US District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Amit P. Mehta ruled on Monday against Trump's lawsuit to stop a subpoena for his tax records by House Democrats.
"The court is well aware that this case involves records concerning the private and business affairs of the President of the United States. But on the question of whether to grant a stay pending appeal, the President is subject to the same legal standard as any other litigant that does not prevail," Judge Mehta wrote in his memorandum opinion, noting that Trump did not raise a "serious legal question going to the merits."
Mehta said it wasn't for the court to decide whether the committee's actions "are truly motivated by political considerations."
There are limits on Congress's investigative authority, the judge writes, but they do not substantially constrain Congress. And "it is not for the court to question whether the Committee's actions are truly motivated by political considerations." pic.twitter.com/dTCWZZpDdS— Todd Ruger (@ToddRuger) May 20, 2019
The court further noted that "the balance of equities and the public interest weigh heavily in favor of denying relief. The risk of irreparable harm does not outweigh these other factors. The court, therefore, will not stay the return date of the subpoena beyond the seven days agreed upon by the parties."
On May 10, US House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal sent subpoenas to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Internal Revenue Service (IRS)Commissioner Charles Rettig for six years of Trump's tax returns, covering the years from 2013-2018, Sputnik reported. The legal move followed Mnuchin's refusal to voluntarily surrender the documents, which he justified by saying it was politically motivated and not of any legislative value.
In order to avoid a conflict of interest between his presidency and his business holdings, Trump was expected to follow the examples of past presidents and either divest from his investments or place them into a blind trust before occupying the White House; Trump did neither, instead placing his adult children in charge of his businesses, Sputnik noted. Now, he is accused of having violated the emoluments clause of the US Constitution, which bans the profiting off of public office.
Trump is the first US president since Richard Nixon to refuse to release his tax returns.