Appeals court rules against Trump in bid to keep financial records from Congress

A federal appellate court ruled Friday that President Donald Trump's accounting firm must turn over his financial records to Congress as lawmakers continue to probe his possible conflicts of interest.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said in a 2-1 ruling that lawmakers should get the documents they have subpoenaed from Mazars USA. Trump and his attorneys have argued against releasing the records, claiming that lawmakers lack a "legitimate legislative purpose" for seeking the documents.

>> Read the full ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

"The fact that the subpoena in this case seeks information that concerns the President of the United States adds a twist, but not a surprising one," Judge David Tatel wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Patricia Millett. "Disputes between Congress and the President are a recurring plot in our national story."

Tatel was put on the appellate court by President Bill Clinton and Millett was put on the court by President Barack Obama, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

"Having considered the weighty interests at stake in this case, we conclude that the subpoena issued by the Committee to Mazars is valid and enforceable," Tatel wrote.

Trump could appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a statement released Friday, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings heralded the ruling and called for Mazars to quickly release Trump's financial records to Congress.

"Today's ruling is a fundamental and resounding victory for Congressional oversight, our Constitutional system of checks and balances and the rule of law," Cummings said. "After months of delay, it is time for the President to stop blocking Mazars from complying with the Committee's lawful subpoena. We 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."

The ruling upheld a ruling issued by a lower court in support of lawmakers' right to subpoena Trump's financial records.

Trump has been fighting off efforts by Congress to obtain his financial records since at least April, when the House Oversight and Reform Committee subpoenaed the documents from Mazars. Among other records, lawmakers sought documents from 2011 to 2018 for investigation into the president's reporting of his finances and potential conflicts of interest.

The list of subpoenaed documents did not include Trump's tax returns, which are being sought by the House Ways and Means Committee. The group sued the Trump administration earlier this year for access to the president's tax returns in a case that continues to wind its way through the courts.

In a separate case in New York, Trump sued to prevent Deutsche Bank and Capital One from complying with House subpoenas for banking and financial records. A judge ruled against him, and Trump appealed. The president is also trying in court to stop the Manhattan district attorney from obtaining his tax returns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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