Supreme Court to hear Trump claims of protection from subpoenas, investigations

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FILE – In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court in Washington, at sunset. The Supreme Court has left in place a Kentucky law requiring doctors to perform ultrasounds and show fetal images to patients before abortions. The justices did not comment on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, in refusing to review an appeals court ruling that upheld the law. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KETK) – The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will take up President Trump’s appeal of lower court orders that his banks and accountants must release financial records to the House of Representatives and prosecutors in New York.

The court will decide whether Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars, must comply with a Manhattan grand jury subpoena for nearly a decade’s worth of tax returns and other financial documents.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is seeking the documents in an investigation of hush money payments made to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump, allegations the president has consistently denied.

A district judge and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit had ruled against the president, saying Vance’s subpoena was proper and that Mazars must comply.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee also won access to Trump’s financial records in an unrelated case. The committee had said it was looking into possible conflicts of interest and irregularities in the president’s financial disclosure reports and whether additional legislation is needed.

In a third case, the 2nd Circuit had also upheld subpoenas from the House Intelligence and Financial Services Committees to Deutsche Bank and Capital One for financial information.

The committees say they need the records as part of investigations in Russian money laundering and potential foreign influence.

Aside from their financial basis, all three cases involve the concept of separation of powers at the heart of the U.S. Constitution.

The president and his lawyers have argued that the president is exempt not just from indictment but from any investigation at all while in office. One of his lawyers argued at the appeals court hearing in New York that a sitting president could not even be investigated for shooting someone on the streets of Manhattan in full view of the public and police.

Trump and his lawyers also have made broad and unprecedented claims of total immunity from Congressional oversight and investigation.

The Supreme Court will hear the cases in March, with a ruling expected by June.

Trump has two appointees on the court – Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – which some say could sway the high court’s ruling.

However, past courts ruled unanimously against Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton in comparable cases, with Nixon and Clinton appointees voting against the presidents who put them on the court.

Nixon case forced the president to turn over documents and the infamous tapes that eventually led to his resignation.

The Clinton case ruled that a sitting president can be sued while in office and led to his impeachment in the House.

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