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Law & the Courts

Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Release of Trump Financial Records

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., June 11, 2018 (Erin Schaff/Reuters)

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that President Trump may continue to withhold his financial records until the ongoing legal battle over the release of the documents is resolved.

The court has also ordered the Trump administration to submit its petition regarding the records by December 5, and may rule on whether to hear the case in the coming weeks. If the Court takes up the case it will issue a final ruling by June.

A stay of this nature on the lower appeals court ruling requires majority approval, meaning five of the justices considered the legal questions raised by Trump’s petition weighty enough to consider taking the case. The President’s team spelled out in documents the legal problems involved, which touch on the separation of powers of the three branches of the federal government.

House Democrats have sought to force Trump to reveal his tax returns by means of legal challenges, so far without success. Trump promised to release his financial records during his 2016 presidential campaign but has since refused to do so.

On November 4 the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Trump had to release his tax returns in response to a petition from the House Oversight Committee, and that Trump could not cite presidential immunity in his defense. The President’s attorney Jay Sekulow formally challenged that ruling in the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the New York District Attorney’s office is suing for Trump’s financial records in a Manhattan court. In that case, Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance is investigating the possibility Trump violated campaign finance laws with hush-money payments to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had an affair with the President. Trump denies the allegations.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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