By Lawrence Hurley and Karen Freifeld
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Thursday filed court papers asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block a lower court ruling directing an accounting firm to hand over his financial records to a Democratic-led congressional panel, setting up a major clash between branches of government.
Trump turned to the justices after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided on Nov. 13 that it would not revisit its October decision backing the House of Representatives Oversight Committee’s authority to subpoena the records from Mazars LLP, Trump’s longtime accounting firm.
The Supreme Court on Nov. 25 put that ruling on hold, giving Trump until Thursday to file his appeal.
“This is a case of firsts. It is the first time that Congress has subpoenaed personal records of a sitting president,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.
The Republican president’s lawyers have called the Oversight Committee’s subpoena to Mazars illegitimate.
The lower court ruling, if left intact, would bring House Democrats closer to shedding light on the inner workings of Trump’s business interests even as they pursue an impeachment inquiry against him focusing on his dealings with Ukraine.
In a separate case, Trump has already asked the Supreme Court to review a New York-based federal appeals court’s ruling that local prosecutors can enforce a subpoena also issued to Mazars demanding Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns from 2011 to 2018. The justices are due to discuss whether to hear that case at a meeting on Dec. 13.
In a third case, the New York-based appeals court on Tuesday directed Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp to comply with different subpoenas from congressional Democrats demanding similar material.
Trump’s lawyers said in a court filing on Wednesday they would ask the Supreme Court to put a hold on that case as well. As the court already blocked the similar Mazars ruling, it would likely grant that request.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Tom Brown)