US Congress Given Green Light To Seek Trump's Financial Records


"As the Court reads it, presidential immunity would stretch to cover every phase of criminal proceedings, including investigations, grand jury proceedings and subpoenas, indictment, prosecution, arrest, trial, conviction, and incarceration", wrote U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in his October 7 ruling.

The lone dissent in Friday's ruling came from Judge Neomi Rao, who Trump nominated to the bench this year.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, affirmed a lower court decision that the House subpoena to Mazars LLP was valid.

Rep Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the House committee that is seeking the records, called for prompt compliance. "For far too long, the president has placed his personal interests over the interests of the American people".

Perhaps anticipating future battles, Judge Rao pointed out that in the 1998 pursuit of impeachment against President Clinton, the full House had a floor vote to authorize an inquiry.

"When it comes to the president, the person and the office are one and the same", the president's lawyer, William Consovoy, argued in appeals court over the summer.

Judge Tatel and Judge Patricia Millett, an Obama appointee, said the House's regular investigative powers are strong enough to demand the most private information from the president.

The Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform subpoenaed records from Mazars in April. The U.S. Supreme Court may eventually weigh in.

"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.

In New York, Mr Trump sued to prevent Deutsche Bank and Capital One from complying with House subpoenas for banking and financial records.

While campaigning for the presidency in 2016, Trump broke with a decades-old convention of candidates releasing their tax returns publicly.

Trump is also in court trying to stop the Manhattan district attorney from obtaining his tax returns. His lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that Congress had no legitimate legislative goal for getting the materials. Trump argued that Congress's request had no legitimate legislative objective and should be rejected.

The committee, for its part, has said it is seeking the Trump financial statements, accounting records and other documents as part of its investigation into whether the president has undisclosed conflicts of interests, whether he has accurately reported his finances and whether he may have engaged in illegal conduct before and during his time in office. "Without treading onto any other potentially fertile grounds from which constitutional legislation could flower, we conclude that given the constitutionally permissible options open to Congress in the field of financial disclosure, the challenged subpoena seeks 'information about a subject on which legislation may be had'".