Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has rejected House Democrats' request to turn over President Trump's tax returns for the third time.

"In reliance on the advice of the Department of Justice, I have determined that the Committee's request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose, and pursuant to section 6103, the Department is therefore not authorized to disclose the requested returns and return information."

The big picture: After several delays, Mnuchin had sent a letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) informing him that the Treasury Department would consult with the Justice Department and decide by May 6 whether to release Trump's tax returns to Congress. Mnuchin's latest refusal is the most definitive and will likely set up a prolonged court battle between the Trump administration and House Democrats.

  • White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said last month on Fox News that Democrats will "never" get their hands on Trump's tax returns: "The Democrats are demanding that the IRS turn over the documents, and that is not going to happen, and they know it. This is a political stunt by my former colleagues."
  • Monday's refusal is part of a broader strategy by the Trump administration to ignore document requests and subpoenas by House Democratic committees attempting to conduct oversight.
  • As Axios has previously reported, those subpoenas are hard to enforce, and even holding Trump officials in contempt — as the House Judiciary Committee is seeking to do with Attorney General Bill — likely won't result in any serious consequences.

Chairman Richard Neal said in a statement: "Today, Secretary Mnuchin notified me that the IRS will not provide the documents I requested under Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code. I will consult with counsel and determine the appropriate response."

Mnuchin's letter:

Go deeper

Arrest over letter to Trump containing poison ricin

President Trump returning to the White House from Minnesota on Sept. 18. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A suspect was arrested for allegedly "sending a suspicious letter" after law enforcement agents intercepted an envelope addressed to President Trump containing the poison ricin, the FBI confirmed in an emailed statement to Axios Sunday.

Details: The suspect, a woman, was arrested while trying to enter New York from Canada, law enforcement forces said.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 30,881,522 — Total deaths: 958,493— Total recoveries: 21,119,006Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 6,794,479 — Total deaths: 199,469 — Total recoveries: 2,590,671 — Total tests: 95,108,559Map.
  3. Politics: Testing czar on Trump's CDC contradictions: "Everybody is right" Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure.
  4. Education: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning.
  5. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19 — 7 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  6. World: England sets £10,000 fine for breaking self-isolation rules — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

Trump campaign goes all in on Pennsylvania

Trump poster in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The president's campaign is placing more importance on Pennsylvania amid growing concern that his chances of clinching Wisconsin are slipping, Trump campaign sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, twice Wisconsin's number, actually has been trending higher in recent public and internal polling, a welcome development for the campaign.