Earlier this year, President Trump requested that majority leader and senator Mitch McConnell make a confirmation vote for his chief counsel of the Internal Revenue Service nominee a top priority, The New York Times reports.
A person close to the situation alleges that Trump indicated that the I.R.S. nomination was a higher priority than voting to confirm William P. Barr as attorney general. For months, White House aides insisted that confirming nominee Michael J. Desmond, a tax lawyer from California, was an urgent matter after the tax bill passed in 2017.
But the personal request that Trump made to McConnell on February 5 raises questions about his real motivations.
Congressional Democrats have been a thorn in the president's side as they vowed to collect his tax returns from the I.R.S.This week, House Ways and Means Committee chairman Richard E. Neal, Democrat representative of Massachusetts, used an obscure tax code provision to ask the I.R.S. release six years of Trump's tax returns.
On Thursday, Trump, responding to questions of whether he would instruct the I.R.S. to provide his tax returns, said Democrats would have to go through his lawyers first.
“They’ll speak to my lawyers,” Mr. Trump said. “They’ll speak to the attorney general.”
When Desmond was first considered by the Senate Finance Committee in July, Bloomberg reported that he gave tax advice to the Trump Organization prior to Trump's inauguration.
The chief counsel of the I.R.S. guides the agency director on “all matters pertaining to the interpretation, administration and enforcement of the Internal Revenue Code, as well as all other legal matters,” according to the agency website.
The Senate first confirmed Barr's nomination. Two weeks later, it confirmed Desmond on February 27.