D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Rules House Committee Can Obtain Trump’s Tax Records From The IRS

The legal actions against the “Orange Mafia” Don keep coming fast and furious. CNN reports, Appeals court says House can obtain Trump’s taxes from the IRS:

A federal appeals court on Tuesday signed off on a House Ways and Means Committee request to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service.

The unanimous 3-0 ruling from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals is a blow to Trump, who has argued for years in court against releasing his tax returns to any investigators. A trial-level judge he appointed while president previously rejected his arguments in the case.

But Trump still could appeal, making the litigation unlikely to end at this time. The court said the judgment would not issued for seven days, giving Trump time to appeal [to the U.S. Supreme Court (likely) or to request an en banc hearing before the full D.C. Circuit (not likely).]

I would point out that the U.S. Suprme Court has previously ruled against Trump in discovery disputes with Congress on several occasions. Under the law, and the well-reasoned decsion of the court, he should lose again. Really, the U.S. Supreme Court should simply deny his application for certiorari and allow the Court of Appeals decision to stand. It’s not worth their time.

The majority opinion, written by Circuit Judge David Sentelle, said that Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal’s request for the records was within the scope of his committee’s inquiry, and the court also rejected Trump’s argument claiming that the request had a retaliatory motive, making it invalid.

Neal has requested the returns under a law that allows disclosure of an individual’s tax returns to the committee — a request that the Trump administration had rebuffed.

The appeals court on Tuesday said that Trump did not prevail in his argument that as a former President his records should not be turned over.

“In this case, the need for the Trump Parties’ information to inform potential legislation overrides the burden to the Executive Branch largely because that burden is so tenuous,” Sentelle, a Reagan appointee, wrote in the opinion.

This is almost word for word how the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in another discovery dispute with Congress. That’s intentional.

Judge Karen Henderson, a George H.W. Bush appointee and Robert Wilkins, an Obama appointee, also agreed with the decision, though Henderson wrote that she believed there should be more scrutiny on a request like this that would have implications for the presidency.

Neal praised the court’s ruling in a statement Tuesday.

“With great patience, we followed the judicial process, and yet again, our position has been affirmed by the Courts,” Neal said. “I’m pleased that this long-anticipated opinion makes clear the law is on our side. When we receive the returns, we will begin our oversight of the IRS’s mandatory presidential audit program.”

The case stems lawsuit Neal filed in in 2019 seeking a court order compelling the IRS, then under the Trump administration, to turn over Trump’s tax returns.

The litigation moved at a slow pace that outlasted Trump’s presidency, and in July of last year, the Justice Department signaled it was switching positions in the case in favor of the committee obtaining the returns. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, last December granted requests from the department and the House to dismiss the case, prompting Trump’s appeal to the DC Circuit.

Earlier, NBC News reported, Trump real estate appraiser hands over thousands of documents to N.Y. AG in civil probe:

A commercial real estate firm held in contempt of court for failing to hand over records on its appraisals of several Trump Organization properties to New York’s attorney general has turned over nearly 36,000 documents, court filings show.

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron had found Cushman & Wakefield in contempt last month for not producing documents in state Attorney General Letitia James’ civil probe into the Trump Organization’s business practices and ordered the firm to pay a $10,000-a-day fine until it complied.

In a letter to the judge late Friday, James’ office said it has now “received Cushman’s production, which amounts to about 35,867 documents since entry of this Court’s contempt order.” The letter said the attorney general’s office was joining with Cushman in asking the judge to “dissolve the Contempt Order and hold any contempt purged, without any fines due or owing.”

James’ office is considering whether to file a civil suit against former President Donald Trump and his company over their business practices and has said in court filings that it has “uncovered substantial evidence establishing numerous misrepresentations in Mr. Trump’s financial statements provided to banks, insurers, and the Internal Revenue Service.”

In court filings, the attorney general’s office said it also discovered “serious problems” with some of Cushman’s appraisals for the Trump Organization over the years, including 40 Wall Street, his Seven Springs property in New York, and his Los Angeles golf club.

James subpoenaed the company last September and again in February, court documents show. The judge said the real estate firm had “partially responded” to the subpoenas in March before it refused to provide the remaining records.

A spokesperson for the real estate company said in a statement last month that the company had gone to “extreme lengths” to comply with the judge’s order.

“We have gone to great expense and effort to quickly identify, collect, review and produce the massive set of documents requested by the OAG, and we have now produced over hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and over 650 appraisals since the last subpoena was issued in February 2022,” the spokesperson said then.

The same judge also found Donald Trump in civil contempt of court earlier this year for failing to comply with a subpoena from the attorney general’s office. Engoron lifted the contempt finding in June after Trump complied with the terms of the subpoena and paid $110,000 in fines.

Last week, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. testified in the New York civil probe:

Former President Donald Trump’s two eldest children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, have testified in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil tax fraud probe into the Trump Organization, two sources close to the investigation told NBC News on Thursday.

Trump Jr., executive vice president of the company, testified in the case last week and Ivanka, a former executive, testified Wednesday, the sources said. Neither of them pleaded the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination.

The civil probe stems from allegations that Trump and the Trump Organization inflated financial statements.

A New York appeals court in May denied an attempt by the Trump family to block subpoenas for their testimony. A panel of judges in the Appellate Division, the second-highest court in the state, sided with James’ office, rejecting Trump’s bid to escape a deposition in the probe.

Donald Trump is expected to speak to investigators in the coming weeks, one source said.

James’ office has said in court filings that its investigation “uncovered substantial evidence establishing numerous misrepresentations in Mr. Trump’s financial statements provided to banks, insurers, and the Internal Revenue Service.”

These statements were inflated by hundreds of millions of dollars and signed off on by the former president, James alleged.

The walls are closing in on Donald Trump’s empire of fraud and grifting.