Court says Congress can get some, but not all, of the Trump documents it seeks

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Friday gave both donald trump Y House Democrats something that everyone wanted in the ongoing legal battle for access to their financial records. The court said the committee has the authority to obtain some of the records, but limited the scope of what it can search.

The failure was the last event in the continuous effort for him House Oversight Committee enforce a citation issued to Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars. He sought the documents in 2019 after Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified at a congressional hearing that Trump inflated his total assets by seeking loans, but deflated them to reduce his property taxes.

The case ended up before the Supreme Court, which rejected Trump’s argument that a president’s records were beyond the reach of Congress. But he said lower courts must be respectful of separation of powers issues by requiring documents from a president.

In Friday’s ruling, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sought to apply that guidance to the committee’s more detailed explanation of what it wanted and why.

The appeals court rejected a House claim that because Trump is no longer president, the Supreme Court’s guidance no longer applies. “The subpoena sought information from a sitting president. President Trump then presented this challenge while he was still in office,” the court said.

“If there were no limits to Congress’s ability to drown a president in onerous requests the moment he leaves office, Congress would perhaps use the threat of a post-presidential buildup to try to influence the president’s conduct.” while in office.”

But the court rejected a claim by Trump’s lawyers that the committee’s revised justification for the documents should be ignored because it was drafted after the lawsuit was initially filed. However, Friday’s ruling limited the range of documents the committee can search under what the court called the committee’s “trailing scope.”

The court said the committee, in considering whether Trump violated the Constitution’s prohibition on outside emoluments, could only consider records of payments made to him or his entities by domestic and foreign government actors while he was in office.

It also limited the deadline for documents related to the Trump International Hotel, which Trump’s company leased from the federal government, and related to its financial disclosure filings.

Agreeing with the ruling, Judge Judith Rogers said the court weighed the committee’s legitimate legislative need for information “against separation of powers concerns surrounding a congressional subpoena first issued to a now-former president during his time in office.” the position and subsequently reissued upon his departure. ”

In a statement Friday, Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., said, “While it is disappointing that the court is limiting subpoena in some respects, I am pleased that the court has upheld key parts of the Committee’s subpoena, affirmed our authority to obtain documents from Mazars, and rejected former President Trump’s spurious arguments that Congress cannot investigate his financial misconduct.”

He added that the committee is “considering the next steps in this litigation.”

Trump’s lawyers have not said whether they will appeal again.

Rogers and Judge Sri Srinivasan wrote the unanimous ruling. Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was a member of the three-judge panel when the case was argued, has since become a Supreme Court justice.

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