President Donald Trump is in deep trouble after the Supreme Court ordered that he must release his tax returns and other financial records to the Manhattan district attorney.
In a 7-2 vote, the court sided with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance who requested eight years’ worth of Trump’s business and personal tax records to help investigate whether Trump and his company violated state laws in connection with hush-money payments to several women that allegedly had affairs with the president.
Trump has been refusing to release his tax returns for years, unlike the last six presidents. Both court cases have been fought tooth and nail Donald Trump who argued those baying for his tax returns were driven by partisan intent.
In Trump v. Mazars, a case consolidated with Trump v. Deutsche Bank, three House committees argued it was within their constitutional authority to issue Trump a subpoena to obtain several years worth of personal financial documents and records from his accounting firm Mazars.
The committees, including the Committee on Oversight and Reform that issued the subpoena in mid-2019 to Mazars, argued the documents were part of an investigation into government ethics and conflicts of interest in the executive branch. Part of the investigation, the committee argued, included “the accuracy of statements made by the President on various financial discloses.”
In the Deutsche Bank case, the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued subpoenas to the bank and Capital One for records into Trump, his family, and the Trump Organization as part of an ongoing investigation into any links or coordination between the Russian government, or any other foreign actors, that may have influenced the 2016 U.S. elections. The investigations by the two committees also focused on Russian money laundering.
The subpoenas came after Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, testified that the president had previously exaggerated his wealth in order to seek loans from several banks, including Deutsche. Cohen also provided financial documents showing Trump’s personal assets between 2011 and 2013 to prove his allegations during a Feb. 2019 testimony to the House Oversight Committee.
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Trump’s team fought back the subpoenas asking a federal judge in New York to block the banks from complying and arguing that the subpoenas open the door to allow Congress to seek legislative powers beyond their job description. But federal judges in New York and Washington D.C.—both at the district and appeals court levels—repeatedly ruled against Trump and agreed with the argument that the subpoenas did not exceed Congress’ power.
In December, the Supreme Court agreed to take up both cases in a combined hearing.