Trump Doubles Down at High Court on Tax-Return Subpoena

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (CN) – On the heels of separate appellate defeats to shield his tax returns, President Donald Trump brought his second Supreme Court petition in less than a month Thursday.

Trump’s petition comes several weeks after the Supreme Court temporarily blocked a ruling from the D.C. Circuit upholding the subpoena on his longtime accountants at Mazars USA.

That hold is only in place as long as it takes the justices to consider whether it will grant Trump a petition for certiorari, a move that would lead to oral arguments and a full opinion on the merits.

Trump has already asked the court to hear a challenge to a similar subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney. The justices are scheduled to consider that case at a closed-door conference next week.

Thursday’s petition, filed on the last day of the deadline, strikes a similar tone to the November one related to New York, casting the subpoena as an unprecedented attempt to investigate the president.

While the brief in the New York case argues Trump is immune from criminal prosecution, the filing about Washington says the House subpoena is illegitimate because it does not serve a legitimate legislative purpose and because the Oversight Committee does not have explicit authority to subpoena the president.

“The Constitution — not Congress — created the Office of the President,” the petition states. “Congress, accordingly, cannot require the president to disclose his finances or otherwise expand or alter the office’s qualifications.”

While the Supreme Court takes up only a fraction of the cases it is asked to hear, Trump’s attorneys argued in their filing that this case should be an exception because it presents serious separation-of-powers questions that the justices have not yet had the opportunity to answer.

“This unprecedented subpoena should have been invalidated and the D.C. Circuit’s decision upholding it was mistaken,” the brief states.

The House Oversight Committee issued the subpoena in April, seeking eight years of financial records related to Trump and his businesses as it investigated former Michael Cohen’s testimony that Trump lied on financial statements, including those filed in his efforts to get a loan to buy the Buffalo Bills.  

Trump brought a federal complaint challenging the subpoena in Washington, D.C., shortly after the committee issued it. The court found the subpoena valid, and a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit agreed in October. The full appellate court declined to rehear the case, putting the fight before the high court.

The subpoena has not yet gone into effect, as the courts have granted a series of temporary stays while the case winds through the various stages of litigation. 

A spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee did not immediately comment on the filing when reached by email on Thursday afternoon.  

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