Trump forced to hand over financial records to Congress after three-year legal battle

Agreement with House Oversight Committee could end ex-president’s legal battle to shield documents exposing his ‘egregious conduct’, chair announces

Alex Woodward
New York
Thursday 01 September 2022 15:14 BST
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Donald Trump and his accounting firm have reached an agreement with the House Oversight Committee for lawmakers to receive key financial records as part of a long-running probe into his disclosures and conflicts of interest.

“After numerous court victories, I am pleased that my Committee has now reached an agreement to obtain key financial documents that former President Trump fought for years to hide from Congress,” committee chair Carolyn Maloney announced on Thursday (1 September).

The agreement follows a 2019 subpoena for financial records to his accounting firm Mazars USA, which will help the committee “get to the bottom of former President Trump’s egregious conduct and ensure that future presidents do not abuse their position of power for personal gain,” according to congresswoman Maloney.

Under the agreement announced on Thursday, Mr Trump has agreed not to challenge an appeals court ruling from July that granted the committee access to documents under the scope of the subpoena, holding that the former president’s financial records would “advance the committee’s consideration of ethics reform legislation” – including proposed rules related to disclosing conflicts of interests and establishing safeguards against foreign interference.

The notice from Mr Trump’s legal team filed on 30 August does not disclose terms of the agreement, only that attorneys have reached a deal with the committee. The agreement also does not affect a separate congressional probe between Mr Trump and the House Ways and Means Committee, which is seeking tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service. Mr Trump has fought that case, too, though a federal appeals court said earlier this month that he must hand them over.

A probe from the House Oversight Committee followed testimony from Mr Trump’s former counsel Michael Cohen, who provided several financial statements to the committee raising questions about Mr Trump’s debts, disclosures and alleged hush-money payments during his 2016 presidential campaign.

In March 2019, the committee sent a letter to Mazars seeking records related to the allegations raised in testimony, and a subpoena was issued the following month, triggering a three-year legal battle between lawmakers and Mr Trump’s attorneys.

News of the agreement comes as the former president is embroiled in several congressional probes as well as the US Department of Justice investigation into his alleged mishandling of classified White House documents, potential exposure of national intelligence and “likely” obstruction, according to federal prosecutors.

A separate House select committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol, fuelled in part by the former president’s ongoing and baseless narrative that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him, will resume public hearings this month.

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