President Donald Trump on Tuesday with Turning Point USA founder...

President Donald Trump on Tuesday with Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk at the Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit in Washington. Credit: AP/Andrew Harnik

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against New York State Attorney General Letitia James, the state’s tax commissioner and the House Ways and Means Committee in his latest effort to block the release of his tax returns.

The lawsuit comes two weeks after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law a measure passed by the State Legislature that authorizes the release of Trump’s state income tax returns to select congressional committees, including the House Ways and Means Committee.

Trump’s 25-page legal filing  contends that New York’s Democratic-majority legislature passed the so-called “TRUST Act” “in the hopes of damaging [Trump] politically.” The lawsuit, filed in Washington, argues that the House Ways and Means Committee, which has oversight over tax regulation, should not be able to access Trump’s state tax filings, because the panel has jurisdiction only over federal tax matters.

“Because the Committee’s jurisdiction is limited to federal taxes, no legislation could possibly result from a request for the President’s state tax returns. The Committee thus lacks a legitimate legislative purpose for using the TRUST Act,” the lawsuit states.

The committee’s chairman, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who has sued the Treasury Department to gain access to the president’s federal income tax filings, has previously signaled that he  was not likely to use New York’s law to gain access to Trump’s state income tax filings because the committee does not “have jurisdiction over New York taxes.”

Neal has argued that the Treasury Department must turn over Trump’s federal tax statements because of a federal tax law that states the department “shall furnish” tax returns requested by the committee. The lawmaker has argued that the committee needs access to the returns to “conduct oversight.”

Neal’s office did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

James, in a statement, said “President Trump has spent his career hiding behind lawsuits, but, as New York’s chief law enforcement officer, I can assure him that no one is above the law — not even the president of the United States.”

“The TRUST Act will shine a light on the president’s finances and finally offer transparency to millions of Americans yearning to know the truth,” James said. “We have all the confidence that this law is legal and we will vigorously defend it against any court challenge.”

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