Appeals court says House can get Trump’s taxes from IRS

The 3-0 decision from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals is a blow to Trump, who for years argued in court against disclosing his tax returns to investigators. A trial judge he appointed while he was president previously rejected his arguments in the case.

The appeals court said the warrant in the case would be issued seven days after any appeal by Trump to the circuit court is resolved. Trump can also appeal the case directly to the Supreme Court.

This litigation is separate from the House Select Committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6 riot.

The majority opinion, written by Circuit Judge David Sentelle, said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal’s request for documents was within his committee’s investigation, and the court also dismissed the request. Trump’s argument that the request had a retaliatory motive, rendering it invalid.

“While Congress may attempt to threaten the incumbent president with an invasive demand after he leaves office, every president takes office knowing that he will be subject to the same laws as all other citizens when he will leave office. This is a feature of our democratic republic, not a bug,” Sentelle’s opinion said.

Neal requested the returns under a law that allows disclosure of an individual’s tax returns to the committee – a request the Trump administration had denied.

The appeals court said Tuesday that Trump did not prevail in his argument that, as a former president, his records should not be turned over.

“In this case, the Trump parties’ need for information to inform potential legislation outweighs the executive branch’s burden largely because that burden is so tenuous,” Sentelle, a Reagan appointee, wrote in the opinion.

Judge Karen Henderson, a George HW Bush appointee, and Robert Wilkins, an Obama appointee, also endorsed the ruling, though Henderson wrote that she thinks there should be further consideration of a request such as this which would have implications for the presidency.

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Neal welcomed the court’s decision in a statement Tuesday.

“With great patience, we went through the legal process, and again our position was upheld by the courts,” Neal said. “I am pleased that this long-awaited notice makes it clear that the law is on our side. When we receive the feedback, we will begin our oversight of the IRS’ Mandatory Presidential Audit Program.”

The case stems from the lawsuit Neal filed in 2019 seeking a court order requiring the IRS, then under the Trump administration, to turn over Trump’s tax returns.

The litigation proceeded at a slow pace that lasted longer than Trump’s presidency, and in July last year the Justice Department signaled that it was changing its position in the case in favor of the committee getting feedback. Trump-appointed District Judge Trevor McFadden acceded to departmental and House requests last December to dismiss the case, prompting Trump to appeal to the DC Circuit.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misrepresented the time Trump has to appeal the decision.

CNN’s Daniella Diaz contributed to this report.

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