Lawyers for President Donald Trump and his attorneys sharply disagreed again over a request by special counsel Robert Mueller for Trump’s tax records and financial information about his family’s business empire during a court hearing Tuesday.
Prosecutors brought up the dispute in their opposition to Trump’s latest effort to quash the subpoena during a hearing in federal court in Washington.
Trump’s lawyers argued that they had already submitted the records to Mueller, and needed the time to respond and confer with their client over their response. Attorneys for Mueller, however, said Trump’s counsel had never given him a subpoena for tax records or the financial information.
Also, the special counsel’s lawyers said they needed the documents as a matter of “process,” an apparent reference to their interest in understanding what is under Trump’s control and in the specifics of his finances. Prosecutors also told the judge they needed more time to review the documents and that Mueller’s team planned to travel to New York to review Trump’s financial records.
The hearing came a day after U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan refused Trump’s request to dismiss a subpoena for his tax records.
Lawyers representing the president have opposed similar subpoenas for his tax records in Manhattan federal court and filed a similar motion in the federal court in Washington, after which the Trump team withdrew it.
Trump’s lawyers argued that they had already produced the documents as part of a lengthy interview last week with Mueller’s prosecutors. The two sides were due to meet this week in Washington to decide whether they could strike an agreement on the contents of that meeting or whether it would have to be turned over to the special counsel before a potential trial.
A joint filing by attorneys for Trump and Mueller’s office last week said the president’s team had already produced material to prosecutors “in response to a subpoena issued by this court to Defendant in September 2018.”
Trump’s legal team also submitted a modified version of that proposal to the judge. The latest compromise indicated that Trump’s legal team would only turn over materials it has produced under subpoena to other federal prosecutors in New York who are investigating his personal finances.
Sullivan approved that request, but it was not revealed in court.
The judge also told Mueller’s team that he does not see any need for them to travel to New York in advance of an eventual trial to review the tax records, because prosecutors have already had the information since they are in custody of Trump’s lawyers. The judge added that one of Mueller’s office attorneys, Andrew Weissmann, already has copies of Trump’s tax returns.
But in an unusual move, after the judge’s ruling, the Mueller team filed a revised document in federal court accusing Trump’s legal team of rushing its responses. The new filing said Mueller’s office had already received copies of Trump’s taxes and financial records from Trump’s company, The Trump Organization, for use as it prepared the documents to send to the special counsel.
Trump and his attorneys also have argued in court papers that Mueller’s subpoena demands inappropriate documents that require a strict court review process.