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National
Appeals court rules against Trump in bid to keep financial records from Congress
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Appeals court rules against Trump in bid to keep financial records from Congress

Appeals court rules against President Trump in bid to keep financial records from Congress

Appeals court rules against Trump in bid to keep financial records from Congress

A federal appellate court ruled Friday that President Donald Trump's accounting firm must turn over his financial records to Congress as lawmakers continue to probe his possible conflicts of interest.

>> Read more trending news 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said in a 2-1 ruling that lawmakers should get the documents they have subpoenaed from Mazars USA. Trump and his attorneys have argued against releasing the records, claiming that lawmakers lack a "legitimate legislative purpose" for seeking the documents.

>> Read the full ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

"The fact that the subpoena in this case seeks information that concerns the President of the United States adds a twist, but not a surprising one," Judge David Tatel wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Patricia Millett. "Disputes between Congress and the President are a recurring plot in our national story."

Tatel was put on the appellate court by President Bill Clinton and Millett was put on the court by President Barack Obama, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

"Having considered the weighty interests at stake in this case, we conclude that the subpoena issued by the Committee to Mazars is valid and enforceable," Tatel wrote.

Trump could appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a statement released Friday, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings heralded the ruling and called for Mazars to quickly release Trump's financial records to Congress.

"Today's ruling is a fundamental and resounding victory for Congressional oversight, our Constitutional system of checks and balances and the rule of law," Cummings said. "After months of delay, it is time for the President to stop blocking Mazars from complying with the Committee's lawful subpoena. We must fulfill our stated legislative and oversight objectives and permit the American people to obtain answers about some of the deeply troubling questions regarding the President's adherence to Constitutional and statutory requirements to avoid conflicts of interest."

The ruling upheld a ruling issued by a lower court in support of lawmakers' right to subpoena Trump's financial records.

Trump has been fighting off efforts by Congress to obtain his financial records since at least April, when the House Oversight and Reform Committee subpoenaed the documents from Mazars. Among other records, lawmakers sought documents from 2011 to 2018 for investigation into the president's reporting of his finances and potential conflicts of interest.

The list of subpoenaed documents did not include Trump's tax returns, which are being sought by the House Ways and Means Committee. The group sued the Trump administration earlier this year for access to the president's tax returns in a case that continues to wind its way through the courts.

