Trump tax returns case won’t be fast-tracked, U.S. judge rules

House Democrats’ lawsuit seeking to quickly compel the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service to hand over President Donald Trump’s tax returns for the past six years won’t be decided any faster than any ordinary case, the federal judge hearing the dispute has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden late Thursday rejected the request by the House Ways and Means Committee that he fast-track resolution of their lawsuit filed last month, which the suing Democrats say would have increased the likelihood the litigation is resolved before a new Congress is sworn into office in January 2021.

Unmoved by their plea, McFadden said Congress has made only a few provisions for expediting cases and that the committee’s lawsuit didn’t qualify even under a catch-all provision allowing the handling of some suits to be sped up for “good cause.”

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office
President Donald Trump in the Oval Office

“To be sure, this is no ordinary case, but the weighty constitutional issues and political ramifications it presents militate in favor of caution and deliberation, not haste,” the Washington judge said, explaining he’ll first need to tackle the president’s anticipated objections to the court even hearing the case before reaching the merits of the inter-branch dispute.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected the committee’s records request in May, concluding the information was sought not for a legitimate legislative purpose but merely for a political attack.

In June, McFadden threw out a lawsuit by House Democrats challenging Trump’s reallocation of $6.1 billion in spending they’d approved for other purposes toward the construction of a southern border wall, concluding he didn’t have jurisdiction over that particular battle between the U.S. government’s legislative and executive branches.

Trump nominated the judge to the federal bench in 2017.