Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told a congressional subcommittee that the Treasury Department was in contact with the White House general counsel's office before the House Democrats' formal request to obtain Trump's tax returns.

"Our legal department has had conversations prior to receiving the letter with the White House general counsel. I acknowledge there were conversations. I am not briefed on the full extent of those conversations."

Why it matters: House Ways and Means Committee chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) requested 6 years of Trump's tax returns from the IRS last week. It's now up to Mnuchin, who oversees the IRS, to decide whether to comply. According to the New York Times, this is "the first public acknowledgment of communication between the White House and the Treasury Department related to Mr. Trump’s tax returns."

  • The process is supposed to be immune from White House intervention, the Washington Post notes.
  • Mnuchin told the committee: "I believe that the communication between our legal department and the White House general counsel was informational. We had obviously read in the press that we were expecting this. I personally wasn’t involved in those conversations."

Go deeper: Mick Mulvaney says Democrats will never get Trump's tax returns

Go deeper

The TikTok deal's for-show provisions and flimsy foundations

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The new deal to rescue TikTok from a threatened U.S. ban — full of provisions aimed at creating the temporary appearance of a presidential win — looks like a sort of Potemkin village agreement.

How it works: Potemkin villages were fake-storefront towns stood up to impress a visiting czar and dignitaries. When the visitors left, the stage set got struck.

  • Similarly, many elements of this plan look hastily erected and easily abandoned once the spotlight moves on.
1 hour ago - Technology

Over 3 million U.S. voters have already registered on social media

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

An estimated 2.5 million+ Americans have registered to vote on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, Facebook announced Monday. More than 733,000 Americans have registered to vote so far via Snapchat.

Why it matters: The broad reach of social media platforms makes them uniquely effective at engaging voters — especially younger voters who may not know how to register to vote or be civically engaged.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Wall Street: Recession is over

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. economic activity fell more sharply in the second quarter of this year than during any other quarter in history. It's also going to grow more sharply in the third quarter of this year than during any other quarter in history.

  • The recession is over, according to Wall Street, with current forecasts showing sustained economic growth through 2021 and beyond.