January 21, 2020

Trump asks Supreme Court to shield financial records from House Democrats | TheHill

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE has asked the Supreme Court to shield his financial records from the Democratic-led House Oversight and Reform Committee, in the latest case to bring questions over separation of powers to the justices.

The case marks the second time Trump has appealed to the high court to prevent the disclosure of financial documents and sets the stage for a potentially groundbreaking ruling on the extent of congressional oversight authority and presidential power.

In their Wednesday petition to the court, filed ahead of a Thursday deadline, Trump’s personal attorneys warned the justices that a lower court ruling in favor of the Democratic lawmakers would set a dangerous precedent if allowed to stand. 

“Under the D.C. Circuit’s decision, Congress can subpoena any private records it wishes from the President on the mere assertion that it is considering legislation that might require presidents to disclose that same information,” they wrote.

The Supreme Court last month agreed to temporarily stay the House committee’s subpoena for Trump’s financial records while the court considers whether to take up his appeal. 

The case arose after Democrats subpoenaed Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, in April for years of his personal and corporate financial records. Lawmakers said the information would help to determine if updates were needed to current ethics-in-government laws.

Trump challenged the subpoena, arguing the lawmakers lacked a legitimate legislative purpose.

A federal district court judge sided with the Oversight and Reform Committee, as did the D.C. Circuit on appeal, prompting Trump’s latest petition to the Supreme Court.

In their petition, Trump’s attorneys cautioned that congressional subpoenas could be used as political weapons against a sitting president if the justices don’t overrule the D.C. Circuit’s decision. 

“Given the obvious temptation to investigate the personal affairs of political rivals, subpoenas concerning the private lives of presidents will become routine in times of divided government,” they wrote.

The case involving the House subpoena is not the only fight over Trump’s financial records before the Supreme Court. The justices are also weighing whether to take up Trump’s appeal in a separate lawsuit to prevent Manhattan prosecutors from obtaining eight years of his financial records and tax returns in a grand jury investigation.

Updated at 12:48 p.m.

Petition for Writ by M Mali on Scribd

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John Kruzel
The Hill

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