House Democrats appeal order in Trump's lawsuit over NY tax returns

House Democrats appeal order in Trump's lawsuit over NY tax returns
© Getty Images

Lawyers for the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday announced they will appeal a lower court ruling that requires the committee to give notice if they request President TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president MORE's state tax returns under a New York law.

A federal district judge in Washington last month granted this "very limited relief" to Trump, who is suing to prevent House Democrats from obtaining his tax returns from New York state officials. The judge also ordered the committee to not receive any requested state tax returns for a period of 14 days.

"In the Court’s view, this relief ensures that Mr. Trump has an opportunity to press his claims before they become moot while treading as lightly as possible on the Congressional Defendants' interests," wrote Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee.


The House Democratic defendants on Tuesday said they would appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Trump has sued the Ways and Means Committee, as well as Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealTreasury watchdog to investigate Trump opportunity zone program House poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate MORE (D-Mass.) and a committee aide, in an effort to block the committee from using a New York law to obtain his state tax returns.

Neal has not requested Trump's state tax returns and may not end up doing so. The House's lawyers have said that Neal hasn't decided whether he'd request Trump's New York returns.

Last month, after Nichols dismissed two New York officials from the lawsuit, Trump asked him to either order the Ways and Means Committee to give at least two weeks' notice before requesting Trump's state tax returns or require the New York officials to provide notice when the committee makes a request and then wait at least two weeks before fulfilling it.

The congressional defendants, however, had asked Nichols to dismiss Trump's lawsuit, arguing that Trump hasn't suffered any harm and that the House is immune from the lawsuit under the Constitution's Speech or Debate Clause. The House's lawyers said they'd be willing to notify the court if Neal requested Trump's state tax returns while the case was still pending or if Nichols dismissed the case and Neal subsequently made a request during this Congress.


In issuing his order, Nichols said that giving notice alone isn't enough to prevent Trump's lawsuit from becoming moot before it can be adjudicated, so he also ordered the Ways and Means Committee to not receive requested state tax returns for two weeks.

Nichols also said that he was unable to conclude whether the congressional defendants have immunity under the speech or debate clause because whether they have such immunity will depend on the legislative purpose behind a request for Trump's state tax returns.

The lawsuit over Trump's New York returns is one of several lawsuits over his financial information.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear three of those cases. In those lawsuits, Trump is seeking to block the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and congressional committees from obtaining his financial records from his accounting firm and his banks.

Additionally, the Ways and Means Committee is suing the Treasury Department and IRS in an effort to obtain Trump's federal tax returns from the agencies. That case is still before a district judge in Washington.

Updated at 6:30 p.m.