Well before the 5 pm EDT deadline, White House officials had made clear that the President would not force the IRS to comply with the request from Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee.
"The President is pretty clear - once he's out of audit, he'll think about doing it," said White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley during an appearance on Fox News, as Gidley denounced the Democratic push for Mr. Trump's tax returns as 'ridiculous tactics.'
"Everyone knows he's a very successful billionaire," Gidley added.
Earlier this month, Secretary Mnuchin said more time was needed to evaluate the request, without specifically rejecting the demand for the President's tax information under Section 6103(f) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Democrats argued there was no issue about what should be done.
"They do not have a choice," said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who said the language under §6103(f) is clear.
"The President is not above the law, and the law is clear that once requested his returns must be furnished," Beyer said.
But the contention by the President and White House officials that Mr. Trump cannot release his tax returns until an audit is completed was knocked down multiple times by the IRS Commissioner in recent testimony before Congress.
At this point, it seems the only route for this dispute is in the courts over the following section on the tax code:
"Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request, except that any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished to such committee only when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure," §6103(f) states.