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 accusation.
"I don't do cover-ups," he said.
Contributing: Eliza Collins
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rashida Tlaib advises Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to lawyer up for role in 'cover up'