Published: Sat, November 16, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Court rules against Trump’s plea to keep financial records from Congress

Court rules against Trump’s plea to keep financial records from Congress

A USA court has ruled against President Donald Trump's appeal upholding an earlier ruling that affirmed Congress' investigative authority to seek the President's eight years of financial records.

Trump appealed a November 4 ruling by the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that prosecutors can enforce a subpoena demanding his personal and corporate tax returns from 2011 to 2018 from accounting firm Mazars LLP.

Trump, who has vowed to fight every subpoena from Congress, will likely push the fight to the Supreme Court. Sekulow said separately that Trump will file an emergency request on Friday asking the Supreme Court to block the subpoena while the justices consider whether to take up the appeal. A lawyer for the president promised to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The committee sought the records after Democrats took control of the House in the 2018 midterm election, and after it came to light that Trump had failed to list on his ethics disclosure forms a debt that he owed and then repaid to his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen.

Lawyers representing Trump had argued that Congress had no legitimate legislative authority to seek his business records because the panel seeking them, the House Oversight and Reform Committee, was primarily trying to determine whether he broke existing laws - not weighing whether to enact a new one.

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The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat, is seeking the returns as part of a criminal investigation into Trump and the Trump Organization, the president's family real estate business. The eighth was appointed by President George W. Bush, a Republican. But two judges, Greg Katsas and Neomi Rao, both Trump appointees to the federal appellate bench, wrote that they disagreed with the vote and would have heard Trump's arguments again. Two were appointed by Trump and the third by President George H.W. Bush. Congressional Democrats countered in that court filing that they'd like to write an argument this week responding to this request and have an in-person hearing before the judge makes a decision. Rao and Katsas, both former Trump administration officials, were nominated to the bench by the president.

He warned of the "threat to presidential autonomy and independence" and said it would be "open season on the President's personal records" if Congress is allowed to compel the president to disclose personal records based on the possibility that it might inform legislation.

The decision is another loss stacked against Trump, after federal judges have repeatedly rebuked him and greenlighted the House's effort as it also pursues his impeachment.

"By upholding this subpoena, the panel opinion has shifted the balance of power between Congress and the president and allowed a congressional committee to circumvent the careful process of impeachment", she said. The panel ruled 3-0 that Trump can't block the subpoena.

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