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Wyden, Mnuchin clash over Trump tax returns, Hunter Biden probe

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenTwo more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers On The Money: Push for student loan forgiveness puts Biden in tight spot | Trump is wild card as shutdown fears grow | Mnuchin asks Fed to return 5 billion in unspent COVID emergency funds Grassley, Wyden criticize Treasury guidance concerning PPP loans MORE (D-Ore.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, grew testy with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBiden's Treasury pick will have lengthy to-do list on taxes On The Money: Initial jobless claims rise for 2nd week | Dow dips below 30K | Mnuchin draws fire for COVID-19 relief move | Manhattan DA appeals dismissal of Manafort charges Mnuchin to put 5B in COVID-19 relief funds beyond successor's reach MORE on Wednesday during an exchange over the department's response to information requests.

Wyden criticized Mnuchin for refusing to comply with a request from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOvernight Health Care: Trump announces two moves aimed at lowering drug prices | Sturgis rally blamed for COVID-19 spread in Minnesota | Stanford faculty condemn Scott Atlas Trump announces two moves aimed at lowering drug prices IRS races to get remaining stimulus checks to low-income households MORE (D-Mass.) for President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE's tax returns, even as Treasury complies with requests for financial records from Senate GOP chairmen. Wyden said the move "looks political."

Wyden did not mention specifics of the GOP probe but appeared to be referring to the investigation from Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyColorado governor, spouse test positive for COVID-19 McConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Rep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Iowa) and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonMcConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus MORE (R-Wis.) are conducting about Hunter Biden, Burisma Holdings and Ukraine.

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In that investigation, Grassley and Johnson have sought suspicious activity reports (SARs) from Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. SARs are reports that financial institutions file about actions that might suggest criminal activity in an effort to help detect and prevent money laundering.

“It looks to me like there’s a double standard here,” Wyden said.

Mnuchin said that he hasn't provided Neal with Trump's tax returns because Treasury has "significant concerns" about the request on the advice of counsel. He said the tax return request is "very different" from requests for SARs.

“On a bipartisan basis, we have responded to thousands of SARs requests to the committees from both Republicans and Democrats,” Mnuchin said.

Wyden appeared to be unsatisfied with Mnuchin's answer, interjecting and saying, "Mr. Secretary, you are stonewalling about stonewalling."

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"That's really not fair at all," Mnuchin replied.

"Two committee chairs, one gets no response, with legal authority, that's the Democrat, the Republican gets a quick response," Wyden said.

Mnuchin said that Treasury has responded to requests from Wyden and others for "thousands of SARs."

Grassley said that his investigation with Johnson "has nothing to do with" tax returns and is proceeding methodically.