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Law & the Courts

Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Subpoena of Trump Financial Documents

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Atlanta, Ga., November 8, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The Supreme Court temporarily blocked a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee for President Trump’s financial records, Chief Justice John Roberts announced Monday.

Trump’s legal team had appealed a ruling from the D.C. Circuit appeals court allowing the April congressional subpoena to go into effect on Wednesday. The Supreme Court’s decision delays impeachment investigators’ request for the records while the high court weighs whether to take up the case.

The subpoena requires Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA to release eight years of the president’s financial documents. It does not mention Trump’s tax returns but does request financial documents that lawmakers expect to expose any potential conflicts of interest the president may have.

“For the first time in our nation’s history, Congress has subpoenaed the personal records of a sitting president from before he was in office,” read a statement last week from Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow. “And, for the first time in our nation’s history, a court upheld a congressional subpoena to the president for his personal papers. Those decisions are wrong and should be reversed.”

Meanwhile in a separate criminal investigation, Manhattan’s district attorney is attempting to access Trump’s tax returns extending back to 2011, which Trump has refused to release, breaking from other modern presidents. Those records are expected to include payments to two women who claim to have had affairs with Trump before the 2016 campaign season.

The president’s legal team has argued that New York’s non-federal criminal investigation into a president is unconstitutional.

Trump has hedged on whether he would release his financial records and tax returns since the 2016 campaign season, saying he would release them when an audit of his finances is finished.

The Supreme Court’s ruling comes as House Democrats continue the public phase of their impeachment investigation with more witness testimony scheduled for this week, including U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s highly anticipated hearing on Wednesday.

Justice Roberts would preside over the Senate impeachment trial of Trump if the House votes to impeach him.

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