AP Top Stories June 8 P

Here’s the latest for Saturday, June 8th: Trump’s threatened tariffs on hold after deal with Mexico; Mnuchin to hold 1-on-1 chat with PBOC Gov. Yi; US carrier in Persian Gulf region sends clear signal to Iran; Insects as an alternative source of protein.

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France’s Le Maire meets Mnuchin at G20 finance summit | AFP

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire meets his American counterpart Steven Mnuchin at the G20 Finance Ministers summit in Fukuoka, Japan. IMAGES

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Mnuchin: $20 bill redesign with Tubman on hold

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that a decision by his predecessor, Jacob Lew, to put African-American abolitionist leader Harriett Tubman on the $20 bill would be delayed and will not happen in 2020. (May 22)

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What Congress Can Do When A President Ignores Its Subpoenas (HBO)

Tensions between the White House and Congressional Democrats hit a new high yesterday, after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the IRS would not turn over Donald Trump’s tax returns to the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, who requested them last month.

A 1924 law requires the IRS to obey the request, but Mnuchin said he was turning it down because it wasn’t being made a legitimate legislative purpose.

This isn’t a one-off. Instead, it’s part of a bigger pattern of Trump rejecting congressional oversight of all kinds. Today, for instance, the White House said it had instructed former White House counsel Don McGahn to ignore a congressional subpoena for documents related to the Mueller Report. And in just the past week, Attorney General William Barr refused to show up to testify at the House Judiciary Committee in a dispute over who would get to question him, and ignored a subpoena requiring him to turn over the full, unredacted Mueller Report.

Congressional Democrats are fulminating in response. But the tools they have to compel the president to cooperate with their investigations are, in practice, pretty limited. They can:

1) Vote for contempt-of-Congress charges against Trump officials who ignore subpoenas. Criminal contempt charges can result in jail time. But the catch is that any such charge has to be referred to a US Attorney for prosecution. And since US Attorneys work for Trump’s Justice Department, there’s almost no chance that those charges will ever be prosecuted.

2) File suit against the administration in court, which could result in a court order requiring the administration to obey the subpoena. But that process is a long and drawn-out one, and there’s no guarantee, in the end, that the administration would even follow the court order.

3) Take the direct route, and order the sergeant-at-arms to arrest recalcitrant Trump officials. This sounds bizarre, but the Supreme Court has held that Congress has the authority to use its own police to enforce its dictates. The problem is that the last time Congress did this was back in 1935, and trying to arrest someone like the Secretary of the Treasury would leave the Democrats in completely uncharted waters.

Which means what we’re likely to get is what we’ve been getting: Democrats complaining and Trump stonewalling.

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AP Top Stories May 7 A

Here’s the latest for Tuesday May 7th: Mnuchin refuses to hand Trump taxes to Congressional Democrats; China sending top official to US trade talks; Suspect arrested in shooting death of Mississippi police officer; Myanmar frees two jailed journalists.

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Mnuchin says he’ll protect Trump privacy on taxes

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested Thursday he will protect President Donald Trump’s privacy if he receives a request from House Democrats for Trump’s tax returns. (March 14)

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Mnuchin: Venezuela sanctions won’t hurt drivers

(28 Jan 2019) Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he doesn’t expect U.S. consumers to see higher prices at the gas pumps as a result of new sanctions announced Monday on Venezuela. (Jan. 28)

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Mnuchin: ‘Real agreement’ with China in the works

(3 Dec 2018) Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says there is a “real agreement” in the works between the U.S. and China on trade and other issues following President Donald Trump’s three hour dinner with President Xi Jinping in Argentina Saturday night. (Dec. 3)

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Congress Presses Mnuchin Over Tariffs’ Impact

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin faced tough questions from Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill Thursday. Mnuchin’s appearance came as China tried to step up pressure on Washington in their growing tariff war. (July 12)

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