In a separate case in New York, Trump sued to prevent Deutsche Bank and Capital One from complying with House subpoenas for banking and financial records. A judge ruled against him, and Trump appealed. The president is also trying in court to stop the Manhattan district attorney from obtaining his tax returns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • President Donald Trump is expecting a busy 2020, so he checked into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday for portions of his annual physical, the White House press secretary said Saturday. >> Read more trending news Here are the latest updates: Update 12:56 a.m. EST Nov. 17: Trump took to Twitter early Sunday, just hours after his visit to Walter Reed Medical Center. 'Visited a great family of a young man under major surgery at the amazing Walter Reed Medical Center,' he tweeted shortly after midnight. 'Those are truly some of the best doctors anywhere in the world. Also began phase one of my yearly physical. Everything very good (great!). Will complete next year.' According to The Associated Press, the two-hour appointment did not appear on the president's public schedule like his previous annual physicals.  Original story: 'Anticipating a very busy 2020, the President is taking advantage of a free weekend here in Washington, D.C., to begin portions of his routine annual physical exam at Walter Reed,' Stephanie Grisham, White House press secretary, said in a statement, CNN reported. Trump’s last physical was in February at Walter Reed. He weighed 243 pounds with a body mass index of 29.9, and 30 is considered obese, USA Today reported. He also had increased his use of a statin that helps control his cholesterol. 'I am happy to announce the president of the United States is in very good health and I anticipate he will remain so for the duration of his presidency, and beyond,' Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s physician, wrote at the time.  The visit Saturday is different than the president’s previous physicals. The last two physicals were announced beforehand and noted on the president’s calendar. Trump usually takes the Marine One helicopter to Walter Reed, but this time, a motorcade dropped him off unannounced, CNN reported. 
  • A 15-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy died Thursday morning after a classmate opened fire on students at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, injuring three other students before he attempted to take his own life, sheriff's deputies said. >> Read more trending news  Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies responded to reports of the shooting just after 7:30 a.m. local time. Authorities found six people suffering gunshot wounds in the school's quad. Deputies said the injured included the suspected shooter. The shooter later died Friday afternoon at a hospital with his mother present, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Update 12:21 p.m. EST Nov. 16: Police continue to investigate what Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow's motive might have been when the 16-year-old opened fire at a Los Angeles-area high school Thursday, shooting five students, KTLA reported. Berhow, who turned 16 Thursday, died at 3:30 p.m. Friday of a self-inflicted wound, the television station reported. Berhow did not appear to be linked to a terrorist group and had shown no previous signs of violence, authorities said at a news conference. Capt. Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said more than 40 interviews had been conducted and Berhow's home was searched, The Associated Press reported. “We did not find any manifesto, any diary that spelled it out, any suicide note or any writings,” Wegener said. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told The Washington Post that the gunman appeared to be taking random shots at Saugus High School but appeared “very familiar with firing the weapon” and did not commit a “spur-of-the-moment act.' Update 7:50 p.m. EST Nov. 15: Police say 16-year-old boy who shot five students at his Los Angeles-area high school has died. People who knew the boy described him as a quiet, smart kid who they’d never expect to turn violent. Update 7:30 p.m. EST Nov. 15: Authorities have identified the second student killed in a shooting by a fellow student at a Southern California high school. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office says 14-year-old Dominic Blackwell died Thursday along with 15-year-old Gracie Muehlberger. Two teenage girls remain hospitalized but are expected to be released over the weekend. A third student was treated and released. Update 3:20 p.m. EST Nov. 15: Los Angeles County coroner's officials on Friday identified one of the two teenagers slain Thursday after a student opened fire on classmates at Saugus High School as Gracie Anne Muehlberger, 15, according to The Los Angeles Times. The newspaper reported she celebrated her 15th birthday on Oct. 10. A 14-year-old boy killed in the shooting was not immediately identified, according to KCBS-TV. Update 6:37 a.m. EST Nov. 15: The suspect has been identified by two separate law enforcement sources as Nathaniel Berhow, CNN and the Los Angeles Times reported. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has not confirmed his identity due to his age, CNN reported. Neighbors described Berhow as a good student and typical teenager who was affected by the death of his father in 2017, CNN reported. Neighbors said Berhow found his father dead after had a heart attack, KTTV reported. His mother and father had divorced in 2016, CNN reported. There is no motive for the attack, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office.  Members of the community gathered near the campus Thursday night to remember the victims, KNBC reported. The Associated Press reported the gunman shot whoever was near him and that there was no known connection to the victims. Update 3:10 p.m. EST Nov. 14: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Capt. Kent Wegener identified the gunman as a 16-year-old student who opened fire on his classmates on his birthday. Wegener said video from the scene showed the teenager, who was not identified by name, taking a gun out of his backpack in the quad at Saugus High School on Thursday morning. He shot five of his classmates before turning the gun on himself. Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters Thursday that the suspect shot himself in the head. He was among six people transported to the hospital after the shooting. Two students died in Thursday's shooting, a girl and a boy. Authorities did not identify the victims by name. Update 2:30 p.m. EST Nov. 14: Authorities in Los Angeles County are holding a news conference Thursday to update the public on Thursday morning's deadly shooting at Saugus High School. Update 1:05 p.m EST Nov. 14: Officials with Henry Mayo Hospital confirmed a female died after being taken to the hospital following a shooting at Saugus High School. It was not immediately clear whether the victim was a student. Hospital officials said three other male victims were taken to the hospital with injuries after shooting. Two of the victims were listed in critical condition while the third was listed in good condition. Update 12:50 p.m. EST Nov. 14: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said a suspect was in custody after Thursday morning's shooting at Saugus High School. Authorities were expected to provide more details at a news conference scheduled Thursday morning. Update 12:35 p.m. EST Nov. 14: Officials at Henry Mayo Hospital confirmed they had received four patients after a gunman opened fire Thursday at Saugus High School. Hospital officials said the victims included three males and one female. All the victims, aside from one male in good condition, were listed in critical condition in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Update 12:30 p.m. EST Nov. 14: Parent Brian Skiba told KCBS-TV that his daughter ran into a classroom when she heard shots fired Thursday morning at Saugus High School. 'She heard the shots ... she in the quad, where it started, and ran into the band room,' Skiba told the news station. '(She) locked the door behind her and told everybody to get down.' Skiba told KCBS-TV a police officer was in the band room with about 50 students Thursday. 'I'm still pretty shook up,' Skiba said. Update 12:10 p.m. EST Nov. 14: Sheriff's deputies told KNBC-TV that they were surrounding two locations Thursday morning in Santa Clarita, including a home believed to be the suspect's residence. KTLA reported authorities believe the gunman was a student at Saugus High School. Officials asked residents in the area to stay inside and keep their doors locked as they continued to investigate Thursday. Update 12 p.m. EST Nov. 14: White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said President Donald Trump was monitoring reports of Thursday morning's shooting in Santa Clarita. 'The White House encourages all those in the area to follow the advice of local law enforcement and first responders,' Deere said. Update 11:50 a.m. EST Nov. 14: Officials with Henry Mayo Hospital in Valencia said two people were taken to the hospital in critical condition after Thursday morning's shooting at Saugus High School. Hospital officials said three other victims were en route to the hospital Thursday morning. Their conditions were not immediately known. Update 11:45 a.m. EST Nov. 14: Deputies asked residents in the area of Saugus High School to lock their doors and shelter in place as they continue to search for a shooter who opened fire Thursday morning at the school. Update 11:30 a.m. EST Nov. 14: Authorities revised down the number of people injured in Thursday morning's shooting from seven to three, according to KNBC-TV. Sheriff's deputies warned the incident was active and ongoing Thursday morning. Original report: Deputies said nearby schools were placed under lockdown as authorities investigated. Officials with the Los Angeles County Fire Department told KNBC that at least seven people were shot. Their conditions were not immediately known. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • A Philadelphia 14-year-old has been charged with murder in the death of a well-known animal rescuer who was found tied to his bed, naked, and bludgeoned to death last week. The girl is also charged with robbery, possession of an instrument of crime, obstruction and tampering with evidence in the killing of Albert 'Al' Chernoff, according to Philadelphia court records. Her name is being withheld due to her age and the uncertainty of her status as a defendant. Jane Roh, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, told CNN on Monday that prosecutors had not yet decided whether the girl would be tried as an adult. CBS Philadelphia reported last week that investigators were also looking into whether the girl was a victim of a crime. Her connection to Chernoff and her reason for being at his home were not clear, but the CBS affiliate reported the day after Chernoff was found dead that detectives believed he may have been the victim of an escort who tied him up, robbed him and killed him. Court records show the teen is being held without bail at the Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center. >> Read more trending news  Chernoff, who went by the nickname 'Alley Cat,' was found dead around 3 a.m. Nov. 5 in his home in the Rhawnhurst neighborhood of northeast Philadelphia, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was suffering from a massive head injury and multiple slashes to his chest, the newspaper reported. The 59-year-old previously appeared on the NatGeoTV reality show 'Rescue Ink,' which profiled tattooed bikers working against animal abuse. Police were called to Chernoff's home by a concerned neighbor who requested a welfare check, the newspaper said. Chernoff, who authorities believe was attacked around 10:30 p.m. Nov. 4, was pronounced dead at the scene. Tony Branconi, Chernoff's neighbor in the duplex where he lived and died, told the Daily Mail he called police because he 'heard a racket.' 'I have heard such noises before, but this was in the middle of the night,' Branconi, 70, told the publication. 'It was like he was building something.' He said he went outside and saw Chernoff's car parked in an unusual spot on the driveway. When he looked inside, he saw the vehicle had been ransacked. ‘A very brutal murder' Acting Philadelphia Police Commissioner Christine Coulter said last week that the case is an 'extremely troubling' one. 'It was a very brutal murder,' Coulter said, according to video shot by Fox29 in Philadelphia. Sources told ABC6 that Chernoff was killed with a nail-studded two-by-four, though Coulter declined to identify the weapon used in the crime. 