WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin did not violate the law by refusing to provide President Donald Trump's tax returns to Congress because federal law protects the confidentiality of returns, the Justice Department said in a memorandum released on Friday.

Federal statute "protecting confidentiality of tax returns prohibited the Department of the Treasury from complying with a request by the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee for the president's tax returns," a top department official said in the legal opinion provided to the Treasury Department.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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