Trump Blasts Supreme Court After Rulings on His Records

Court says Manhattan prosecutor can pursue his tax returns, but Congress is rebuffed for now
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2020 9:33 AM CDT
Updated Jul 9, 2020 10:50 AM CDT
Supreme Court: Trump Must Hand Over Tax Returns
President Trump speaks on the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday in Washington.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave President Trump some good news (at least temporarily) and some bad news in his fight to keep his financial records private. But the upshot of both rulings is that it's unlikely any of Trump's financial information will be made public before the election, reports Politico.

  • Manhattan: The judges ruled 7-2 that Manhattan's district attorney can pursue Trump's tax returns and other records. Cyrus Vance Jr. is investigating the president's payments in the run-up to the 2016 election to two women, including Stormy Daniels, who alleged affairs with Trump. Vance subpoenaed the records from Trump's accounting firm, but Trump challenged the move, citing immunity as president, per the Washington Post. The court rejected that broad claim of immunity.
  • Back to lower court: The records sought by Vance are in the hands of accounting firm Mazars USA, which has pledged to abide by a court order to turn them over. That process now moves back to a lower court, and it was unclear when Vance's subpoena might be carried out. Trump's attorneys could raise additional objections in the lower court, notes the Wall Street Journal. What's more, this is all part of a secret grand-jury proceeding. Unless charges result, the records would likely remain sealed, reports Bloomberg.

  • Congress: In a separate 7-2 ruling, the court temporarily blocked three House panels from obtaining the president's records. The justices sent the matter back to lower courts with new criteria to consider when it comes to presidential subpoenas, and there's no real timeline for resolution, per the AP. The House Oversight and Reform Committee is investigating Trump's payments to the two women as well, while the Financial Services and Intelligence committees want a broad range of financial records from Trump and his business enterprises.
  • Trump reacts: The president is not happy. "This is all a political prosecution," he wrote in a series of tweets. "I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!" He added: "Courts in the past have given 'broad deference'. BUT NOT ME!"
  • The votes: In both cases, Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh joined the majority in the 7-2 decisions, as did Chief Justice John Roberts. The chief justice wrote the majority opinions in both cases, while Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented in both.
  • The majority: "In our judicial system, 'the public has a right to every man's evidence,'" Roberts wrote in regard to the Manhattan case, referring to a legal maxim. "Since the earliest days of the Republic, 'every man' has included the President of the United States."
  • A dissent: "This case is almost certain to be portrayed as a case about the current President and the current political situation, but the case has a much deeper significance," wrote Alito in his dissent to the Manhattan case. "While the decision will of course have a direct effect on President Trump, what the Court holds today will also affect all future Presidents—which is to say, it will affect the Presidency, and that is a matter of great and lasting importance to the Nation."
(More US Supreme Court stories.)

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