Lawyers for President Donald J. Trump argued in new court documents on Wednesday that a House committee request for a six-year Trump tax return should be blocked, describing the effort as politically motivated and illegitimate.
In the 37-page filing, Trump’s legal team took the argument that the Trump-era Justice Department had filed in an attempt to block congressional requests, but the Biden-era Justice Department left last week when it said the Treasury Department was legally obligated to provide lawmakers with the documents.
Mr. legal team. Trump wrote that the request for the former president’s tax return is “unlawful and unenforceable because it lacks a legitimate legislative purpose, exceeds the authority of the law, violates the First Amendment, violates due process, and/or violates the separation of powers. ”
The lawsuit, which dates back to the period when Trump was president, is officially a case between the House Ways and Means Committee and the Treasury. But with the executive branch now having dropped its refusal to comply with the request, Trump’s legal team, as the intervening party, requested an injunction blocking the move.
The submission is expected; one of Mr Trump’s lawyers said on Monday that he would fight an acquittal to return to Congress.
The filing argues that even though Trump is no longer the incumbent president, the case should still be evaluated as if he had been in office since it occurred during that period. Many of the restatement filings have been made by Democrats since the 2016 campaign, when Trump violated presidential candidate norms for disclosing their tax returns. Democrats have repeatedly suggested that he should hide something politically damaging.
During the Trump administration, the Justice Department cited such statements to make the argument that the stated purpose for the committee’s request — that Congress was considering legislative reform regarding disclosing the president’s tax returns — was a pretext for what was actually an illegitimate purpose.
However, last week, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, now headed by Dawn Johnsen, a Biden appointee, said that the executive branch should accept the committee’s stated objectives of why they are seeking returns, and that the law allows it to obtain them.
“Even if some members of Congress hope to see information from the former president’s tax returns disclosed on public records simply ‘for the sake of disclosure,’” he wrote, “it will not invalidate the legitimate purpose that the committee receiving the information in question may serve.”
But Mr. Trump asked the judge overseeing the lawsuit, Trevor N. McFadden of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, to rule otherwise. Mr Trump appointed Mr McFadden in 2017.
The ongoing legal battle means that Congress won’t be accepting Trump’s tax returns anytime soon; committee or legal team Mr. Trump can appeal the adverse ruling to the Supreme Court. Even if Congress finally gets them, that doesn’t mean they will be announced soon or not at all.