Thursday, 17 October, 2019

US Congress given green light to seek Trump financial records

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Patty Aguilar | 11 October, 2019, 20:40

President Donald Trump, under siege from House Democrats weighing impeachment, suffered a stinging blow as a federal appeals court upheld a subpoena ordering his accountants to provide Congress with his financial records.

The US court of appeals for the District of Columbia circuit said lawmakers should get the documents they have subpoenaed from Mazars USA, which has provided accounting services to Donald Trump.

Trump's legal team issued an emergency appeal of the decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case dates back to April, when the House Oversight and Committee subpoenaed the president's accounting firm. They include documents from 2011 to 2018 that the House wants for investigation into the president's reporting of his finances and potential conflicts of interest.

The three-judge appeals panel split 2-1.

Tatel was appointed by President Bill Clinton.

This report contains material from The Associated Press and Reuters.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at the Target Center, in Minneapolis, on October 10, 2019.

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"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'".

The high court could refuse to hear the case.

In dissent, Rao wrote that the committee should have asked for the records under the House's impeachment power, not its legislative authority.

The president is also embroiled in lawsuits with the House Ways and Means Committee, which is trying to get six years of Trump tax records from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and has the standing right to request similar information from the state of NY.

A federal judge in Manhattan had denied Trump's effort to block the subpoena.

Commenting on Twitter on possible outcomes from Friday's ruling in the Mazars case, the Republican consultant and never-Trumper Rick Wilson counselled caution.

Vance's office had been probing alleged payments made to pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels, who has claimed to have received money in exchange for her silence during the 2016 election after allegedly having an affair with Trump.

But the ruling is likely to boost Democrats' hopes as they prepare to battle the president on a slew of subpoenas and demands for witnesses to testify in the impeachment inquiry. Along with possible appeals in this case, a federal appeals court in NY is weighing a similar request for records from Trump's bankers at Capital One Financial Corp. and Deutsche Bank AG.

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