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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin sent a letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) Tuesday informing him that the Treasury Department will decide by May 6 whether to release President Trump's tax returns to Congress — effectively ignoring the April 23 deadline that Neal had set.

"Due to the serious constitutional questions raised by this request and the serious consequences that a resolution of those questions could have for taxpayer privacy, the Department is consulting with the Department of Justice. Although federal law establishes no deadline for a response to your request, we expect to provide the Committee with a final decision by May 6, after receiving the Justice Department's legal conclusions."

The big picture: In the past few days, the Trump administration has taken a number of steps to block oversight by House Democrats, or — as the president and his defenders have labeled it — "presidential harassment."

  • On Monday, Trump and the Trump Organization sued House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings in an attempt to block Cummings' subpoena of Trump's longtime accountant, Mazars USA LLP.
  • Also on Monday, White House directed former security clearance official Carl Kline not to comply with an Oversight subpoena. Cummings is now moving to hold Kline in contempt of Congress.
  • And as the Washington Post reported Tuesday, the administration also plans on fighting a House Judiciary subpoena of former White House counsel Don McGahn.

Go deeper

Local news moves to the inbox

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A slew of new companies are launching platforms for local newsletters, a shift that could help finally bring the local news industry into the digital era.

Driving the news: Substack, the email publishing platform for independent journalists, on Thursday announced a new local news platform.

J&J vaccine pause hurts its reputation

Reproduced from Economist/YouGov poll; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans' confidence in the safety of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine took a big dip this week after the pause in its use, per new YouGov polling, even though the risk of blood clots following the shot is extremely low, if it exists at all.

Why it matters: For the majority of people, particularly high-risk Americans, getting the J&J shot is almost certainly less dangerous than remaining vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Inflation will rise. Don't panic

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

It's been 40 years since America last saw a damaging level of inflation. Yet despite that — or perhaps because of it — inflation fears are widespread, and could even become self-fulfilling.

Why it matters: The government's strategy for bringing back employment and widespread prosperity involves a necessary — yet temporary — increase in inflation. When an entire generation has never experienced such a thing, that can be disconcerting. And for the time being, Americans are not buying what the government is selling.

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