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Trump lawyers try again to block financial records subpoena

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's effort to stonewall congressional subpoenas lands at a federal appeals court Friday, where House Democrats will once again defend their power to get years of his financial records from accounting firm Mazars USA.

The oral argument before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is one of the first lawsuits Trump filed to stymie House investigations. And it could be the first to reach the Supreme Court no matter what the panel decides, since neither the president nor Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California appears likely to back down.

In a sign of the high stakes and high interest, the D.C. Circuit set the argument for a ceremonial courtroom that is twice the size as other courtrooms and barred so-called "line standers" that hold a place in the public seating line for those willing to pay them.

The president's lawyers will echo arguments they made at a lower court in May. They told U.S District Court Judge Amit Mehta that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform overstepped its authority to ask for the Mazars records, mainly because the committee does not have a legitimate legislative purpose for the request.

But Mehta ultimately sided with Congress and ruled that "it is not for the court to question whether the Committee's actions are truly motivated by political considerations."

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Epstein wants to await trial at the $77 million Manhattan home where feds say he abused girls

MIAMI -- Attorneys for accused serial sex predator Jeffrey Epstein have asked a New York judge to free him from jail and allow him to await a child sex trafficking trial from the comfort of the same $77 million Manhattan mansion where he's accused of luring teenage girls into unwanted sex acts.

Epstein, currently holed up in a cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, offered ahead of a Monday bond hearing to waive extradition rights and put up his town home and private jet as collateral. His brother, Mark Epstein, also offered to put up his West Palm Beach home.

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