May 21, 2019

Report: IRS draft memo says Trump must turn over tax returns or assert executive privilege

Photo: SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

A classified Internal Revenue Service draft memo obtained by the Washington Post indicates that President Trump's tax returns must be handed over to Congress unless the president invokes executive privilege.

Details: The memo was reportedly penned last fall by a lawyer in the Office of Chief Counsel and is not reflective of the agency's "official position," per the Post. Disclosure to the committee is "mandatory, requiring the Secretary to disclose returns, and return information, requested by the tax-writing Chairs," per the memo titled "Congressional Access to Returns and Return Information."

  • The law “does not allow the Secretary to exercise discretion in disclosing the information provided the statutory conditions are met” and explicitly denies Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's justification for suppressing Trump's financials.

The backdrop: To date, Trump has rejected calls to turn over his tax returns to Congress, but he has not asserted executive privilege. Mnuchin has denied the returns, arguing there is no legal basis for them to be shared.

Go deeper: Mnuchin rejects subpoena for Trump's tax returns

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,251 people and infected almost 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.