'We're not going to release details about the crime scene itself until we have the evidence that we need,' she said. The commissioner said it was hard to grasp anyone committing such a grisly crime, but that it was even harder to imagine a child being involved. 'But then you have to look to why did this happen, and, you know, that's what the investigators are going to attempt to find out,' Coulter said. Philadelphia detectives trying to identify Chernoff's killer released surveillance footage Nov. 6 from inside the Army veteran's house. The footage showed the suspect, wearing red sweatpants, a black jacket and a pink top, walking through the living room of the home and into the kitchen, where she washed her hands and looked in the fridge and freezer before leaving. Some of Chernoff's 11 cats can be seen in the footage as his suspected killer walks though his living room. Listen to Coulter speak about the crime and see footage from inside Chernoff's home below. Witnesses also reported seeing a young woman leaving Chernoff's house shortly before his body was found, the Inquirer reported. The 14-year-old girl, accompanied by her mother and two defense attorneys, turned herself in to police Nov. 8 after family members saw the footage, CNN reported. Coulter told Fox29 that the girl's family brought her in 'because she was clearly the person on the video.' Once the girl was in custody, police officials removed the footage from their website. On Twitter, at least one person wondered if the footage was removed because the girl was a possible sex trafficking victim. 'Everybody talking about how good of a man Al Chernoff was,' another man tweeted. 'I just want to know why a 14-year-old alleged prostitute was in his home. I'm sorry, but if he was having sex with her, he got exactly what he deserved.' Howard Taylor, one of the girl's lawyers, told CNN the situation was a sad one. 'Troubled girl. There's a reason police aren't saying much,' Taylor told the network. 'There's a lot more to it.' When a reporter asked if the girl was a victim of some kind, Taylor said he 'wouldn't put it to that extent.' He said Chernoff 'wasn't totally innocent, either,' CNN reported. Coulter described Chernoff as a 'guy who went to work every day, well liked by his neighbors and co-workers.' She said Chernoff, who was a building maintenance supervisor at the Philadelphia International Airport, did not appear to have a criminal record. ‘A fierce and tireless advocate' Animal welfare activists in Philadelphia were stunned by Chernoff's death. 'If you help animals in Philadelphia, you've met Al,' Blake Martin of Philadelphia's Animal Care and Control Team told ABC6. 'He is a wild veteran who loves motorcycles and will talk your ear off about his motorcycles and cats.' Chernoff, who was known for building shelters for feral strays in the city, also founded a one-man rescue group, Alley Cat Animal Rescue. 'His generosity was incredible,' Martin said. 'You don't see a lot of that anymore, especially towards the animal community. 'It's been a tough day.' The Facebook page of 'The Cat Rescuers,' a documentary about cat rescue in New York City, described Chernoff as 'one of many amazing rescuers' filmmakers met during filming. The crew met Chernoff during a workshop on 'trap-neuter-return,' a method of managing the stray and feral cat population that Chernoff was known to use. 'He wasn't one of the main four we were following, but we were so taken by his warmth and affability when we encountered him at a (trap-neuter-return) workshop that we just knew we had to put him in our film,' the post read. A brief clip from the documentary shows Chernoff showing off his many cat tattoos. He tells the camera that he had a cat as a child. 'I just was always into cats,' Chernoff says. 'Cats and Harleys and tattoos. That's what I'm into.' Chernoff's Facebook page is filled with photos of his cats, 11 of them, along with photos of his building projects. Motorcycles and military memorabilia are also heavily featured on his page. Last month, he posted a wedding photo of his parents, along with his Army basic training photo, writing that he had just stumbled upon the pictures. Chernoff was not married and had no immediate family left, according to Philadelphia's Jewish Exponent. 'We tried the best we could to keep him family-oriented because he had no parents, he had no siblings and he had no children,' Chernoff's cousin, Beverly Levin, told the Exponent. 'He was with us for Rosh Hashanah just last month. We kept him as close as we could because he was alone in the world.' Since his death, friends in the animal rescue community and beyond have mourned Chernoff on social media. They have also contributed more than $18,000 to a GoFundMe page set up by Levin's son, David Levin, to pay for Chernoff's funeral and provide for more cats to be rescued. 'Al's kids were his cats,' David Levin wrote on the fundraising page. A private donor, along with Chernoff's veteran benefits, have taken care of the cost of his funeral and memorial service, which is scheduled for Nov. 24 in Southampton. All the funds raised by the GoFundMe campaign will be distributed to multiple animal rescues, David Levin wrote in an update. Chernoff's 11 cats, along with three turtles and two frogs, were rescued from his home following his death. Friend and fellow rescuer Gwen Cooper wrote that she was “shocked and saddened beyond the telling of it” to learn of Chernoff’s death. 'Al was a fierce and tireless advocate for rescue cats -- one of the staunchest protectors of cats I've ever known -- and I was honored and privileged to count him among my personal friends in rescue for many years,' Cooper wrote. 'My heart goes out to the people and felines who knew and loved him best.' She said she was certain the 'veritable army of cats' he saved over the years were there to greet him on the 'rainbow bridge' when he died. Chernoff was also active in the Jewish war veterans' community, the Exponent reported. 'He went out of his way many a time for people who suffered what used to be called shell shock and what is now called PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder),' M.B. Kanis, commander of the Jewish War Veterans Drizin-Weiss Post 215, told the publication. 