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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (L) speaks with chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Richard Neal. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Democrats have long promised to get hold of President Trump’s tax returns once they retook the House, but House Ways and Means Committee chair Richard Neal’s lack of urgency to submit a request — 3 months into the new Congress — means that the documents might not be handed over before the 2020 elections, the HuffPost reports.

The state of play: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who would have to respond to a request to turn over the documents, has declined to explicitly say whether he would release them, telling Congress "based on the request, we will examine it, and we will follow the law." This could raise the likelihood of a prolonged battle in court.

Per the HuffPost, Neal has said the committee's lawyers are working carefully to put Democrats in "the most advantageous position possible for the expected court fight," but he has yet to commit to a timeline.

  • According to Ways and Means member Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), the court process could take 8 or 9 months, meaning the request would have to be submitted soon if Democrats don't want to be perceived as interfering with the 2020 campaign.

Go deeper: The 2020 candidates who have released their latest tax returns

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to note Mnuchin's quotes on the Trump tax returns. It originally claimed that Mnuchin "has said he will not release them."

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai detained on fraud charge

An activist holds a placard highlighting China's Tiananmen Square massacre as pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrives at West Kowloon Magistrates' Court in Hong Kong in November. Photo: Isaac Wong/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai is being detained until an April court hearing after the pro-democracy supporter was charged Thursday with fraud, per his Apple Daily news outlet.

Why it matters: The 72-year-old's arrest and denial of bail is another blow for the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony amid concerns about a fresh crackdown on activists.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.

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