WASHINGTON – The US Supreme Court. The USA He began listening to arguments in a major showdown over presidential powers stemming from President Donald Trump’s attempts to prevent Democratic-led Congressional committees and a New York City prosecutor from obtaining his financial records.
The nine judges began a scheduled one-hour discussion of attempts by House of Representatives committees to obtain the records in a couple of cases that test Congress’s authority to supervise the president.
In both cases, Trump has tried to block the enforcement of subpoenas by House of Representatives committees looking for his financial records from Mazars LLP, his longtime accounting firm, and two banks, Deutsche Bank and Capital. One.
Conservative Court President John Roberts began by questioning Trump’s attorney Patrick Strawbridge about the broad scope of his arguments.
“Do you recognize any power in the House to subpoena personal documents of the President?” Roberts asked.
Trump’s attorneys have argued that congressional panels had no authority to issue the citations and had no valid legislative reason to search the records.
The third case, which is discussed immediately afterward, concerns a subpoena issued to Mazars for similar information, including tax returns, as part of a grand jury investigation into Trump being conducted by the District Attorney’s office in Manhattan Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.
The lower courts in Washington and New York ruled against Trump in all three cases.
Three months after Trump averted his impeachment in a impeachment trial in the Senate, Trump’s attorneys want the Supreme Court to endorse his expansive vision of presidential powers that would severely limit Congress’s ability to oversee presidents and prosecutors to investigate them.
The Supreme Court has a 5-4 majority, including two judges appointed by Trump. He has scored key high court victories, including over his hard-line immigration policies, but lost a major case a year ago from the US census. USA When Roberts joined the four court liberals.
Trump, unlike other recent presidents, has declined to release his tax returns and other financial records that could shed light on his net worth and the activities of his family’s real estate company, the Trump Organization. The content of these records remains an enduring mystery of his presidency.
Failures are likely to occur within weeks, with Trump seeking re-election on November 3 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cases will be heard on two separate arguments via conference call, a format adopted during the pandemic.
House of Representatives committees have said they are seeking the material as part of investigations into possible money laundering by banks and whether Trump inflated and deflated certain assets in the financial statements, as his former personal attorney has said. , in part to reduce your property taxes.
The New York criminal investigation was fueled by revelations of secret money payments by Trump to two women, porn movie actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who said they had had sex with him in the past.
In the New York case, Trump’s attorneys argued that his records cannot be released due to his authority as president under the Constitution, claiming that he is immune from any criminal prosecution while in office. Even if Trump shot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York, prosecutors would not be able to act while he was still in office, his lawyers argued before losing in a trial court.
The cases are among the most important in years in the parameters of the presidential powers. The superior court in some past historical cases has ruled against the presidents.
In 1997, he unanimously decided that serving presidents could be sued for conduct outside of official duties, ruling against President Bill Clinton’s attempt to delay a sexual harassment lawsuit. In 1974, he unanimously ruled that President Richard Nixon must comply with a subpoena for tape recordings in the Watergate scandal.