Trump Asks Supreme Court to Bar Release of His Tax Returns

November 15, 2019 by Dan McCue
DACA faces its biggest challenge on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019: a hearing before the Supreme Court that will test whether it was properly enacted and whether President Donald Trump has the authority to end a program that has been a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of immigrants across the country. (Dreamstime/TNS)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to bar his accounting firm from turning over eight years of his tax returns to prosecutors in New York.

The case has significance far beyond Trump as it could determined the scope of presidential immunity from criminal investigations.

Last week, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Trump’s claim that he is absolutely immune from criminal investigation while he remains in office.

But the panel, in a narrow ruling, held state prosecutors can require third parties to turn over a sitting president’s financial records for use in a grand jury investigation.

In his emergency petition to the Supreme Court, Trump says New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., has subpoenaed his accountant, Mazars USA, in an attempt to compel it to produce the president’s financial papers and tax returns.

He also complains that subpoena “is the combination—almost a word-for-word copy—of two subpoenas issued by committees of Congress for these same papers.”

The petition asked whether the subpoena violates Article II and the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.

“Whether the President is absolutely immune is an important and unsettled issue of federal law that the Court should resolve,” the petition says.

Trump has fought to shield his financial records almost since the day he entered the 2016 presidential race, mostly maintaining that he was under audit and that prevented their release.

Despite the 2nd Circuit ruling in their favor, Vance’s prosecutors have agreed not to seek the tax returns until the Supreme Court weighs in on the matter. However, in exchange for that courtesy, they want the case to have an expedited briefing schedule, one that would allow the justices to render a decision by June.

The filing of the emergency petition comes a day after another federal appeals court, in the District of Columbia, refused to review a decision by a divided three-judge panel that Mazars USA must comply with the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s demands for eight years of the president’s tax returns.

Attorneys for Trump said Thursday they will appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court as well.

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