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Trump, House lawyers return to court in fight over subpoena for financial records

Trump, House lawyers return to court in fight over subpoena for financial records
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Attorneys for President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE and House Democrats grappled in court again on Tuesday over an investigative subpoena for the president's financial records following a Supreme Court ruling this summer that put the legislative investigation on hold.

The case is now before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three-judge panel is weighing how to proceed with the subpoena from the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Cameron Norris, representing Trump, told the court Tuesday that the judges should scrutinize the committee's rationale for the subpoena, which encompasses eight years of financial records from the president's accounting firm Mazars.

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"There have been a lot of shifts in the explanations given for the subpoena," Norris said. "I think the court said the committee needs to justify what it’s doing with evidence, and part of that is that evidence needs to justify the 'significant step' of involving the president."

Douglas Letter, the House's general counsel, argued Tuesday that the committee deserves to know whether Trump is compromised by financial entanglements with foreign entities.

"The Oversight Committee absolutely has authority to find out, should we look into legislation to override those policy decisions because they were made as a result of personal financial interests of the president," Letter said.

He also criticized the president's unwillingness to accommodate any investigative requests for documents in the handful of cases over subpoenas that Trump is fighting in court.

"President Trump has never been willing to produce any documents," Letter said. "This comes up every single case. We ask and we get nothing."

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The D.C. Circuit sided with the House last year, ordering Mazars to comply with the subpoena. But the Supreme Court overturned the decision, saying that the lower courts need to better balance the interests of both the legislative and executive branches when deciding a dispute over access to the president's records.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyHouse Democrats subpoena private prison operator in forced hysterectomy case Overnight Health Care: Biden team to begin getting COVID briefings | Fauci says he would 'absolutely' serve on Biden's COVID task force | Major glove factories close after thousands test positive for COVID-19 House Oversight panel asks Purdue Pharma's Sackler family to testify over opioid crisis MORE (D-N.Y.) stood by the scope of the subpoena after the Supreme Court's decision, saying its justified by a critical need to conduct oversight of potential conflicts of interest posed by the president's private businesses and to support legislative efforts at reforming ethical requirements for the executive branch.

The circuit panel, which is composed of two judges appointed by Democratic presidents and one by Trump, is now weighing how to implement the high court's guidance in the case. At least two of the judges seemed skeptical of Trump's argument that it should respond by throwing out the House subpoena entirely.

"I think the court would be stunned if we issued an opinion saying, ‘We’ve taken a look at this again and now we see that the House resolution is inadequate,’” said Judge David Tatel, who was appointed by former President Clinton.

The panel could issue a decision siding with either of the parties or choose to return the case to a lower court. In either case, it appears unlikely that the House will obtain the subpoenaed materials before next month's presidential election.