WASHINGTON, Oct 11 — A US appeals court today backed a House of Representatives request for President Donald Trump’s financial records including tax documents, rejecting an appeal by the president to block his accounting firm from handing over any information.
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, affirmed a lower court decision that the House Oversight Committee subpoena for documents from Mazars LLP accountants was valid.
“The Committee possesses authority under both the House Rules and the Constitution to issue the subpoena,” the two-judge majority opinion stated.
Trump’s lawyers can still appeal the decision before it goes into effect. Will Consovoy, a personal lawyer for Trump, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The House panel has said it needed the records in part to determine if Trump — whose business interests have ranged from real estate and golf courses to a reality TV show — complied with laws requiring disclosure of his assets.
Trump had sued the House panel in April, arguing that its subpoena exceeded constitutional limits on the power of Congress to investigate.
A US District judge said in a May decision that Mazars documents might assist Congress in passing laws and performing other core functions.
It was the first time a federal court waded into the tussle about how far Congress can go in probing Trump and his business affairs, and marked an important victory for House Democrats.
Trump is separately trying to prevent New York state prosecutors from enforcing a subpoena against Mazars for eight years of his tax returns. The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is seeking the returns as part of a criminal investigation.
Trump has argued to in that case that he is immune from being investigated as a sitting president. The court is expected to hear arguments in the case on Oct. 23.
Trump is also fighting subpoenas by House committees seeking his financial records from Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp, though those records do not include his tax returns. That case is also before an appeals court in New York that has yet to rule. — Reuters