President Trump cannot sue the New York state attorney general or the state tax commissioner, as part of his lawsuit to block Congressional Democrats from obtaining copies of his state tax returns, a federal judge ruled on Monday.
Trump filed the lawsuit against New York AG Letitia James, state Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Michael Schmidt and the House Ways and Means Committee in July — shortly after Gov. Cuomo signed the TRUST Act.
The law would allow the state tax commissioner to release Trump’s tax returns should one of three congressional committees — the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee or the Joint Committee on Taxation — request the documents in writing.
But Trump had no legal ground, both because James and Schmidt had no hand in writing the law and because they have no ties to the Washington D.C. jurisdiction where Trump brought the suit, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols of the District of Columbia ruled as he dismissed part of the lawsuit against James, a Democrat, and Schmidt.
“Mr. Trump does not allege that either New York Defendant had any involvement whatsoever in the legislative process that led to the TRUST Act. And even if Mr. Trump alleged that either New York Defendant was involved in the legislative process, he cites no authority for the proposition that enacting or helping to enact a state statute in another state would constitute ‘transacting business’ in the District of Columbia,” Nichols wrote in his decision.
“The Court concludes that it does not presently have jurisdiction over either New York Defendant.”
Nichols said the congressional committees have yet to request the tax filings, and even if were to do so, Trump’s argument would fail to hold both the attorney general and tax commissioner accountable.
“We have said all along that this lawsuit should be dismissed and we are pleased with the court’s conclusion. The TRUST Act is an important tool that will ensure accountability to millions of Americans who deserve to know the truth. 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,” James applauded the decision in a prepared statement.
Team Trump is weighing its options, according to presidential counsel Jay Sekulow.
“Regarding the tax case out of D.C.—We are reviewing the opinion. The case against the Ways and Means Committee proceeds in federal court,” he said in a statement.
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