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Trump appeals ruling clearing House to receive his financial records

President Donald Trump has vowed to fight all of Democrats’ demands for information and records. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s lawyers wasted no time in filing an appeal of a judge’s ruling that could lead to Congress receiving years of the president’s tax and financial records.

Trump’s attorneys on Tuesday filed a brief notice appealing Washington-based U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta’s decision Monday rejecting the president’s demand for a preliminary injunction that would block his longtime accounting firm Mazars LLP from handing over records subpoenaed by the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

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The appeal will head to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, but Trump will need urgent relief from that court since Mehta refused the president’s request for a stay. As a result, without a further order from a higher court, the accountants could be compelled to turn over the records as early as next week.

Trump’s expected stay request is likely to go to a three-judge panel. Sometimes such panels temporarily freeze the status quo while they consider whether a longer-term stay is merited.

If Trump can’t get relief from the three-judge panel, he could try asking the full bench of the D.C. Circuit or make a plea to the Supreme Court.

The series of legal steps could unfold quickly, or they could slow down if the D.C. Circuit grants a stay pending appeal and sets a briefing and argument schedule that could stretch out over weeks or months.

Mehta’s 41-page ruling found little merit in arguments from Trump’s legal team that the House Oversight subpoena was so detached from Congress’s legislative prerogatives that it should be quashed. The judge said it was not his task to second-guess legislators’ motives.

“It is not the court’s role to decipher whether Congress’s true purpose in pursuing an investigation is to aid legislation or something more sinister such as exacting political retribution,” wrote Mehta, an appointee of President Barack Obama.

Trump filed suit last month, seeking to prevent his accounting firm from complying with the subpoena, which seeks eight years of financial records.

On Monday, the president called Mehta’s decision “crazy” and highlighted that the judge is an Obama appointee. “It’s totally the wrong decision by, obviously, an Obama-appointed judge,” Trump told reporters.

Donald Trump and rally attendees

With Trump vowing to fight all of Democrats’ demands for information and records, Democratic lawmakers are hopeful that Mehta’s ruling will encourage judges handling other clashes between Congress and Trump to reach similar conclusions in favor of Congress’s power to investigate.

Shortly after Mehta ruled Monday, lawyers for the House filed a copy of his decision with a judge in New York City who is considering another Trump suit. That case is aimed at blocking House subpoenas seeking Trump’s banking records maintained by Deutsche Bank and Capital One.

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