Trump plays a deadly game of “tag, you’re it” - politically speaking.
Republican strategist Rick Wilson wrote “Everything Trump Touches Dies.” Here’s the review from Amazon.com:
Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever by Rick Wilson: Conversation Starters Rick Wilson uses his dark humor and biting analysis to examine the absurdity of American politics under Trump’s administration. The author exposes the damage Trump has done to the country, to the conservative movement, and to the Republican Party. Wilson also alerts his own party of the political disaster that leaves all the people involved with Trump with destroyed lives and reputations and sheds light on the parties responsible of giving him power. “Everything Trump Touches Dies” is a New York Times Bestseller. Ana Marie Cox from With Friends like These said about Rick Wilson that he has a wicked sense of humor and a charmingly perverse way of puncturing inflated egos.
So what does all that have to do with Trump’s tax returns? David Cay Johnston explains why some of those in Trump’s orbit have been tagged by Trump - and who have a lot to lose. (h/t AZ Blue Meanie) Here’s the Law That Requires Mnuchin to Turn Over Trump’s Taxes, or Lose His Office and Go to Prison. The law is clear, and it leaves no wiggle room. The consequences for breaking it include removal from public office and up to five years in prison.
Under Section 6103 of our tax code, Treasury officials “shall” turn over the tax returns “upon written request” of the chair of either congressional tax committee or the federal employee who runs Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. No request has ever been refused, a host of former congressional tax aides tell me.
There are no qualifiers in Section 6103 that shield Trump from delivering, in confidence, his tax returns to Congress. No wiggle room at all.
That you already know from previous posts here and in other news reports and blogs. Here’s what is new.
There is, however, a law requiring every federal “employee” who touches the tax system to do their duty or be removed from office.
The crystal-clear language of this law applies to Trump, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Mnuchin and Rettig, federal employees all.
The law says all of them “shall” be removed from office if they fail to comply with the request from Representative Richard Neal, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee.
Another provision in our tax code, Section 7214(a), provides that “Any officer or employee of the United States acting in connection with any revenue law of the United States… who with intent to defeat the application of any provision of this title fails to perform any of the duties of his office or employment… shall be dismissed from office or discharged from employment and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $10,000, or imprisoned not more than 5 years or both.”
All these guys, “acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Mnuchin and Rettig, federal employees all” and perhaps others are stuck. They cannot be courtiers loyal to Trump and also be assured of no jail time. Stay tuned.