United States President Donald Trump arrives to speak in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on September 28, 2020 on the government’s testing plan for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Carlos Barria | Reuters
A federal appeals court on Wednesday returned a lawsuit over President Donald Trump’s financial reports to a lower court, further delaying efforts by House Democrats to obtain years of president’s personal and business records.
In its ruling, a three-person jury from the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit overturned an earlier District Court ruling and joined a Supreme Court ruling over the summer instructing the lower courts to look more closely at the separation of powers in the case.
Two of these appellate judges were appointed by Democratic presidents and one by Trump.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee issued an eight year subpoena for Trump’s records in 2019 from accounting firm Mazars USA. The panel’s Democratic majority said it had obtained the records as part of its legislative and oversight duties and as part of ongoing investigations.
Trump’s lawyers have tried to block publication of the records, arguing that Congress was involved in a fishing expedition to politically violate him.
A US district judge and federal appeals body had previously upheld the subpoena. However, in July the Supreme Court raised concerns about the separation of powers between the legislature and the executive.
In their brief ruling on Wednesday, the appellate judges found that they “have no opinion as to whether this case will be in dispute after the subpoena has expired or whether the parties’ arguments are well founded”.
The Board of Directors announced that Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., intends to remit the subpoena to Mazars at the beginning of the next convention.
“It remains critical that the oversight committee – and the House in general – be able to ensure an immediate enforcement of the subpoena without running the risk of investigators thwarting their efforts by delays in litigation,” the attorney said of the committee to the court of appeal in early December.
A spokeswoman for the oversight committee did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request to comment on the appeals court’s ruling. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.