President Donald Trump’s political landscape is darkened once again by another setback in his attempt to prevent an accounting firm from turning over his financial documents to the House. His intention has been denied for the second time by an appeals court, making it the second tax case Trump’s lawyers say they are taking to the Supreme Court.
The decision is another reversal for Trump, after federal judges have repeatedly rebuked him and have approved House efforts during his impeachment. If Trump loses again with the Supreme Court, he could deliver his tax returns or closely related financial documents into the hands of House Democrats.
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals said on Wednesday that a panel of eight judges out of 11 voted against allowing Trump to continue his appeal.
The court sent a strong signal last month when it upheld a lower court ruling that Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA must comply with a House subpoena of his tax documents and turn over eight years of accounting records.
Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow said that they will appeal the decision to Supreme Court, noting “well-reasoned dissent” from three judges.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the new ruling in a statement, “once again, the courts have resoundingly reaffirmed the Congress’s authority to conduct oversight and consider legislation on behalf of the American people.”
In a separate case, Trump is facing a Thursday deadline to request the Supreme Court to block a Manhattan grand jury subpoena for copies of his financial records and tax returns. His attorneys have previously said that they are seeking to ask the Supreme Court to to deal with the New York case.
And in yet another new filing in a third case on Wednesday night, Trump’s legal team asked a judge for a two-week buffer period if the US House asks for his tax returns through New York State. Democrats countered that they would like to write an argument this week responding to this request and have an in-person hearing before the judge makes a decision.
Curtailment of Congress subpoena power has been previously refused by courts.
The majority of the appeals court did not provide reasons why they declined to hear Trump’s appeal on Wednesday. But two judges, Greg Katsas and Neomi Rao, both Trump appointees to the federal appellate bench, disagreed with the vote.
Katsas, who served in the White House Counsel’s office before taking the bench, wrote that he wanted a larger panel of judges on the court to hear the case, which he said presents “exceptionally important questions regarding the separation of powers among Congress, the Executive Branch and the Judiciary.”
Rao, who also served in the Trump administration and also dissented from the three-judge panel’s opinion, charged that when the court allowed the subpoena to go forward it “shifted the balance of power between Congress and the President and allowed a congressional committee to circumvent the careful process of impeachment.”
Trump’s administration has shown strong resistance to the efforts to obtain the President’s tax returns. Trump has claimed that ongoing IRS audits have stopped himfrom making his tax returns public, even though audits do not prevent individuals from releasing tax returns.