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Trump lawyers want heads up if Dems intend to request NY state tax returns

The Hill logo The Hill 11/14/2019 Naomi Jagoda
Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Trump lawyers want heads up if Dems intend to request NY state tax returns © UPI Photo Trump lawyers want heads up if Dems intend to request NY state tax returns

President Trump is asking a federal judge to require that he be notified if House Democrats intend to obtain his New York state tax returns.

In a court document filed late Wednesday, Trump's lawyers asked Judge Carl Nichols to grant one of two proposed options for relief.

The first option would be for Nichols to issue an order requiring Democrats to notify the president and the court at least 14 days before House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) makes a request for his state tax returns. The second option would be for Nichols to issue an order requiring New York officials to notify Trump and the court if a request is made and to wait at least 14 days before complying with it.

The request comes after Nichols, a federal district court judge in D.C. appointed by Trump, dismissed two New York officials from the lawsuit the president filed in an effort to block Democrats from obtaining his state tax returns. Nichols ruled that the federal court in D.C. doesn't have jurisdiction over the New York officials. The case is still pending against the congressional defendants in the lawsuit, which include the Ways and Means Committee and Neal.

When Trump filed his lawsuit in July, he also filed an emergency application for relief. Nichols then ordered the New York officials not to provide any requested Trump tax returns to the committee until one week after he ruled on the officials' motion to dismiss over lack of jurisdiction. That order expires on Nov. 18, prompting Trump to ask Nichols to grant him emergency relief by that date.

Trump's lawyers went into more detail about why they want emergency relief in a filing on Tuesday, arguing that they want to prevent the case from becoming moot before it can be heard in court.

The House's lawyers told Nichols in Wednesday's court document that they wanted an opportunity to respond in writing to the document Trump's lawyers filed Tuesday. They also asked that Nichols hold a hearing before granting any relief against them.

Trump's lawyers said that they don't think it's necessary to have a hearing before Monday.

Nichols on Thursday sided with the House's lawyers on the hearing request. He issued an order providing that the congressional defendants have until Friday at 10 a.m. to respond to Trump's filing, and scheduled the hearing for Monday at 2 p.m.

New York enacted a law in July that allows the chairmen of Congress's tax committees to request public officials' state tax returns from the state's department of taxation and finance.

Neal has not requested any of Trump's state tax returns, and the House's lawyers said in October that Neal's committee hasn't yet decided whether or not it will do so.

The congressional defendants have filed their own motion to dismiss, arguing that they haven't harmed Trump and that they are immune from the lawsuit under the Constitution's speech or debate clause.

Updated Thursday at 9:06 a.m.

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