Legal expert Susan Hennessey on Monday mocked President Donald Trump’s legal team for its latest effort to block the release of his tax returns with a letter to the Treasury Department that she said reeked of desperation.
In the letter written to U.S. Treasury Department general counsel Brent McIntosh, attorney William Consovoy argued that the law does not actually state that the Treasury Department shall hand over any American citizen’s tax returns upon request from the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, despite stating clearly that “upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means… the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request.”
“Highlighting the word ‘shall’ is a talking point, not a serious legal argument,” Consovoy argued.
The letter went on to compare Trump to black leaders of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
“What if, during the height of the civil-rights movement, the Democrat-controlled House tried to intimidate African-American leaders by requesting their tax returns?” he asked. “Surely no one would agree with Chairman Neal that the other branches could not “question or second guess the motivations” of Congress.”
After reading this argument, Hennessey could only conclude that Trump’s attorneys are trying to throw up any legal justification they can think of to block Congress from seeing Trump’s taxes.
“I didn’t think it was possible but this is an even weaker formulation of the legal argument than the theory advanced in the first letter,” she wrote. “Hard to come up with an explanation other than that there is something in those returns they are really desperate to hide from Congress.”
I didn't think it was possible but this is an even weaker formulation of the legal argument than the theory advanced in the first letter. Hard to come up with an explanation other than that there is something in those returns they are really desperate to hide from Congress. https://t.co/VmV5BUwl1d
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) April 15, 2019