Donald Trump’s effort to conceal his tax returns just took a blow

Donald Trump is conspiring with his Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to obstruct justice when it comes to the House’s request to see Trump’s tax returns. House Democrats will win this legal battle eventually, and the whole thing will end poorly for Mnuchin. The question has been how soon they can win the legal battle. That effort may have just gotten a bit easier.

For some reason a source familiar with Donald Trump’s legal team has decided to reveal to CNN’s Jim Acosta that there was a ‘working assumption among Trump’s attorneys is that Mueller obtained an unknown number of Trump’s tax returns and that the documents were part of the investigation.” The source added that he “can’t be certain that the tax returns were obtained by Mueller’s team. But the Trump legal team believed that the returns would have been fair game for the special counsel to seek.”

This is problematic for Donald Trump on two levels. First, this gives House Democrats the opportunity to ask Robert Mueller about this matter during his upcoming public testimony. His answer should be revealing. The redacted version of his report contains no mention of Trump’s tax returns or his finances. But if Team Trump is correct and Mueller did obtain Trump’s tax returns, Mueller must have done something with them. Perhaps William Barr redacted that entire section. Perhaps Mueller included Trump’s tax returns in the ongoing Trump-Russia counterintelligence probe.

Second, if Robert Mueller was able to obtain Donald Trump’s tax returns, it would hand House Democrats a major victory in their own effort to obtain the returns. If the public learns that Robert Mueller has Trump’s tax returns, it’ll sharply increase public demand for the House to be allowed to obtain them as well. And if Mueller found legal grounds for seizing them, it’ll mean House Democrats can use those same legal grounds when they end up making their argument in court.

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