A Trump-appointed federal judge Monday dealt a setback to the president’s lawsuit to stop the State of New York from providing a congressional committee with his tax returns.
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington ruled President Trump cannot sue two New York officials in his jurisdiction and dismissed them as defendants.
The case is one of several ongoing legal battles between the president and House Democrats to obtain his tax records.
Mr. Trump sued New York Attorney General Letitia James and state tax officer Michael Schmidt to stop them from turning over his tax records to the House Ways and Means Committee.
Judge Nichols ruled he didn’t have the authority to decide a New York state law allowing Congress to request the president’s tax returns. He said the president could sue Ms. James and Mr. Schmidt in a New York court.
“Mr. Trump bears the burden of establishing personal jurisdiction, but his allegations do not establish that the District of Columbia’s long-arm statute is satisfied here with either defendant,” Judge Nichols wrote.
The judge is mulling whether the president can sue the committee to stop it from requesting his tax returns. So far, the Ways and Means Committee has not asked for the documents.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers argued that Washington was the proper jurisdiction to sue because that’s where New York would send the tax returns at Congress’s request.
Ms. James, meanwhile argued that a Washington federal court could not weigh in on the validity of a New York state law.
The law, called the Trust Act, was signed into law in July. It allows the chairmen of three congressional committees — Ways and Means, Senate Finance, and the Joint Committee on Taxation — to request a public official’s tax returns if other efforts have failed.
Mr. Trump also has sued the Ways and Means Committee in a preemptive effort to block any requests of Congress.
Jay Sekulow, the president’s personal attorney, said he is reviewing the opinion.
“The case against the Ways and Means Committee proceeds in federal court,” he said.
Ms. James said in a statement she was “pleased” with the court’s decision.
“We have never doubted that this law was legal, which is why we vigorously defended it from the start and will continue to do so,” she said in a statement.
David Buchwald, a New York assemblyman who sponsored the legislation, called the president’s lawsuit “frivolous.”
“The dismissal of the president’s frivolous lawsuit against the New York TRUST Act moves us closer to finding what it is he has fought so hard to hide from the public,” Mr. Buchwald said in a statement.
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