Judge leaning toward order that would keep Trump’s tax returns with NY for now

A federal judge in the District of Columbia said Wednesday that he’s leaning toward issuing an order under which New York wouldn’t provide President Trump’s state tax returns to House Democrats while the state argues certain motions.

“That is my current thinking,” Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, said during a teleconference with lawyers for New York officials, Trump and the House Ways and Means Committee — the parties in a lawsuit Trump filed last week.

{mosads}Nichols said Wednesday that he is contemplating issuing an order that would allow the New York officials to argue that the federal court in D.C. doesn’t have jurisdiction over them and that the D.C. court is the wrong venue for the lawsuit.

The New York officials wouldn’t provide the Ways and Means Committee with any requested Trump state tax returns until one week after Nichols ruled on New York’s motions, and the court would be notified if the Ways and Means Committee requested Trump’s New York returns while the state officials are arguing their motions.

Nichols added that under his contemplated order, if the New York officials are dismissed from the case, Trump would be free to seek additional relief.

Nichols’s contemplated order resembles a proposal that the New York officials outlined in a court filing on Tuesday.

At a hearing on Monday, Nichols directed the parties in the lawsuit to see if they could reach an agreement to prevent the lawsuit from becoming moot before it’s litigated. The parties in the lawsuit said Tuesday that they couldn’t reach an agreement, and they each laid out their own positions about how the case should proceed.

Nichols said that it appeared that Trump’s lawyer, William Consovoy, is okay with an order along the lines of what he suggested. 

House general counsel Douglas Letter said that the House wouldn’t voluntarily commit to providing the court with notice of a request for Trump’s state tax returns, but that the House would abide by any order the judge issued.

Trump last week filed a lawsuit against the Ways and Means Committee, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) and New York tax official Michael Schmidt, challenging a new New York law that allows the chairs of Congress’s tax committees to request public officials’ state tax returns from the New York Department of Taxation and Finance.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) has not yet decided whether he will request Trump’s New York returns.

This week’s court proceedings stem from Trump having filed an emergency motion asking the court to bar the Ways and Means Committee from requesting his state tax returns until his case can be heard in court. The committee objected to this motion, saying that its decision about whether to request Trump’s state returns is protected from litigation under the Constitution.

Tags Donald Trump New York Richard Neal trump tax returns

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