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Rashida Tlaib advises Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to lawyer up for role in 'cover up'

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A very sparsely attended rally held by Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Al Green of Texas pushes for impeachment proceedings to begin in earnest.
USA TODAY

Rep. Rashida Tlaib told Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin that, as an attorney, she “would be remiss” if she did not counsel him to seek “personal legal advice” for his role in a Trump administration “cover-up.”

The Michigan Democrat advised the Cabinet member to lawyer up during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Wednesday. Several other Democrats had asked Mnuchin about his refusal to comply with a congressional subpoena for six years worth of President Donald Trump’s tax returns and about an IRS memo that appeared to contradict Mnuchin’s reason for ignoring the subpoena. 

Munchin said the Justice Department advised him that he was “not violating the law” and, “quite the contrary,” turning over the tax returns would itself be “unlawful.” 

“The cover-up by this administration, it goes beyond just providing the taxes,” Tlaib told Mnuchin at the end of her questioning. “You can consult the Department of Justice but you, personally, making decisions – not on the best part of the American people, but to cover up the occupant of the White House – I think you need to be very, very clear about what your role is and what your responsibility is to the American people.” 

Tlaib said it was a matter of transparency and the principle that “no one is above the law.” 

“So, Secretary, please seek out legal advice, personally, of what your obligations are because the Department of Justice is not protecting you, it’s protecting the president.” 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also accused the White House of a cover-up on Wednesday because of its refusal to comply with congressional requests. 

“We do believe it’s important to follow the facts, we believe that no one is above the law, including the President of the United States, and we believe that the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up,” Pelosi said after a meeting with House Democrats. 

Pelosi – who has tried to rein in congressional Democrats like Tlaib who have clamored for impeachment – said during an appearance at the Center for American Progress Ideas Conference later on Wednesday that “in plain sight” Trump “is obstructing justice and he is engaged in a cover-up and that could be an impeachable offense.” 

A planned meeting between Trump, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was canceled Wednesday after the president said he would not work with Democrats on infrastructure if they continued to investigate him. 

During a White House news conference Trump denounced the “phony investigations” and addressed Pelosi’s accusation.

“I don’t do cover-ups,” he said. 

Contributing: Eliza Collins 

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Newly-elected House Members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, left, and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), center, and Abby Finkenauer, D-IA, right, huddle from the wind and cold as they arrive to gather at the U.S. Capitol for a class photo, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Washington. Jack Gruber, USA TODAYGreg Pence, R-IN, front center right, and John Rose, R-TN, front center left, along with Jim Baird, R-IN, front right, and the other newly-elected House Members of the 116th Congress gather at the U.S. Capitol for a class photo, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Washington. Jack Gruber, USA TODAYChip Roy, R-TX, takes a photo while standing with other newly-elected House Members of the 116th Congress. Steve Watkins, R-KS, bottom left, Pete Stauber, R-MN, bottom center, and Kevin Hern, R-OK, top right, gather at the U.S. Capitol for a class photo, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Washington. Jack Gruber, USA TODAYNewly-elected House Members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, left, and Deb Haaland, D-NM, depart following a class photo outside of the U.S.Capitol, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Washington. Jack Gruber, USA TODAY

  • Newly-elected House Members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, left, and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), center, and Abby Finkenauer, D-IA, right,  huddle from the wind and cold as they arrive to gather at the U.S. Capitol for a class photo, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Washington.1 of 9
  • Greg Pence, R-IN, front center right, and John Rose, R-TN, front center left, along with Jim Baird, R-IN, front right, and the other newly-elected House Members of the 116th Congress gather at the U.S. Capitol for a class photo, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Washington.2 of 9
  • Newly-elected House Members gather at the U.S. Capitol for a class photo, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Washington.3 of 9
  • Veronica Escobar, D-TX, reaches to shake hands with Andy Levin, D-MI, as newly-elected House Members of the 116th Congress gather at the U.S. Capitol for a class photo, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Washington.4 of 9
  • Chip Roy, R-TX, takes a photo while standing with other newly-elected House Members of the 116th Congress. Steve Watkins, R-KS, bottom left, Pete Stauber, R-MN, bottom center, and Kevin Hern, R-OK, top right, gather at the U.S. Capitol for a class photo, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Washington.5 of 9
  • Overcoats and handbags are seen as freshman members of the 116th Congress pose for a group photo on Capitol Hill, Nov. 14, 2018 in Washington.6 of 9
  • Newly-elected House Members of the 116th Congress gather at the U.S. Capitol for a class photo, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Washington.7 of 9
  • Republican House member-elect Dan Crenshaw is seen after posing for the 116th Congress members-elect group photo on the East Front Plaza of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Nov. 14, 2018.8 of 9
  • Newly-elected House Members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, left, and Deb Haaland, D-NM, depart following a class photo outside of the U.S.Capitol, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Washington.9 of 9

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