Wednesday 13 November 2019

Calls to dismiss Trump's lawsuit aiming to keep tax records private

President Donald Trump. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

Spencer Hsu

The US House of Representatives has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by President Donald Trump which seeks to prevent them from requesting his New York State tax returns, arguing no US court has ever barred Congress from even considering an action before it has decided to act.

The US House of Representatives has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by President Donald Trump which seeks to prevent them from requesting his New York State tax returns, arguing no US court has ever barred Congress from even considering an action before it has decided to act.

The filing came in Washington after Mr Trump sued as a private citizen to stop the House Ways and Means Committee using a recently enacted New York law to obtain his state tax records.

While Mr Trump's lawyers acknowledged the committee has not yet requested the records, they argue that if the president waited until they moved, his returns might be disclosed before his claim could be heard in court.

New York State officials have also asked District Judge Carl Nichols of Washington to dismiss or move the case to New York, saying Mr Trump's lawsuit involves a state law and actions by state officials, none of which occurred in Washington. The court has ordered New York not to respond to any request while that motion is pending.

In a 40-page filing, House counsel Douglas Letter said Mr Trump's case should be dismissed on legal and constitutional grounds, saying the president has no basis to sue because Ways and Means Committee chairman Richard Neal has not made any request to New York under the law, and the committee has not decided whether to do so.

"At present, Mr Trump does not and cannot allege that he is suffering harm," Mr Letter wrote, and while New York is bound by the court's orders, "by Mr Trump's own admission, any future committee request by itself also would not injure him".

At the same time, Mr Letter argued, the constitution's "speech or debate" clause absolutely bars the executive branch from interfering in Senate or House members' deliberations, whatever their content or motivations, while lawmakers perform their official duties.

Mr Trump called the pursuit of his private financial information an attempt at political gain, and accused New York lawmakers of violating his First Amendment rights by trying to discriminate and retaliate against him "for his speech and politics".

New York lawmakers presented the new law as a way of empowering congressional oversight. (© Washington Post)

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News