'He recognized PTSD and knew that people with service animals could become more calm and relaxed and more focused. In the Philadelphia area, I know of at least three service veterans who he helped hands-on (with service animals).' Emily Petry, who described Chernoff as the 'best cat daddy ever,' said he was one of the kindest people she'd ever known. 'Nobody who ever knew you would have ever done you any harm,' Petry wrote. Ashley Foresta, a fellow animal rescuer in Philadelphia, told the Daily Mail she could not imagine why the 14-year-old suspect was in Chernoff's house. Foresta speculated that perhaps Chernoff had hired the girl to clean his home, but Branconi told the Mail he had never seen the girl at the duplex before. 'I just can't imagine for one minute that Al was the type of person who would have had an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old girl -- but at the same time I can't think of anyone ever having a reason to kill him,' Foresta said. 'To be honest, maybe part of me doesn't want to know the whole truth,' she said. Chernoff's family and friends weren't the only ones puzzled by his slaying. Coulter said last week that detectives were still piecing together what happened and why. 'Who it is, is identified, but the why and the rationale behind it is what the investigators are now working on,' Coulter told reporters. 'These things take time to get right. 'I know that everybody would like to have everything answered, and so would we, but we want to make sure that we do it in a way that the judicial process plays out fairly and everybody involved gets justice.
  • Police said a 9-year-old boy brought a BB gun to an elementary school in California on Thursday and shot three of his classmates, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news  The victims were not seriously injured and required no medical attention, Pasadena police spokesman Lt. Bill Grisafe told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Authorities responded around 8:45 a.m. to a report of the shooting at Washington Elementary STEM Magnet School, KNBC-TV reported. Pasadena police Lt. Kim Smith told KTLA the boy was never arrested but the case was sent to the district attorney's office for consideration. In a statement obtained by KTLA, officials with the Pasadena Unified School District said they were cooperating with police and 'implementing an enhanced awareness of safety by both students and staff.' The incident happened Thursday, shortly before authorities responded to a deadly shooting about 40 miles to the northwest at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita.
  • A jury found Roger Stone guilty Friday of obstruction, giving false statements to Congress and tampering with witnesses in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. >> Read more trending news  The verdict came on the second day of jury deliberations. Stone had denied any wrongdoing and framed the charges as politically motivated. Update 12:20 p.m. EST Nov. 15: Jurors found Stone guilty Friday of all seven counts against him, including one charge of obstruction, one charge of witness tampering and five charges of making false statements connected to his pursuit stolen emails damaging to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman set a February 6 sentencing date for Stone, Fox News reported. Until then, Berman allowed Stone to be released on his own recognizance. Stone, who did not take the stand during his trial, is the sixth Trump aide or adviser to be convicted of charges brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The president slammed the jury's verdict Friday, questioning in a tweet whether Stone fell victim to 'a double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country.' Original report: Jury deliberations in the case against Roger Stone, a political consultant and confidant of President Donald Trump, extended into a second day Friday after jurors failed to reach a verdict on whether he lied to Congress about his attempts to contact WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election. Jurors asked U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson two questions Thursday during their six hours of deliberations, Reuters reported. The questions were about what was considered testimony in the case and a request for a clarification of the charges, according to the Courthouse News Service. Authorities arrested Stone in January on charges brought by then-special counsel Robert Mueller, who headed the Justice Department's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Stone was charged with obstruction, giving false statements and witness tampering. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Kravis said Stone lied to protect the Trump campaign from embarrassment and scrutiny in its quest for emails hacked by Russian officials and disseminated by WikiLeaks, according to The Washington Post. Attorneys for Stone claimed he never intentionally deceived Congress and that he was simply wrong in his testimony after committee members unexpectedly peppered him with WikiLeaks-related questions. 'There was nothing illegal about the campaign being interested in information that WikiLeaks was going to be putting out,' defense attorney Bruce S. Rogow said, according to the Post. 'This is what happens in a campaign. … It happens in every campaign.' In testimony, several witnesses highlighted how Trump campaign associates were eager to gather information about the more than 19,000 emails the U.S. says were hacked by Russia and then provided to WikiLeaks. Former campaign CEO Steve Bannon reluctantly testified last week and told jurors Trump's campaign saw Stone as an 'access point' to WikiLeaks. He said Stone boasted about his ties to the anti-secrecy group and its founder, Julian Assange. Bannon said campaign officials tried to use Stone to get advanced word about hacked emails damaging to Trump's rival in the 2016 presidential election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Rick Gates, who served as a campaign aide for Trump, told jurors Stone asked him in June 2016 for the contact information of Trump's son-in-law and then-senior campaign adviser, Jared Kushner. Stone wanted to 'debrief' him on developments about the hacked emails, Gates said. Stone has proclaimed his innocence and accused Mueller's team of targeting him because of his politics. He could face up to 20 years in prison if he's convicted. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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