WASHINGTON — Justice Department officials told a federal judge Tuesday that a recent appeals court ruling upholding Congress’ power to seek eight years of President Donald Trump’s business records from his accounting firm should have no bearing on their request to throw out a separate House lawsuit seeking Trump’s tax returns from the IRS.


In a 2-to-1 ruling Oct. 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the House Oversight Committee’s subpoena to Mazars USA for Trump’s records as a valid exercise of Congress’ investigative and lawmaking powers.


But in another of several legal battles over access to the president’s financial data, U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden of the District of Columbia invited the government to update its earlier, massive, 500-plus page filing seeking to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the House Ways and Means Committee to enforce its subpoena for six years of Trump’s tax and audit records from the Treasury Department.


In Tuesday’s 10-page brief, Justice Department attorneys wrote that the Mazars opinion should have no impact on McFadden’s reasoning because, they argued, the appeals court focused on the merits of whether the House’s subpoena to a private firm was legitimate and because the lawsuit was initially brought by Trump and several of his businesses as private parties challenging Congress’ powers.


In the pending case, Justice lawyers argued, the roles of Congress and the White House are reversed: The House is the one asking a federal court to take its side against the executive branch and faces greater legal barriers to showing that its subpoena for Trump’s tax returns does not violate the Constitution’s separation of powers.




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