President Donald Trump walks outside the Oval Office at the White House Thursday as he departs for a campaign rally in Minneapolis, Minn. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court ruled Friday President Donald Trump cannot keep personal and business financial records from House investigators, who want to examine them for potential conflicts of interest and foreign payments.
The Federal Appeals Court for the Washington D.C. Circuit ruled 2-1 that a subpoena for the records, issued by the House oversight committee last spring, is "valid and enforceable."
Trump sued to block Democrats from accessing the documents from one of his accounting firms, which holds fiscal records for the president and his business entities.
"Instead of working with the president to pass bipartisan legislation that would actually benefit Americans, Democrats are singularly obsessed with finding something they can use to damage the president politically," Trump's suit said.
"Democrats are using their new control of congressional committees to investigate every aspect of President Trump's personal finances, businesses and even his family."
"Contrary to the president's arguments, the committee possesses authority under both the House Rules and the Constitution to issue the subpoena," Judge David Tatel wrote in Friday's 66-page ruling.
The court cited a lengthy history of congressional investigators subpoenaing records necessary to government investigations -- including a legal precedent established during the Watergate-era the court said "strongly implies" that U.S. commanders in chief do not have "blanket immunity" from House or Senate subpoenas.
The committee issued the subpoena in April to force accounting firm Mazars USA, which prepared financial statements for Trump and the Trump Organization for a decade. Panel Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., sought the records after former Trump attorney Michael Cohen testified that the president inflated and deflated the value of his assets for personal benefit.
The committee's intent with the subpoena is to determine whether changes are needed for government ethics laws.