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House Democrats, Vowing to Continue Investigation When Biden Is President, Urge Appellate Court to Rule on Trump Tax Returns Subpoena


Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Monday implored the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to rule on whether a congressional subpoena for President Donald Trump’s personal and business financial records can be enforced rather than punting the case back to the district court level.

A three-judge panel on the court previously upheld the subpoena, issued to Trump’s private accounting firm Mazars USA, but heard oral arguments on the matter for a second time in late October after the U.S. Supreme Court remanded the case back to the Circuit Court.

Committee General Counsel Douglas Letter said congressional investigators will continue probing Trump even after he leaves office, asserting that Trump’s legal team was only hoping to further delaying the legal proceedings.

“The Oversight Committee ‘fully intends to continue this investigation and ethics reform legislation in the next Congress,’” Letter wrote. “If this case has not been resolved before the end of this Congress, the Chairwoman will reissue the subpoena to Mazars at the start of the next Congress. It remains critically important that the Oversight Committee—and the House more broadly—be able to secure prompt subpoena enforcement without the risk that investigative subjects will thwart its efforts through litigation delay.”

A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit last week unanimously ruled that under the high court’s order, a subpoena for Trump’s financials issued by the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees to Deutsche Bank had to be remanded back to the district court for further proceedings. The court reasoned that it was up to the district court to determine “whether the subpoenas comply with the standards announced by the Supreme Court.”

Trump’s attorneys then asked the D.C. Circuit to take the same step and send the Mazars case back to the lower court.

House Democrats argued that, unlike in the Deutsche Bank case, the controversy before the D.C. Circuit was ripe for a decision on the merits.

“Unlike Deutsche Bank, this case is fully briefed and was argued two months ago,” Letter wrote. “Moreover, the Oversight Committee’s subpoena in this case has not changed since this Court first upheld it. This case presents pure questions of law that are ready for decision and that this Court is well situated to resolve.”

The Mazars case is before U.S. Circuit Judges David Tatel, an appointee of Bill Clinton, Patricia Millet, an appointee of Barack Obama, and Neomi Rao, an appointee of President Trump.

If remanded, the case will once again be argued before another Obama appointee, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta. In May, Mehta ruled in favor of House Democrats, holding that “courts must presume Congress is acting in furtherance of its constitutional responsibility to legislate and must defer to congressional judgments about what Congress needs to carry out that purpose.”

See below for the letter from House Democrats:

House Letter to DC Circuit Court by Law&Crime on Scribd

[image via BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI_AFP via Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.