A U.S. judge declined on Thursday to fast-track a congressional suit seeking to force exposure of President Donald Trump’s federal tax returns, saying it was a complicated and essential matter that shouldn’t be rushed.
U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden in Washington said in a written order that under U.S. legislation, there was “solely a narrow set of lawsuits that must skip to the front of the road,” and that the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee had not proven its case was one among them.
In an Aug. 20 filing, the Democratic-led House Ways and Means commission said that “time is of the essence” in solving the case it brought in July seeking to force the Treasury Department to show years of the Republican president’s individual and enterprise federal tax returns.
In the filing, attorneys for the committee said the current Congress would end on Jan. 3, 2021, and that an immediate resolution of problems in the case was required to give the panel sufficient time to analyze Trump’s tax returns and pass any law in response.
Justice Division attorneys, in coordination with Trump’s legal professionals, had recommended a staged strategy to hear arguments in the case that drew questions from the House panel’s legal staff.
The panel registered the case after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin resisted congressional warrants seeking the returns, despite a federal law that says the division “shall provide” such data on request.
The Justice Department said in a legal advisory view in June that the panel lacked a “legitimate legislative purpose” in seeking Trump’s tax records, and that Mnuchin, therefore, didn’t violate the law by refusing to furnish them.