Trump Faces Skeptical Court in Fight to Keep Records from House

October 21, 2020by David Yaffe-Bellany, Bloomberg News
United States President Donald J. Trump returns to the White House in Washington, D.C. after participating in political events and fundraising on his re-election campaign on Oct. 19, 2020. (Chris Kleponis/Pool/CNP/DPA/Abaca Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON – Two of three judges on a Washington appeals court appeared skeptical of President Donald Trump’s renewed efforts to prevent accounting firm Mazars USA LLP from turning over his financial records to House Democrats.

At a hearing Tuesday before the U.S. Court of Appeals, two judges appointed by Democratic presidents seemed to dispute claims by Trump lawyers that the House subpoena failed to meet new standards outlined in May by the Supreme Court, including that the request for records advances a valid legislative purpose.

U.S. Circuit Judge Patricia Millett, who was appointed by Barack Obama, said U.S. lawmakers need Trump’s records as they pursue possible legislation on issues like financial disclosures by public officials or presidential self-dealing in government contracts.

“They can’t shoot in the dark,” Millett said during the hearing. “They really need to understand the nature of this precise problem because overshooting could have its own constitutional consequences.”

U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel, who was appointed by Bill Clinton, took issue with another of Trump’s claims _ that the case should return to a lower court before the appeals panel takes it up again. “There’s nothing in the Supreme Court decision that suggests we need a different record to decide this case,” Tatel said.

The judges didn’t indicate when they’d rule. The hearing was the latest chapter in a long-running legal fight. The appeals panel authorized the House subpoena in October 2019, arguing that the Democrats had legal authority to demand Trump’s financial records.

But in May, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the House could not compel the release of those records, at least for the time being. The case was sent back to the appeals court to assess whether the Democrats should narrow the scope of the information sought under the new standards devised by the Supreme Court, including that the subpoena should be “no broader than reasonably necessary.”

The third judge on the appeals panel is Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee who has ruled in favor of the president in a series of high-profile cases. She dissented in the panel’s previous ruling authorizing the subpoena.

At the hearing, Rao appeared skeptical of the House’s argument that obtaining the president’s financial information was crucial to its legislative duties.

“You could pass such legislation without knowing the details of any particular problems you might be suspicious of,” she said.

In August, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a lengthy memo to committee members arguing that the original subpoena satisfied the requirements laid out by the Supreme Court.

Much of the hearing on Tuesday focused on whether the appeals court could consider that memo in making a determination about the subpoena, or whether the case should return to the district court first.

Trump’s lawyer, Cameron Norris, said the judges shouldn’t consider the memo because it was drafted more than a year after the House issued the subpoena.

The lawyer for the House Democrats, Douglas Letter, argued that an earlier memo by a different Democratic congressman showed that the subpoena met the Supreme Court’s new standards. But he insisted that the Maloney memo could also factor into the court’s thinking.

___

(c)2020 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Political News

Capitol Police Step Up Security Ahead of Inauguration
Law Enforcement
Capitol Police Step Up Security Ahead of Inauguration
January 15, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Capitol Police have significantly ratcheted up security throughout the Capitol Complex ahead of next week's presidential inaugural ceremony. Measures include installing unscalable eight-foot tall fencing and the closing of several area roads. The department is also coordinating protection and response capabilities with... Read More

What They're Saying About the Attack on the U.S. Capitol
Political News
What They're Saying About the Attack on the U.S. Capitol
January 7, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Capitol is once again secure, though remnants of the mayhem that transpired Wednesday afternoon and evening remain. Much of the trash left behind by marauding protestors had been swept into piles by Thursday morning, though shards of glass still lay at the... Read More

US Vaccine Train Won't be Derailed, Warp Speed Leader Says
Health
US Vaccine Train Won't be Derailed, Warp Speed Leader Says

Efforts to speedily develop and distribute a coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. won't be derailed by a change in administration, said the head of Operation Warp Speed, the federal government's program aimed at accelerating a COVID-19 jab. "All decisions are made, the train is running. Whether one administration... Read More

Joe Biden Accepts Democratic Nomination Promising ‘We’ll Find The Light Once More’
2020 Elections
Joe Biden Accepts Democratic Nomination Promising ‘We’ll Find The Light Once More’

MILWAUKEE — Joe Biden made his case Thursday for a major course correction in America as he accepted the Democratic presidential nomination, forcefully indicting the Trump administration as he laid out a vision to reunify the nation and restore competence and decency to the White House.... Read More

Trump Scorns Supreme Court on Tax Rulings While His Records Stay Private
Supreme Court
Trump Scorns Supreme Court on Tax Rulings While His Records Stay Private

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump scored a tactical victory from the Supreme Court that will likely keep his personal financial records out of public view through the November election, but he framed Thursday’s two rulings as a loss imposed by his enemies. The president was rebuffed... Read More

COVID-19 Meets the 2020 Election: The Perfect Storm for Misinformation
Social Media
COVID-19 Meets the 2020 Election: The Perfect Storm for Misinformation

SEATTLE — When a mysterious virus began racing around the globe early this year, scientists at the University of Washington’s newly created Center for an Informed Public described it as the perfect storm for bogus information, both innocent and malicious. So what’s the situation six months... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top