A district judge announced Tuesday that he would not rule on a House Ways and Means lawsuit to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns, saying that he wants to wait for an appeals court decision related to congressional subpoenas before he renders his decision.
U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden in Washington, in a bulletin, wrote that “this case is hereby stayed pending a decision” by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on whether former White House lawyer Don McGahn should testify to Congress as part of the impeachment effort against the president. The Trump-appointed judge’s announcement came after he had a phone conference with lawyers in the case, and his notice about the call in the bulletin didn’t provide further details.
In July, the Ways and Means Committee filed a lawsuit to order the Department of Treasury and IRS to comply with its subpoenas for six years of Trump’s tax returns. The committee wrote that it filed the lawsuit “to seek relief” from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s and IRS chief Charles Rettig’s “refusal to produce tax return information concerning President Donald J. Trump in response to the committee’s valid oversight requests.”
“The Committee’s need for the materials requested here is evident. The committee is investigating the IRS’s administration of various tax laws and policies relating to Presidential tax returns and tax law compliance by President Trump, including whether the IRS’s self-imposed policy of annually auditing the returns of sitting presidents is working properly, even though it has not been updated in decades,” the suit said.
The Justice Department also said in a legal advisory opinion in June that the committee lacked a “legitimate legislative purpose” in trying to obtain Trump’s tax returns. It added that Mnuchin didn’t violate the law by refusing to hand them over to the Democratic-controlled House committee, Reuters reported.
The Ways and Means Committee’s lawsuit isn’t the only attempt to obtain Trump’s financial records.
In early December, U.S. District Court Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson rejected the Justice Department’s motion to place a stay on her opinion regarding McGahn to appear before the House Judiciary Committee.
“This Court has no doubt that further delay of the Judiciary Committee’s enforcement of its valid subpoena causes grave harm to both the Committee’s investigation and the interests of the public more broadly,” Jackson, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, wrote at the time.
In November, President Trump appealed to the Supreme Court to keep his tax returns from New York prosecutors. Trump appealed to reverse a lower court order that required his accountants, Mazars USA, to turn over eight years of his tax records.
“We have filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn the Second Circuit decision regarding a subpoena issued by the New York County District Attorney,” Jay Sekulow, Trump’s lawyer, said in a statement at the time, according to ABC News. “The Second Circuit decision is wrong and should be reversed. In our petition, we assert that the subpoena violates the U.S. Constitution and therefore is unenforceable.”