Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin claimed at a House Financial Services Committee hearing that he has never spoken with Trump "or anyone in the White House about delivering the president's tax returns to Congress."

Why it matters: Mnuchin rejected a House Ways and Means Committee subpoena to turn over Trump's personal and business tax returns last week, arguing that it lacked "a legitimate legislative purpose." Last night, the Washington Post reported that a "confidential draft IRS memo" contradicted the administration's opposition to releasing President Trump's tax returns. The memo says the president's tax returns "must be given to Congress" unless he invokes executive privilege, per the Post.

  • Asked about the memo in the hearing, Mnuchin said: "The memo was marked 'draft,' it was not a final memo. I don't know how it got to the Washington Post, it would have been more interesting if it had got to me or the commissioner to review." He claimed he briefly read the memo on his way to his appearance.
  • Mnuchin also said that it would be "unlawful" for him to turn over Trump's tax returns, and that the Justice Department has assured him of this.

The big picture: The administration has long sought to prevent Congress from obtaining Trump's tax returns, even though the president repeatedly said he would release the documents while campaigning in 2016. White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Fox News last month that Democrats will "never" get Trump's tax returns.

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

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Trump's Tucker mind-meld

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images and BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

If you want to understand the rhetorical roots of Trump's Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore, go back and watch Tucker Carlson's monologues for the past six weeks.

Between the lines: Trump — or rather his speechwriter Stephen Miller — framed the president's opposition to the Black Lives Matter protest movement using the same imagery Carlson has been laying out night after night on Fox.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 11,366,145 — Total deaths: 532,644 — Total recoveries — 6,154,138Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 2,874,396 — Total deaths: 129,870 — Total recoveries: 906,763 — Total tested: 35,512,916Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity — Houston mayor warns about hospitals
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Former Trump official Tom Bossert says face masks “are not enough”
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: Sports return stalked by coronavirus
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Bolton's hidden aftershocks

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The news media has largely moved on, but foreign government officials remain fixated on John Bolton's memoir, "The Room Where It Happened."

Why it matters: Bolton's detailed inside-the-Oval revelations have raised the blood pressure of allies who were already stressed about President Trump's unreliability.