Trump again asks justices to shield tax returns

Clay Curtis
November 16, 2019

President Donald Trump wants the Supreme Court to keep House Democrats from getting his financial records at least until the justices resolve a broader fight over efforts to subpoena a sitting president's records.

Trump filed an emergency enchantment with the courtroom Friday in a case from Washington, D.C., over a subpoena from a Home committee for monetary data held by Trump's accountants.

"This is a case of firsts", personal attorneys for the President wrote, one day after asking the high court to block a NY state grand jury subpoena issued to Mazars for a similar range of financial records.

He added: "Politically motivated subpoenas like this one are a flawless illustration of why a sitting president should be categorically immune from state criminal process". It is the first time Congress has issued a subpoena, under its legislative powers, to investigate the president for illegal conduct. "Those decisions are wrong and should be reversed", Sekulow added.

"It has now been seven months since the Oversight Committee asked for these records".

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Jay Sekulow, one of Trump's lawyers, said his team will ask the Supreme Court to overturn the appeals court decision. The committee first requested Trump's tax returns from accounting firm Mazars USA in April after his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified the president manipulated the value of his assets for personal gain.

The court has a 5-4 conservative majority that includes two Trump appointees: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

The president's lawyer William Consovoy said the Supreme Court's intervention was imperative.

The court must decide whether to grant Trump's emergency application in the congressional subpoena case. The New York prosecutor says the president's tax records could shed light on whether Trump or his employees falsified business records to hide the alleged payments. Rao dissented from that ruling, and from a later decision to deny the President a rehearing by the full appeals court. Similarly, in the NY case, Trump's lawyers have made a broad argument in favour of complete presidential immunity from criminal investigations - even if the president shoots another person - while in office. He has kept them secret since taking office.

Trump cited Rao as arguing that the subpoena constituted a law enforcement action because "the gravamen of the Oversight Committee's investigation ... is the President's wrongdoing". A judge ruled against Trump in May, saying the documents might assist Congress in passing laws and performing other core functions.

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