Federal appeals court rules against Trump in battle over tax returns

Cheryl Sanders
October 11, 2019

The three-judge appeals panel split 2-1.

President Donald Trump, under siege from House Democrats weighing impeachment, suffered a stinging blow as a federal appeals court upheld a subpoena ordering his accountants to provide Congress with his financial records. "For far too long, the president has placed his personal interests over the interests of the American people". Millett is an appointee of President Barack Obama.

"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.

"The Committee possesses authority under both the House Rules and the Constitution to issue the subpoena", the two-judge majority opinion stated.

"A congressional committee, as committees have done repeatedly over the past two centuries, issued an investigative subpoena, and the target of that subpoena, questioning the committee's legislative goal, has asked a court to invalidate it", the majority opinion states.

Tatel and Millett cite former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis's 1926 argument that the goal of separation of powers is "not to avoid friction, but, by means of the inevitable friction incident to the distribution of the governmental powers among three departments, to save the people from autocracy".

The decision marked a major victory for Democrats leading wide-ranging congressional investigations into the president's business affairs after he reneged on a campaign promise to release his tax returns.

"When the House chooses to investigate the President for alleged violations of the laws and the Constitution, it must proceed through impeachment, an exceptional and solemn exercise of judicial power established as a separate check on public officials", she wrote.

Mazars, which was recently also subpoenaed by NY state in a different attempt to obtain the president's financial records, has taken no position on the subpoena's validity, implying that it will comply with the Court's decision.

Trump could seek to challenge that decision by asking the full set of judges in the 2nd Circuit to re-hear the case.

Trump's legal team told Fox News they are "reviewing options". Trump also is in court trying to stop the Manhattan District Attorney from obtaining his tax returns.

Trump had argued that Oversight committee seeking the records from Mazars is out to get him and lacks a legitimate "legislative purpose" for its request. His lawyers have argued that congressional investigations are valid only if there is legislation that might result from them.

The committee says the House is considering legislation related to government conflicts of interest and presidential financial disclosures, among other things.

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