Biden administration asks for more time to consider Trump tax-returns case

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A federal judge on Wednesday granted the Biden administration’s request for another month to decide how to proceed in a long-running court fight over former President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

In a court filing, the administration asked Judge Trevor McFadden to give it until March 3 to consider the case, pointing to the “still-ongoing transition to new leadership at the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Justice.”

House Democrats are suing the Treasury to enforce a subpoena demanding six years worth of Trump’s returns, citing an arcane law allowing the heads of Congress’ tax committees to examine anyone’s private tax information. Under the Trump administration, the Treasury had refused, calling the requests illegitimate.

The new administration could simply hand over the documents to its allies in Congress, possibly without Trump even knowing.

While many Democrats are eager to finally lay hands on the long-hidden returns, it’s unclear whether Biden wants to turn them over. That could look like he is using the IRS to go after his predecessor, undercutting his efforts to cast himself as someone who can unify the country. It would also likely prove a distraction to Biden’s legislative agenda.

McFadden also signed off on an agreement by the Biden administration and Trump’s lawyers to extend the judge’s previous order to give Trump’s team a 72-hour notice if the administration intends to give the returns to lawmakers, so the former president’s lawyers have a chance to block that in court.

The court brief came in response to a request by McFadden that the sides file a status report on the case to him by Feb. 3.

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