Thursday, May 23, 2019

Multiple rulings against Trump on release of his financial records

The New York Times reports on three Trump losses in as many days in federal and state rulings permitting or mandating the release of his financial records.

Accounting firm must turn over Trump financial records

This last Monday Trump’s legal battle against House subpoenas for his financial records lost reports the NY Times in Trump’s Secrecy Fight Escalates as Judge Rules for Congress in Early Test.

In the first court test of Mr. Trump’s vow to resist “all” subpoenas by House Democrats, a judge ruled that his accounting firm, Mazars USA, must turn over his financial records to Congress — rejecting his lawyers’ argument that lawmakers had no legitimate power to demand the files.

Democrats have said they need the records because they are examining whether ethics and disclosure laws need to be strengthened. In a 41-page ruling, Judge Amit P. Mehta of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, an appointee of President Barack Obama, said that justification was sufficient to make the subpoena valid.

“These are facially valid legislative purposes, and it is not for the court to question whether the committee’s actions are truly motivated by political considerations,” he wrote. “Accordingly, the court will enter judgment in favor of the Oversight Committee.”

[Trump’s lawyer] Mr. Consovoy had asked Judge Mehta, were he to rule against Mr. Trump, to stay his ruling until an appeals court completed its review. But the judge declined.

While Mr. Consovoy is now likely to ask an appeals court to stay the ruling anyway, Judge Mehta called the Trump arguments too thin to raise a “serious legal question” and said that delaying the subpoena further would unjustifiably interfere with the constitutional powers of Congress.

“The court is well aware that this case involves records concerning the private and business affairs of the president of the United States,” he wrote. “But on the question of whether to grant a stay pending appeal, the president is subject to the same legal standard as any other litigant that does not prevail.”

Deutsche Bank can release Trump records

In the second instance on Wedneday, we learn that Deutsche Bank Can Release Trump Records to Congress, Judge Rules.

A federal judge on Wednesday rejected President Trump’s request to block his longtime lender, Deutsche Bank, from complying with congressional subpoenas.

Judge Edgardo Ramos of United States District Court in Manhattan issued his ruling after hearing arguments from lawyers for Mr. Trump and his family, as well as two Democratic-controlled congressional committees. “I will not enjoin enforcement of the subpoenas,” Mr. Ramos said, and added that he thought it was unlikely Mr. Trump and his family would win in a trial.

NY legislature OKs release of Trump’s NY state tax returns

Hit #3: New York Passes Bill Giving Congress a Way to Get Trump’s State Tax Returns.

Tax officials would be authorized to hand over his state returns to any one of three congressional committees, opening a new front in a heated battle.

The bill, which is expected to be signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat and regular critic of Mr. Trump’s policies and behavior, will authorize state tax officials to release the president’s state returns to any one of three congressional committees.

The returns — filed in New York, the president’s home state and business headquarters — would likely contain much of the same information as the contested federal returns, though it remained unclear whether those congressional committees would use such new power in their investigations.

How sweet it is - maybe

Here is more on the Monday decision. Trump’s financial records appeal will go to court … Merrick Garland’s court reports Joan McCarter of the Daily Kos Staff.

On Monday, a federal judge ruled that the House has every legal right within its constitutional powers to review 10 years of Donald Trump’s financial records. U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta also declined to stay that decision pending Trump’s appeal because he doesn’t think they have a case that could prevail on appeal.

That appeal is coming, says Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s personal attorneys. He told Politico “We will be filing a timely notice of appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.” Here’s where it gets fun. The chief judge of that court is none other than Merrick Garland.

You remember Garland, the eminently qualified and totally noncontroversial judge whose nomination to the Supreme Court was blockaded by Republicans, most refusing to even have a courtesy meeting him, just because he was nominated by President Barack Obama to fill the seat vacated when Justice Antonin Scalia died. Yeah, that Merrick Garland.

Stay tuned for this. Judges are assigned randomly so Garland may not be part of the decision on the Sekulow appeal.

The three judges to hear the appeal will be randomly assigned, so Garland might not hear the appeal, not unless their decision ends up being reviewed by the full court. But chances are those three judges will have some thoughts about the situation, having witnessed one of their own fall victim to the hyper-partisan destruction of norms and traditions that pretty much brought Trump to the White House.

UPDATE: [On Tuesday] “Trump’s lawyers have just formally submitted their appeal of Judge Amit Mehta’s ruling that requires his accounting firm turn over his personal financial records to the House.”

Caveat

I share your pain, a symptom being eyes glazed over by volumes of legalese (e.g., the appeal linked in the update above). But be advised: nothing is as simple as in the three items posted here so buckle up. It will get worse when more subpoenas and appeals hit the air waves.

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