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President Trump at the end of a rally to support Republican Senate candidates at Valdosta Regional Airport in Valdosta, Georgia on December 5, 2020. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP

The Treasury Department "must" release former President Trump's tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee, the Department of Justice said in a memo Friday.

The big picture: The DOJ memo comes after a long dispute between the committee, which first sought to obtain the former president's returns two years ago, and Trump, who fought to keep his finances private.

What they're saying: The DOJ said in a memo to the Treasury Department that the House committee provided a "legitimate legislative purpose" to gain access to Trump's returns.

  • "The statute at issue here is unambiguous: 'Upon written request' of the chairman of one of the three congressional tax committees, the Secretary 'shall furnish' the requested tax information to the Committee," the memo said.
  • "We conclude that the Secretary must comply with the Ways and Means Committee’s June 16, 2021 request pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 6103(f)(1) to furnish the Committee with the specified tax returns and related tax information," per the memo.
  • It is unclear if Trump will attempt to block the release, per the Washington Post.

Go deeper

Trump DOJ official refuses to answer Jan. 6 questions

Jeffrey Clark, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department on Sept. 14, 2020. Photo: Susan Walsh/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

A Trump-allied former assistant attorney general, who reportedly helped the 45th president amplify false claims around the election, refused on Friday to answer questions in a deposition with the special House panel looking into the Jan. 6 insurrection, AP reports.

Why it matters: It's the latest blow to the committee, which has struggled to secure cooperation from Trump associates. Some have outright defied the lawmakers.

Updated Nov 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Payments to families separated at border still being negotiated, White House clarifies

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The White House clarified Thursday that negotiations are ongoing for payments to families who were separated at the border under the Trump administration.

The latest: The Wall Street Journal first reported that the Justice Department was in talks to pay $450,000 per person to settle lawsuits filed on behalf of the families affected. When asked about the payments this week, President Biden had said, "That's not going to happen." Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday his response was to the $450,000 figure and not the payments themselves.

Updated 48 mins ago - Health

The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Omicron's blitz around the world has underscored the need for a new arsenal of COVID vaccines and therapeutics, experts say — and that may require an effort akin to Operation Warp Speed 2.0.

Why it matters: The virus will continue to evolve, potentially in a way that further escapes vaccine protection, and the best way to prevent more global disruptions to everyday life is to have tools ready to combat whatever comes next.

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