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Trump and House Democrats at impasse over financial records subpoena

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Washington — Former President Trump and Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee remain at an impasse over a subpoena to Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars, for several years of his financial records, lawyers for both sides told a federal court in the District of Columbia on Wednesday. 

In a joint status report filed in the long-running legal battle, the Democrats and Mr. Trump both claimed they had made concessions in an effort to resolve the dispute, but each blamed the other for their inability to come to an agreement over the scope of the subpoena.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers told the U.S. district court that he expressed a “willingness to make a significant portion of the documents sought by the committee available to staff and/or members with reasonable terms (which they remain willing to further negotiate) that would ensure the elaborate and voluminous financial details sought by the committee would not be used for improper purposes.” 

The former president also accused the House panel of refusing to pursue a compromise and claimed House lawyers ended negotiations “as quickly as possible,” while Mr. Trump’s lawyers responded “diligently” and have offered to continue negotiations.

“Unlike in other related litigation, the committee here declined to take any step to narrow its subpoena on remand, and the committee continues to claim it needs tens of thousands of pages of documents to reconstruct a detailed financial history of plaintiffs (but no other current or former presidents) for broad legislation of dubious constitutionality,” they said.

But House Democrats said that while both sides followed instructions from Judge Amit Mehta to attempt to reach a resolution in the fight over the subpoena for Mr. Trump’s documents, their talks yielded little because the former president is “unwilling to agree to production of key categories of documents that are necessary to satisfy the committee’s legislative purposes.”

Mr. Trump, the committee argued, “prefers delay,” as it shields the records sought by Democrats from their view. While Mr. Trump’s lawyers claim they’ve made offers to produce some documents, the lawmakers said they “would amount to a nearly complete blockade of the committee’s inquiry.”

The restrictions “would make it impossible for the committee to use the information in an effective manner to craft and pass legislation,” lawyers for House Democrats told the court in the filing.

“The committee issued this subpoena more than two years ago and continues to need the subpoenaed information for its ongoing conflicts-of-interest investigation,” they said. “Plaintiffs have an interest in delay — which will continue to shield the Mazars documents from production — but the court should not allow the former president to run out the clock not only on one Congress, but on two Congresses.”

Democrats asked Mehta to decide the matter swiftly rather than attempt meditation, since “there is no discernible path to a negotiated resolution.”

The House Oversight Committee issued its subpoena for eight years of Mr. Trump’s financial records in 2019, but the former president has fought in the courts to keep his business information from the Democrats.

The Supreme Court last year sent the dispute over the subpoena back to the lower courts for further consideration after it said they failed to take adequate account of the separation-of-powers concerns about congressional subpoenas for information from the president.

That decision landed the case involving Mr. Trump and the House panel back before Mehta, who warned the two sides last week in a status conference they “could be seeing another extended period of litigation before anybody sees a single document.” Mehta urged Mr. Trump and House Democrats to work toward an agreement on the scope of the subpoena, saying a negotiated outcome would be a favorable end to the protracted dispute.



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