(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "We're under audit." The fight to get President Donald Trump's tax returns hit another wall on Monday, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refusing to turn over the long-sought financial records, setting up another subpoena battle with congressional Democrats.
Mnuchin defied a Monday deadline set by Democrat Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
It was his third failed attempt to obtain Trump's personal returns.
Neal has cited a federal anti-corruption law that says the Treasury Secretary "shall furnish such committee with any return." In a letter to the Committee, Mnuchin said the Democrat's request lacks, quote, "a legitimate legislative purpose." The dispute is expected to wind up in a fierce court battle over how much power Congress has to investigate the executive branch.
During the 2016 race, Trump became the first major party nominee in 40 years to break with the tradition of releasing their tax returns.
Trump has repeatedly said he is under no obligation to do so.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "I have no problem with it but while I'm under audit I would not give my taxes, there is no law whatsoever." Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who reported to prison Monday for fraud and other crimes, earlier this year told Congress he didn't believe the president was being audited and might have used the audit claim to avoid tax penalties.
House Democrats are seeking Trump's tax returns amid a wave of investigations in the wake of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, which cleared Trump of conspiring with Russia in the 2016 elections, but identified 10 episodes of Trump attempting to impede Mueller's probe.