- President Donald Trump weighed in Thursday after the Supreme Court handed down two blockbuster rulings related to his longrunning efforts to block investigators from seeing his financial records.
- In the first case, the court ruled 7-2 that the president cannot stop New York prosecutors from gaining access to his records.
- In the second case, the court ruled 7-2 that Congress can subpoena Trump’s financial documents, but it also sent the matter down to the lower courts to assess “separation of powers concerns.”
- “The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue. This is all a political prosecution. 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!” Trump tweeted after the rulings came out.
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President Donald Trump weighed in Thursday after the Supreme Court handed down two blockbuster rulings relating to his longrunning efforts to shield his financial records from investigators.
In the first case, Trump v. Vance, the court ruled 7-2 that the president cannot block New York prosecutors from gaining access to his records. In the second case, Trump v. Mazars USA, the court ruled that Congress has the power to subpoena the president’s financial documents, but it also sent the matter down to the lower courts to assess “separation of powers concerns.”
Trump commented on the rulings shortly after they were released, writing on Twitter, “The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue. This is all a political prosecution. 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 in a second tweet: “Courts in the past have given ‘broad deference’. BUT NOT ME!”
In Trump v. Vance, the court ruled 7-2 in favor of the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which subpoenaed Trumps’s tax returns as it investigates whether he or his business violated state laws. The court also ruled 7-2 in Trump v. Mazars USA.
In both cases, Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the majority opinion, in which Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagain joined. Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch filed a concurring opinion in the judgment, and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito filed dissenting opinions.
Though both rulings are a major blow to the president’s longrunning efforts to shield his financial records from investigators, they do not necessarily mean the public will gain access to them any time soon, especially before the November election.
In Trump v. Vance, the president’s personal defense lawyer, Jay Sekulow, made a broad and unprecedented claim: that Trump is immune from any criminal investigation or prosecution while in office.
Justices on both sides of the aisle were highly skeptical of Sekulow’s argument and repeatedly asked him during oral arguments in May to elaborate on why Trump should be above the law, and why the court should differentiate between a civil proceeding — like Clinton v. Jones, in which the court ruled that Bill Clinton had to respond to Paula Jones’ lawsuit — and a criminal proceeding.
The 22-page majority opinion in Trump v. Vance made it clear that Trump can still raise constitutional and legal objections to subpoenas in court, which Kavanaugh and Gorsuch emphasized in their concurring opinions.
But they added, “In our system of government, as this Court has often stated, no one is above the law. That principle applies, of course, to a President. At the same time, in light of Article II of the Constitution, this Court has repeatedly declared— and the Court indicates again today—that a court may not proceed against a President as it would against an ordinary litigant.”
Meanwhile, in Trump v. Mazars USA, the president’s lawyers argued that congressional subpoenas for his financial records do not serve a legitimate legislative purpose and are instead intended to harass Trump.
The House counsel countered that claim during oral arguments in May, saying that in addition to serving a future legislative purpose, there is a long history of presidents responding — either voluntarily or involuntarily — to congressional requests for information.
Roberts’ majority opinion rejected the idea Trump can avoid authoritzed demands for documents from lawmakers while also outlining several considerations that lower courts must consider before determining if such subpoenas are indeed valid.
That includes a review of whether the subpoena actually serves a specific legislative purpose as well as the effect the demand would have on a president.