IRS Commissioner Charles Retting said the decision on whether Trump's tax returns will be released is ultimately his, adding he had discussed Neal's request with Mnuchin but was not ordered to reject the request or told how to handle the returns.
The New York Times reported this was the first public acknowledgment of communication between the White House and the Treasury Department over the tax returns.
But a week after Neal made his formal request for Trump's tax information, including information on eight of the President's business entities, Democrats are fully anticipating a drawn-out political and legal showdown as the administration digs in and Democrats prepare to go to court.
Mnuchin thought he could outsmart Waters, by getting testy, trying to play a mind game and then having the audacity to tell the senior top Democrat how to do her job and when to bang her gavel.
However, the Treasury Secretary's letter also makes a point of noting the political concerns, and how in the last Congress the committee took up a similar request and concluded it "would be an "abuse of authority" and "set a risky precedent by targeting a single individual's confidential tax returns and associated financial documents for disclosure" for political reasons".More news: Meghan and Harry 'move into Frogmore Cottage' ahead of royal baby's birth
Mr. Trump said he has released other financial disclosures about his businesses and that voters don't care about the subject, anyway.
"It will be embarrassing if I keep this person waiting for a long period of time", Mnuchin said.
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) speaks at a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration outside City Hall in Los Angeles on February 18. If the department refused to hand them over, Democrats would likely sue.
"It is being reviewed by the legal departments, and we look forward to responding to the letter", Mnuchin said. "I'm not going to comment on specific conversations that we've had together".
Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin engaged in a heated debate with Democratic Rep. and House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters during a Tuesday budget hearing before the House Financial Services Committee.More news: India election SHOCK: Alliance to LOSE majority despite support over Pakistan tensions
Mnuchin said he'd notified committee staff on Monday that he'd need to leave at 5 p.m. "If that's what you want to do, I'll cancel my appointment and I'll stay here.' So I'm responding to your request, if that's what you want to do".
Congress, in 1924, updated the tax code to give the chairmen of the House and Senate tax-writing committees the ability to obtain anyone's tax returns even if the request was opposed by the White House. "And no lawyer would tell you to release your tax returns while you're under audit".
He and Waters then sparred over whether Mnuchin would agree to come back two more times in May to allow lawmakers who had not had a chance to ask questions get a turn.
"I want to be very clear and not be misleading. And unfortunately, there's been such a feeding frenzy, and the expectations are so high, that it's bound to disappoint in some respects", says Richard Pomp, a law professor at the University of CT and a tax expert who previously served as director of the New York Tax Study Commission.More news: Trump mocks Rep. Ilhan Omar in speech before Jewish Republican Group