Attorneys representing President Trump made a second appearance before a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in an attempt to prevent House Democrats from submitting the President's financial records from 2011 to 2018.
The question was whether the House Oversight and Reform Committee summons for 2019 should be enforced by Mr. Trump's accounting firm Mazars USA after the Supreme Court referred the case back to the lower courts for further litigation and review. House attorneys argued that they needed the cited documents to inform potential laws like conflict of interest and compensation laws, while President Trump's attorneys maintained a subpoena against a president's personal information.
The three-judge panel, which previously teamed up 2-1 with House Democrats to uphold the validity of the subpoena, first questioned Trump attorney Cameron Norris, who said the Democrats' justification for the subpoena has changed several times and the entire subpoena questioned.
"There have been many shifts in the statement" for issuing the subpoena, he said, ranging from comments by Michael Cohen to impeachment hearings and various legislative goals. "There is no way the committee can win with the existing record," he argued.
Judge Naomi Rao, a court-appointed Trump, asked if the committee could ever obtain a president's personal papers for any purpose, to which Norris replied, "These opportunities will be very rare." Although he warned that he would not go so far as to say that it could never happen, Norris argued that such persona disclosures must meet "stringent requirements."
And Judge Patricia Millett, an Obama-appointed person, urged Norris whether a House subpoena to the Trump Organization itself, rather than to the accounting firm Mazars, would have resulted in greater co-operation with the president. "We were quite ready to negotiate," said Norris before explaining that similar legal objections had also been raised in the case.
Douglas Letter, General Counsel for House Democrats, countered that the subpoena was focused on the House's interest in drafting laws to treat, limit or override a President's conflict of interest. To do this, lawmakers must know what conflicts of interest Mr Trump could have and what potential relationships he has with foreign governments and companies. These findings would influence future legislation, he said.
"This is a committee that is extremely responsible … there are very good reasons" to seek the information, he argued, rejecting the argument that the president was even inclined to negotiate on these matters. "They don't give us anything," said Letter.
"Why is it different?" Letter asked. "Because other Presidents … we received this information," she argued that the need for the subpoena only arose because the President refused to cooperate with the House.
It's unclear when the three-person jury will decide again, but Tuesday's challenge likely won't be the last.
The lawsuit, which is at issue on Tuesday, differs from the lawsuit in which New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has called Mazars over similar Trump financial documents as part of a grand jury investigation now open to the Supreme Court Exam stands.