Supreme Court to hear 3 major cases seeking Trump’s fiscal records

13 Mai, 2020, 00:31 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Supreme Court to hear 3 major cases seeking Trump's fiscal records

Now, joined by the Justice Department, he is appealing lower court rulings that determined subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives and the Manhattan district attorney to his longtime accounting firm and two banks for years of tax returns, bank records and other financial documents are valid.

In all the cases, lower courts rejected Trump's arguments and said the president has to turn over his records to congressional and NY state investigators.

Most of the justices suggested they wanted to balance the competing interests of lawmakers, state prosecutors and the president. The lower courts rejected Trump's attacks on the subpoenas' legitimacy, prompting Trump to appeal them to the Supreme Court late previous year.

Justice Neil Gorsuch appeared Monday to be a pivotal vote for the proposition that a large chunk of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation, a question the Supreme Court failed to resolve a year ago. In those cases, justices who had been put on the court by the two former presidents did not side with them.

But Roberts also said a House lawyer was proposing a "limitless test" that "doesn't seem in any way to take account of the fact that we're talking about a coordinate branch of government, the executive branch".

President Donald Trump is the first United States president since Richard Nixon in the 1970s to refuse to release his tax returns.

Since he lost his argument in the lower courts, Trump has turned to the nation's highest legal body.

The Trump-appointed Kavanaugh previously worked on independent counsel Ken Starr's investigation of President Bill Clinton, which led to Clinton's impeachment in 1998. He once went for a decade under the old system without asking a question.

Roberts also seemed skeptical of arguments by a House lawyer that lawmakers have broad authority to investigate a president for the objective of writing laws. She said this could violate restrictions against exposing for the sake of exposure. Justice Elena Kagan says in the past Congress and the president have been able to come to agreements.

A compromise ruling could involve returning the cases to the federal appeals court level to determine whether those seeking the information could meet a tougher standard. Trump's election didn't stop his opponents from continuing their calls for his tax returns, however, nor did it change his adamance about not releasing them.

How did the cases reach the Supreme Court?

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But the president's lawyers and the Justice Department argued the requests amount to harassment and violate the separation of powers, suggesting there is no legislative goal in obtaining the documents.

The bench, also comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, M M Shantanagoudar, S A Nazeer, R Subhash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant said the instant review petitions and the reference arising from the review petitions are maintainable.

Justice Clarence Thomas questioned the extent Congress could act on requests for private financial information. The probe by the Intelligence and Financial Services committees sought more documents from two of Trump's major lenders, Deutsche Bank and Capital One. That would include whether any loans to Trump by Deutsche Bank were back-stopped by Russian entities - a financial arrangement that can be considered a form of insurance, the sources said.

Even Justice Stephen Breyer, of the court's liberal wing, seemed troubled by the implications that the House's stance would have on future presidencies.

Trump has won key victories at the high court, including ones over his hardline immigration policies, but lost a big case a year ago regarding the US census.

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 1974 that President Richard Nixon had to turn over recordings and documents in response to a subpoena from a special prosecutor, ABC News notes.

In the grand jury case, Trump contends the president has complete immunity from criminal subpoenas while in office. "There's still a need to ensure that the president is not going to face undue harassment or distraction".

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked the lawyer representing the House Democrats how harassment should be measured when there are several different House committees investigating the president, all seeking the same personal financial information.

Trump's attorneys argue that a president enjoys total immunity as long as he is in the White House.

Vance and his supporters say presidents throughout history, including Nixon and Clinton, have been subject to judicial proceedings.

NY prosecutor Cyrus Vance Jr wants to find out if hush money payments to women who claimed affairs with Trump involved illegal business practices.

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