Appeals court rules House can subpoena Trump financial records

Clay Curtis
October 11, 2019

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said Friday that Democratic lawmakers should get the documents they have subpoenaed from Mazars USA. The firm has provided accounting services to Mr Trump.

"The Trump appointee dissented", Colombus tweeted, "giving Trump some hope that he might eke out a (ridiculous) win" if he appeals the ruling to the Supreme Court. He could appeal to the Supreme Court.

"After months of delay, it is time for the President to stop blocking Mazars from complying with the Committee's lawful subpoena", Rep Cummings said in a statement.

"The Committee possesses authority under both the House Rules and the Constitution to issue the subpoena", the two-judge majority opinion stated. The records at issue include documents from 2011 to 2018 the House wants for investigation of the president's reporting of his finances, potential conflicts of interest and whether he may have engaged in illegal conduct before and during his time in office.

Since clinching the presidency, Trump has argued that he can not disclose his returns, because he is being audited by the IRS - even though an audit does not prevent a taxpayer from releasing his or her own tax documents.

In a 2-1 ruling, the appeals court batted away Mr Trump's legal claims.

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The court's 66-page majority opinion, authored by Judges David Tatel Patricia Millett, rejects Trump's argument that House Democrats' subpoena lacks legislative objective and stresses that Congress has the constitutional authority to conduct oversight of the president.

"The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the committee, and we affirm", wrote Judge David Tatel in his judgment. Judge Patricia Millett, an Obama appointee, sided with him.

As part of the ruling by the three judge panel Friday, the jurists write: "The fact that the subpoena in this case seeks information that concerns the President of the United States adds a twist, but not a surprising one: disputes between Congress and the President are a recurring plot in our national story".

In her dissent, Rao said the court's opinion blurred the "consistent line" between Congress' legislative powers and its impeachment powers. His lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that Congress had no legitimate legislative objective for getting the materials.

The appeals court broadly supported the House's power to subpoena information about Trump as it investigates him and considers laws in response, calling the subpoena "valid and enforceable".

The president is also embroiled in lawsuits with the House Ways and Means Committee, which is trying to get six years of Trump tax records from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and has the standing right to request similar information from the state of NY. Along with possible appeals in this case, a federal appeals court in NY is weighing a similar request for records from Trump's bankers at Capital One Financial Corp. and Deutsche Bank AG. District Judge Amit Mehta upheld the subpoena in May, and the Trump administration appealed. Efforts to obtain Trump tax returns through the courts continue in various jurisdictions.

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