WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Friday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block a ruling that would require an accounting firm to hand over his financial records to a House of Representatives committee, setting up a major clash between branches of government.
Trump turned to the high court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said on Wednesday it would not revisit its October decision backing the Democratic-controlled House Oversight Committee’s authority to subpoena the records.
The Republican president’s lawyers say the subpoena to Mazars LLP was illegitimate. The ruling, if left intact, would bring Democrats closer to shedding light on Trump’s business interests and how he built his fortune.
“For the first time in our nation’s history, Congress has subpoenaed the personal records of a sitting president from before he was in office,” said Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s lawyers.
“And, for the first time in our nation’s history, a court upheld a congressional subpoena to the president for his personal papers. Those decisions are wrong and should be reversed,” he added.
Trump’s lawyers said in court papers that if the court ruling is allowed to remain intact, it would give Congress broad authority to “dig up dirt on political rivals.”
It is not clear exactly what records the committee has requested but, according to Trump’s lawyers, it did not specifically ask for Trump’s tax returns.
In a separate case, Trump on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to review a New York-based appeals court’s ruling that said local prosecutors can enforce a subpoena also issued to Mazars demanding Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns from 2011 to 2018.
The court has a 5-4 conservative majority that includes two Trump appointees: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.