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Trump's Treasury Dept finds itself facing a new investigation

Either Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin lied about an examination of the GOP tax plan or he told the truth and hid the work.
Image: White House news conference with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Director Gary Cohn
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (R) and National Economic Director Gary Cohn (L) participate in a news conference to discuss the tax reform...

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin assured lawmakers and the public that he had dozens of officials working on creating a detailed analysis of the Republican tax plan he helped craft. The report, Mnuchin added, would be available before Congress voted.

It now appears he may have been lying, not just about the timing, but about the work itself. The New York Times reported yesterday that officials inside Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy claim to have been "largely shut out of the process" and haven't "worked on the type of detailed analysis" that Mnuchin mentioned.

That, in turn, brings Mnuchin's credibility into question, but it also creates some awkward questions about how the Department of the Treasury has handled the entire mess.

On Thursday, the Treasury's inspector general said it was opening an inquiry into the department's analysis of the tax plan. The inquiry was in response to a request from Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, who called for the inspector general to investigate political meddling in the tax policy office after The New York Times reported on the lack of a Treasury analysis."Either the Treasury Department has used extensive taxpayer funds to conduct economic analyses that it refuses to release because those analyses would contradict the Treasury secretary's claims, or Secretary Mnuchin has grossly misled the public about the extent of the Treasury Department's analysis," Ms. Warren wrote in a letter to the agency's watchdog. "I am deeply concerned about either possibility."

That's a perfectly fair point. Either Mnuchin lied about the work or he told the truth, did the work, and proceeded to hide it.

And while we wait for the inspector general's examination to move forward, let's also pause to appreciate just how many of these investigations we're seen of late.

HHS Secretary Tom Price was under investigation, and the scandal led to his resignation. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is under investigation. VA Secretary David Shulkin is under investigation.  Mnuchin's travel was also under investigation. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was investigated for violating the Hatch Act. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has been caught up in so many controversies, it’s been genuinely difficult to keep up with all of them.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, of course, has faced accusations of lying under oath about his interactions with Russian officials during the campaign.

And that’s just Donald Trump’s cabinet.

The president himself, of course, is under investigation in the Russia scandal, where he faces all kinds of allegations ranging from colluding with a foreign power to obstructing justice, with plenty of potential misdeeds in between. There are also lower-profile controversies, such as Trump’s indifference towards the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.

As of this morning, four members of Trump's team have either been criminally indicted or have already pleaded guilty to charges as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Have I mentioned the Trump's presidency isn't even a year old?