House Democrats Favor Lawsuit Over Subpoena in Trump Tax Quest

(Bloomberg) -- The House Democrat charged with obtaining President Donald Trump’s tax returns indicated he’s going to sue, rather than issue a subpoena, in the next battle to obtain the president’s records.

“They don’t seem to be responding to a lot of subpoenas around here,” House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal told reporters late Tuesday. “I did say this was going to end up in the courts, right? And that’s where it’s headed.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday refused to hand over six years of Trump’s personal and business returns saying Democrats didn’t need the documents for legitimate legislative work. Neal, under a 1924 law, has the authority to request any taxpayer’s return, including the president.

Skipping the subpoena, assuming it will be refused, could speed up the process for a possible court to order the Treasury Department to release the tax information.

Neal’s preference for a lawsuit, rather than a subpoena, comes as the Trump administration is seeking to block several congressional investigations. Trump on Wednesday asserted executive privilege over all of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative documents sought by House Democrats, escalating a conflict between the White House and Congress.

Attorney General William Barr missed a deadline on Monday to comply with the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoena for the full Mueller report. Separately, the Trump administration told former White House Counsel Don McGahn on Tuesday not to turn over documents subpoenaed by congressional investigators.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.