WASHINGTON (CN) – Fighting protests over the president’s 2016 financial disclosures, a lawyer for the Justice Department used just five minutes of his allotted time Friday to request that the D.C. Circuit affirm dismissal of the case.
Donald Trump disclosed $300 million in debts when he made the May 2016 disclosure, but lawyer Jeffrey Lovitky argued in a federal complaint last year that Trump’s commingling of personal and business obligations allowed him to mask the degree to which such debts implicated him personally.
Lovitky appealed to the D.C. Circuit after his suit was dismissed, making the case this morning that Trump had a ministerial duty to make “full and complete disclosure.”
Denying this argument, however, Justice Department Michael Glover insisted that the cornerstone statute makes no requirement for specific labeling of liabilities. Glover said there must be a “clear, mandatory duty” for Lovitky to seek mandamus relief.
At the hearing today, the court’s three-judge panel showed little inclination Friday to hand Lovitky a reversal.
U.S. Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith told Lovitky that the “duty” he alleges must be crystal clear for them to grant a writ of mandamus that would compel Trump to disclose his liabilities again.
U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel echoed this, saying that this clarity “makes an enormous difference.”
Lovitky countered that President Trump is uniquely situated to provide relief as “a duty owed to the people of the United States of America.”