Supreme Court must release Trump financial records, urge prosecutors

Lawyers seek release of eight years' worth of presidential business and personal tax returns

Adam Liptak
Friday 22 November 2019 14:48 GMT

In a pair of filings Thursday, a House committee and Manhattan prosecutors urged the Supreme Court to clear the way for disclosure of Donald Trump’s financial records.

The filings concerned subpoenas in separate cases to Mr Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA. Federal appeals courts have refused to block the subpoenas, and the firm has indicated that it will provide the records unless the Supreme Court orders it to withhold them.

In one Supreme Court brief, the House Oversight and Reform Committee opposed an emergency application from Mr Trump to block a subpoena seeking his financial records while the court decides whether to hear his appeal.

Mr Trump’s application, filed last week, sought a stay of a ruling in October by a divided panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejecting the president’s argument that the subpoena was improper because the committee had no valid legislative purpose for seeking the information.

Responding to Mr Trump’s request, lawyers for the committee said its enquiries were driven by its legislative and oversight responsibilities.

On Monday, chief justice John Roberts issued a temporary stay to give the court time to consider Mr Trump’s application for a longer one. Should the Supreme Court deny the application in the case, Trump vs Mazars USA, the accounting firm would be required to provide the records.

The second Supreme Court filing Thursday concerned a subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance, a Democrat, for eight years of Mr Trump’s personal and business tax returns.

The subpoena sought information concerning the reimbursements made to the president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, for payments to pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels, who said she had an affair with Mr Trump.

A unanimous three-judge panel of the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, in Manhattan, ruled this month against Mr Trump. The court, in Trump vs Vance, said state prosecutors may require third parties to turn over a sitting president’s financial records for use in a grand jury investigation.

Mr Trump’s lawyers, in a petition seeking review of the decision, said he is immune from criminal investigation while he remains in office.

Mr Vance said the appeals court’s ruling was narrow and “plainly correct.”

The New York Times

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