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US House Panel Agrees to 10-day Hold in Fight for Trump Financial Data

FILE - US Representatives John Lewis, Suzan DelBene, and Mike Kelly, preside over a House Ways and Means Committee Oversight Subcommittee hearing on whether to compel candidates for US president and vice president to release tax records, Feb. 7, 2019.

A House of Representatives committee on Monday told the U.S. Supreme Court it would agree to a 10-day hold - but not a longer delay - on a lower court ruling directing President Donald Trump's accounting firm to hand over his financial records to the Democratic-led panel.

The case represents an important showdown pitting the powers of the presidency against the authority of Congress, with Trump fighting doggedly to keep details of this finances private.

The delay agreed to by the House Oversight Committee would give the nine justices a chance to decide whether to grant Trump's emergency request, filed on Friday, seeking to block the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruling.

Trump turned to the justices after the lower court last week refused his request to reconsider its October decision backing the House committee's authority to subpoena the records from Mazars LLP, Trump's longtime accounting firm.

The Republican president had asked the justices for at least a temporary hold on the enforcement of the subpoena. Trump's lawyers would also want the matter to be put on hold for a longer period while the litigation is resolved.

In a letter to the court, the committee's lawyers said they would agree to a 10-day delay "out of courtesy for this court," but would oppose Trump's request for a longer pause. The Supreme Court has yet to act on Trump's request or the committee's offer to allow the 10-day delay.

If the Supreme Court declines to hear Trump's appeal, the documents would have to be handed over to lawmakers. Five votes among the justices are needed to grant a stay request. The court has a 5-4 conservative majority.

In a separate case, Trump last Thursday asked the Supreme Court to review a New York-based federal appeals court's ruling that local prosecutors can enforce a subpoena also issued to Mazars demanding Trump's personal and corporate tax returns from 2011 to 2018.

The House committee subpoenaed Mazars this year, saying it needed the records to determine if Trump complied with laws requiring disclosure of his assets, and to assess whether those laws needed to be changed.