Saturday, August 24, 2019

Federal judge backs Congress’s request for Trump’s financial records

Washington, May 20 (EFE).- A US federal judge on Monday ruled in favor of a request by the House Oversight Committee to secure financial records of President Donald Trump, who had filed suit to block the move.

Judge Amit Mehta in the District of Columbia ruled that Trump cannot block the request the congressional committee submitted to Mazars USA, the accounting firm used for a decade by the president and his assorted companies.

Trump’s attorneys asserted in their suit that the request by committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, a Democratic, was “unconstitutional.”

Trump and the Trump Organization filed suit against the Cummings in April seeking to block his subpoena request for the president’s financial records, and Mehta on Monday also denied their request for a stay pending appeal.

The president and his lawyers have said that Democrats’ attempts to obtain Trump’s financial information is “all-out political war” in which “subpoenas are their weapon of choice.”

Upon learning of their plan to go after his financial records from his former accounting firm, Trump said in March that House Democrats were “obsessed” with finding something they can use to damage him politically rather than working in a bipartisan manner to pass legislation to benefit Americans.

Mehta, however, said in his ruling that “It is not for the court to question whether the Committee’s actions are truly motivated by political considerations. Accordingly, the court will enter judgment in favor of the Oversight Committee.”

“It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a President for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct – past or present – even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry,” Mehta wrote.

In remarks to reporters at the White House, Trump called the judge’s ruling “ridiculous” and said that he would appeal.

On March 20, the Oversight Committee requested that Mazars USA provide financial records and audits prepared for Trump and some of his companies, including the Trump International Hotel located in downtown Washington.

The committee also requested backup documents used to prepare reports and communications between the president and the firm.

The Washington Post reported that Mazars and an earlier firm had provided accounting services to Trump for more than a decade, creating records that the mogul used to get loans, records that contained “exaggerations” but which the company accompanied with a statement saying that the firm was not responsible for inaccuracies in the information.

“Mazars USA will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations,” Mazars USA told ABC News on Monday.
On April 8, it became known that Democrats in New York could obtain Trump’s tax records and returns via legislation sponsored by Sen. Brad Hoylman.

The bill, however, would only involve tax records related to New York state, where Trump has his private residence and where his real estate firm and other companies are based, and it would authorize the state to provide such information if requested by Congress.