U.S. Supreme Court Hears Cases On Trump’s Lawsuits To Prevent Release Of His Financial Records
Over a three-hour conference call on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court considered a potential middle ground on President Donald Trump‘s bid to maintain the secrecy of his financial records in cases that could impact the November election and challenge constitutional principles.
The justices struggled to find a strategic compromise among the needs of the president, state prosecutors and lawmakers. While Trump is advocating for absolute non-compliance with state grand jury subpoenas involving his financial records, the justices considered a third way – a partial limitation of the powers of lawmakers and prosecutors.
The cases concern the public release of Trump’s tax returns and an ongoing criminal investigation in New York.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh weighed in on the situation, assessing the competing interests at play. “The question then boils down to: how can we protect the House’s interest in obtaining information it needs to legislate but also protect the presidency?” Kavanaugh said.
Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor voiced her worries about a Trump power play. “I see a tremendous separation of powers problem,” she observed.
Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall told the justices that the president’s personal records can’t be subpoenaed without clearly showing that the information is needed for a legitimate legislative purpose.
“I think we all know it’s about the president,” Wall said.
The justices are also evaluating whether the subpoenas would put too much burden on the president, but Sotomayor questioned whether the overwhelming suspicion of criminal activity wasn’t enough to further the investigation.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is looking into Trump’s potential falsification of business records to conceal payments made to two women who claimed they had sex with him.
The cases before the court are Trump v. Vance, 19-635; Trump v. Mazars, 19-715; and Trump v. Deutsche Bank, 19-760.
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