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Trump Asks Justices to Halt Release of Financial Records

Gearing up for a final showdown with House Democrats, President Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Friday to block a court order to release his personal financial records to Congress.

WASHINGTON (CN) – After years of court battles there may finally be an end in sight to the long winding legal fight to uncloak Trump’s assets. But not before the president -- who appealed to the Supreme Court for the second day in a row Friday to block a subpoena for access to his personal and business financial records -- gears up for a final showdown with House Democrats.

Trump’s private lawyer Jay Sekulow filed an application with Chief Justice John Roberts, asking the George W. Bush appointee to place a hold on the D.C. Circuit decision that the House Oversight and Reform Committee can legally investigate the president.

Sekulow argued lower court rulings in the lawsuit asking to enforce the congressional subpoena served on Trump’s longtime New York accounting firm Mazars USA were historically unprecedented.

“Those decisions are wrong and should be reversed.  The one thing the district court, the panel and the dissenting judges all agree upon is that this case raises important separation-of-powers issues,” Sekulow said in a statement issued Friday.

In a 2-1 decision, the appellate court had concluded that the president as the focal point of the litigation “adds a twist, but not a surprising one.”

U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel, writing for the majority, said: “Disputes between Congress and the president are a recurring plot in our national story. And that is precisely what the Framers intended.”

Trump’s team of private attorneys has climbed up the D.C. courts with appeals claiming he is protected by presidential immunity. On Thursday, they similarly requested the high court block a grand jury subpoena on Mazars for access to eight years of the president's records, including tax returns.

The House subpoena at issue in Friday’s appeal seeks the same records, as part of an investigation into alleged hush-money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Back in July, another one of Trump’s personal attorneys, William Consovoy, argued that “when it comes to the president, the office and the person are one and the same.” But he failed to convince the D.C. Circuit.

“Why is the Department of Justice not here participating to protect the office of the president if that’s the primary basis of your argument?” asked U.S. Circuit Judge Patricia Millet, a Barack Obama appointee.

The House argued the subpoena will unlock a window to Trump’s multifold assets, informing lawmakers in the House as they pass various new bills on ethics and financial disclosure.

Congressman Elijah Cummings, who died last month of complications from longstanding health problems, called the appeals court verdict now in limbo a “resounding victory” for lawmakers.

The former House Oversight Committee chair said in a statement that lawmakers “must fulfill our stated legislative and oversight objectives and permit the American people to obtain answers about some of the deeply troubling questions regarding the President’s adherence to Constitutional and statutory requirements to avoid conflicts of interest.”

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