMPLOYEE OF THE IRS WHO FAILED TO COMPLY WITH THIS LAW IT WAS TO COMPLY WITH THIS LAW IT WAS WHAT WAS CONTROL QUESTIONALLY WHAT WAS CONTROL QUESTIONALLY REFERRED TO AS THE TEN DEADLY REFERRED TO AS THE TEN DEADLY SIBS, WOULD BE SUBJECT TO BEING SIBS, WOULD BE SUBJECT TO BEING IMMEDIATELY FIRED. IMMEDIATELY FIRED. SO THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT SO THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT CONGRESS HAS FAILED TO CONSIDER CONGRESS HAS FAILED TO CONSIDER CAREFULLY. CAREFULLY. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING, THESE ARE THIS IS NOT SOMETHING, THESE ARE NOT PROVISIONS THAT HAVE NEVER NOT PROVISIONS THAT HAVE NEVER BEEN USED BEFORE, FOR EXAMPLE, BEEN USED BEFORE, FOR EXAMPLE, THEY WERE USED IN THE THEY WERE USED IN THE INVESTIGATIONS OF BIAS AGAINST INVESTIGATIONS OF BIAS AGAINST WHAT WAS FELT TO BE BIASES WHAT WAS FELT TO BE BIASES AGAINST CONSERVATIVE GROUPS AGAINST CONSERVATIVE GROUPS DURING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DURING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION BY THE THEN REPUBLICAN WAYS AND BY THE THEN REPUBLICAN WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE. MEANS COMMITTEE. SO THESE ARE LONG ESTABLISHED SO THESE ARE LONG ESTABLISHED PROVISIONS.

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