WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s lawyers and the Justice Department will return to court Tuesday to try to stop House Democrats from enforcing their subpoena for the president’s tax and financial records.

The Supreme Court this summer said the president is not immune from congressional investigation, but the justices put the subpoena on hold. The case is now back before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for a more detailed review of Congress’s request to access Trump’s personal financial records held by his longtime accounting firm.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform is seeking eight years of the president’s information that lawmakers say they need to amend financial disclosure and conflict-of-interest laws. House lawyers urged the court to “end the delay” and allow Congress to carry out its investigative duties.

Trump is the “first President in modern history to refuse to fully disclose or divest from his business holdings upon assuming the Presidency. His ongoing financial interests create the risk that his decision-making as President may be influenced by private financial considerations,” Douglas Letter, general counsel for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told the court ahead of Tuesday’s oral argument.

Trump’s lawyers want the court to invalidate the subpoena, and they questioned lawmakers’ intentions. The committee’s “professed interest” in revamping financial disclosure laws “cannot justify the ‘significant step’ of subpoenaing the president’s papers,” according to the president’s team, represented in court by lawyer Cameron Norris.

Justice Department attorneys said the sweeping request amounted to a “dragnet” and noted that the committee already has obtained an enormous amount of information about the president’s finances without a subpoena.

Trump avoided paying taxes for years, largely because his business empire reported losing more money than it made, report says

The legal battle over the president’s records held by Mazars USA is one of several clashes over access to Trump’s personal business information. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is separately seeking the same records as part of his investigation into alleged hush-money payments made before the 2016 election to two women who said they had affairs with Trump, who has denied their claims.

Trump, unlike every president since Jimmy Carter, has not voluntarily turned over his tax returns.

Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in July, the New York Times has published a series of stories about the president’s taxes and debt based on tax return records it has obtained.

The three-judge panel reviewing the case for a second time Tuesday previously sided with Congress in a 2-1 decision. Judge David Tatel, nominated by President Bill Clinton, and Judge Patricia Millett, nominated by President Barack Obama, were in the majority. Judge Neomi Rao, nominated by Trump, dissented.

In sending the case back to the appeals court for additional review, the Supreme Court said that subpoenas directed at the president must meet a higher bar and can be “no broader than reasonably necessary” to serve Congress’s purpose.

After the high court’s ruling, House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., issued a lengthy memo expanding on Congress’s justification for the subpoena and why lawmakers believe it satisfies the Supreme Court’s new standard.

House lawyers described Trump’s finances as complex and opaque, and said in court filings that the president’s “unwillingness to disclose important financial information voluntarily” has “exposed vulnerabilities in current law intended to protect against Presidential conflicts of interest.”

In response, Trump’s lawyers urged the court not to consider the new committee memo as part of its review. The president’s lawyers warned that enforcing the subpoena would allow Congress to access “virtually any private records from any president,” including medical records and school transcripts, and thus would discourage people from running for public office.


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