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

Go deeper

Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won't change

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation in the West Bank will not change, according to people in attendance.

Why it matters: The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina if capacity reduced

President Trump on stage during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump threatened in a series of Monday tweets to move this summer's Republican National Convention from Charlotte if North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, doesn't allow the event to be held at full capacity.

The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state's health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should "plan for the worst" as mass gatherings will be a "very big challenge" if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.