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Trump asks Supreme Court to take up House subpoena fight over financial records

Appeals court blocks release of Trump tax returns

President Trump has asked the Supreme Court to block the Democrat-led House Oversight and Reform Committee from receiving financial records it subpoenaed from his longtime accounting firm, Mazars.

The president's attorneys on Thursday formally appealed a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which declined to shield Mr. Trump's business records from the House panel.

The Supreme Court gave Mr. Trump's attorneys until Thursday to ask it to wade into the fight and halted disclosure of the financial records to House Democrats last week.

The case centers around a subpoena issued by the Oversight Committee in April for eight years of Mr. Trump's financial records. The request arose from testimony the panel heard in February from Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump's former attorney who is currently serving a three-year prison sentence.

Mr. Trump's attorneys sued to stop Mazars from turning over his records to the Oversight Committee, arguing the panel did not have a "legitimate legislative purpose" in demanding the  documents. But a federal district judge disagreed, and sided with the Oversight Committee.

A divided three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling, and the full appeals court declined to rehear the case.

In his filing with the Supreme Court, the president painted the case as one that could have lasting implications for future presidents if the lower court's ruling upholding the Oversight Committee's subpoena is allowed to stand.

"Given the obvious temptation to investigate the personal affairs of political rivals, subpoenas concerning the private lives of presidents will become routine in times of divided government," they said.

Mr. Trump's attorneys further characterized the dispute as one that has broken new and uncharted ground.

"This is a case of first," they told the Supreme Court. "It is the first time that Congress has subpoenaed personal records of a sitting President. It is the first time that Congress has issued a subpoena, under the guise of its legislative powers, to investigate the President for illegal conduct. And, it is the first time a court has upheld any congressional subpoena for any sitting President's records of any kind."

Mr. Trump has sought to shield his financial records from House Democrats, though his efforts to do so have been unsuccessful in the courts so far.

In addition to the ruling from the D.C. Circuit, a unanimous three-judge panel on 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New York, ruled last month Mazars must turn over Mr. Trump's tax returns to New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance. Vance is investigating hush-money payments made to two women before the 2016 presidential election who claim to have had affairs with the president.

Mr. Trump's attorneys argued he had broad presidential immunity from state investigations, though the 2nd Circuit rejected that argument, noting the request "does not extend to investigative steps." The president asked the Supreme Court to review that ruling last month.

The latest blow to Mr. Trump's efforts to stop House Democrats from gaining access to his private records came Monday, when the 2nd Circuit ruled in a separate case that Deutsche Bank and Capital One can hand over Mr. Trump's business records to the House Intelligence and Financial Services Committees.

That case is also expected to end up before the Supreme Court. Jay Sekulow, Mr. Trump's attorney, said the president's legal team is evaluating its options, including high court review.

If the Supreme Court decides to take up Mr. Trump's cases, decisions are expected by the end of June, in the heat of the presidential campaign.

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