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White House Files Emergency Plea to Pause Lawsuit to Revoke Trump’s Tax Returns

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to put an immediate halt to a subpoena demanding access to Mr. Trump’s tax returns.

The president’s attorneys on Monday filed the emergency petition, asking that the high court act as a last resort to block the order that Democratic representatives have filed under the theory that financial information could shed light on his business and personal finances.

Congress has increasingly been looking for ways to investigate the Trump business after it has been revealed that the president has come under scrutiny in a wide-ranging probe by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

But the Democrats’ efforts to obtain the tax returns have had a setback after Mr. Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had recused himself from the Russia investigation.

The White House then named Matthew G. Whitaker as acting attorney general. His predecessor, Sessions, was at one time spearheading Mr. Mueller’s investigation.

The president’s legal team also has called on Whitaker to issue a new directive asking that federal prosecutors examine whether the president should be criminally charged.

“If a sitting president has been criminally investigated, he cannot effectively perform his duties,” said Jason L. Maloni, a lawyer for Mr. Trump.

The Justice Department announced on Sunday that it will not comply with the congressional subpoena.

But Democrats responded on Monday with their own pledge, and said they were working to draft a bill to place restrictions on how the president’s tax returns are used.

The committee has said it has legal standing to seek the taxes after former Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner testified that the House of Representatives can investigate the president “without the consent of the president.”

The House Judiciary Committee backed up this legal reasoning in a similar lawsuit in a 4-2 vote last year.

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