Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) blasted the Department of Justice on Friday, June 14, over a legal opinion that it published in support of the Treasury Department’s rejection of a House summons for the tax returns of President Trump.
“What is the president hiding in his tax returns? And since when does ‘shall’ mean ‘unless it displeases Trump?'” the House Intelligence Committee chairman tweeted late Friday.
“And, perhaps more importantly: What will be left of DOJ’s independence and reputation for impartial justice after Barr? The answer? Very little,” he continued.
What is the President hiding in his tax returns?
And since when does “shall” mean “unless it displeases Trump”?
And, perhaps more importantly:
What will be left of DOJ’s independence and reputation for impartial justice after Barr?
The answer? Very little. https://t.co/NItITJk5Rt
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) June 15, 2019
Schiff’s comments came after a legal opinion was released by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday supporting Treasury’s decision to reject a request by congressional Democrats for six years of Trump’s tax returns.
The opinion followed after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last month rejected a subpoena from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) demanding Trump’s personal and business tax returns from 2013 to 2018.
In its opinion Friday, the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel said that it advised the Treasury Department to deny the request.
“While the Executive Branch should accord due deference and respect to congressional requests, Treasury was not obliged to accept the Committee’s stated purpose without question, and based on all the facts and circumstances, we agreed that the Committee lacked a legitimate legislative purpose for its request,” the opinion states.
“The Chairman’s request that Treasury turn over the President’s tax returns, for the apparent purpose of making them public, amounted to an unprecedented use of the Committee’s authority and raised a serious risk of abuse,” the opinion said.
The Justice Department’s backing of Treasury’s refusal to provide the president’s tax returns is likely to further tensions between congressional Democrats and Attorney General William Barr, whom they’ve accused of trying to stonewall Congress’s constitutional oversight power.