Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has announced that he won’t meet today’s House Ways and Means Committee deadline for turning over Donald Trump’s tax returns. This places Mnuchin in contempt of Congress, and we’re about to see an ugly and protracted legal battle that won’t end well for Mnuchin. No matter how aggressively House Democrats pursue the matter, they won’t be able to magically obtain Trump’s tax returns in swift fashion; it’ll take time. Fortunately for them, they’re having much greater success going through a side door.
What do Capital One, Deutsche Bank, Mazars, and JP Morgan Chase have in common? They’ve all either started turning over Donald Trump’s financial records to House Democrats, or they’ve agreed to do so under friendly subpoena. This means House Democrats are getting Trump’s banking records, loan records, and accounting records. That’s not the same thing as his tax returns, but there will be significant overlap.
If the goal for House Democrats is to pore over Donald Trump’s financial history and figure out his financial crimes and foreign entanglements, his financial records should be nearly as effective a tool as his tax returns. So even as the battle plays out with Mnuchin and the Treasury, the Democrats are already diving into Trump’s finances.
Donald Trump will try to stop these financial institutions from turning over his records, but he has no standing to stop them, because the likes of Capital One and JP Morgan Chase don’t work for him. Trump can’t stop House Democrats from getting to the bottom of most of his dark financial secrets. In fact he can’t even slow down the process, which has already begun.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report