CNN reports that a Decision on subpoena for Trump tax returns now in hands of Supreme Court:
[A] decision on whether to further delay handing over President Donald Trump’s financial records to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. now rests with the Supreme Court after Trump’s attorneys argued for a stay of the “unprecedented” document request.
The brief is the final filing by the two sides before the court can decide whether to again push off enforcement of a subpoena by the Manhattan district attorney’s office for years of Trump’s financial records, including tax returns, from his longtime accountant, Mazars USA.
Trump’s lawyers have argued that the subpoena, which seeks eight years of financial records, is overbroad and was issued in bad faith, claims that were rejected by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals.
The appellate court ruled earlier this month that “there is nothing to suggest that these are anything but run-of-the-mill documents typically relevant to a grand jury investigation into possible financial or corporate misconduct.“
Trump’s efforts to fight the subpoena have already reached the Supreme Court once before. Over the summer, the court ruled the President did not have broad immunity from a state grand jury subpoena.
In their filing Monday, Trump’s lawyers reiterated their arguments alleging the Manhattan district attorney’s office had acted in bad faith and pursued an overbroad set of documents, writing that the subpoena’s “near limitless reach — in time, scope, and geographic reach — has all the hallmarks of a fishing expedition.”
In court filings, the district attorney’s office has said its investigation is more expansive than Trump’s lawyers contend, and has suggested it could encompass inquiries regarding possible tax fraud, bank fraud and insurance fraud.
The Supreme Court majority in its decision in June suggested that the subpoena was not out of the ordinary for prosecutors in a grand-jury proceeding, rejecting the arguments that Trump’s lawyers simply reiterated in these pleadings. They are not arguing anything new. The court already resolved any constitutional questions in its decision, so it’s not clear to me that the Supreme Court has any sound legal reason to grant a stay. The subpoena should be enforced.
In a separate but related matter, Hose Democrats were back in court for Trump’s financial records. Trump lawyers ask court to stop House subpoena for tax records:
Douglas Letter, general counsel for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said Trump “has refused to cooperate at all, unlike all of the modern prior presidents. That is why we are here.” He urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to act before the start of a new Congress in January to enforce the subpoena for the president’s records.
“We believe this court can and should rule quickly and immediately,” Letter said.
The disputed subpoena was back at the D.C. Circuit after a Supreme Court ruling this summer returned the case for a more detailed review of Congress’s request to access Trump’s business records held by his longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA. The justices said the president is not immune from congressional investigation but put the subpoena on hold in the meantime.
President Trump’s lawyer Cameron T. Norris said the House Committee on Oversight and Reform must “go back to the drawing board” because of the new higher bar the Supreme Court set for subpoenas targeting a president’s personal papers. Norris said lawmakers’ “vague, loosely worded” explanation doesn’t pass the test.
House Democrats are seeking eight years of the president’s financial information that lawmakers say they need to amend financial disclosure and conflict-of-interest laws.
Trump, unlike every president since Jimmy Carter, has not voluntarily turned over his tax returns.
Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in July, the New York Times has published a series of stories about the president’s taxes and debt based on tax return records it has obtained.
The three-judge panel reviewing the case for a second time Tuesday previously sided with Congress in a 2-to-1 decision. Judge David S. Tatel, nominated by President Bill Clinton, and Judge Patricia A. Millett, nominated by President Barack Obama, were in the majority. Judge Neomi Rao, nominated by President Trump, dissented.
The judges asked questions Tuesday about whether the court could narrow the scope of information requested in the House subpoena, but they did not clearly indicate how or when they might rule.
Millett expressed skepticism when Trump’s lawyer suggested that the president was willing to work with the House to provide financial documents. She asked how lawmakers could pass carefully crafted legislation targeting the president without detailed information.
“They can’t shoot in the dark,” Millett said. “They really need to understand the nature of this precise problem.”
“We don’t want them to overshoot,” Norris agreed, adding, “There are plenty of ways for us to work together.”
In response, Millett noted, “The president really has not been very accommodating of subpoenas” and in some cases has “flatly forbidden any compliance.”
Rao, a Trump toady, pressed the House lawyer about the breadth of Congress’s investigative powers. If the court upheld the subpoena, she asked, would there be limits to the types of information lawmakers could seek going forward? Could the committee, she asked, access detailed health records of a president?
Letter said such a request would be valid if, for instance, Congress was concerned about a president’s health interfering with his official duties.
In sending the case back to the appeals court for additional review, the Supreme Court said that subpoenas directed at the president must meet a higher bar and can be “no broader than reasonably necessary” to serve Congress’s purpose.
Ahead of oral argument, House lawyers told the court that Trump’s refusal to fully disclose or divest from his business holdings creates “the risk that his decision-making as President may be influenced by private financial considerations.”
Trump’s lawyers questioned lawmakers’ intentions in their court filings. The committee’s “professed interest” in revamping financial disclosure laws “cannot justify the ‘significant step’ of subpoenaing the president’s papers,” according to the president’s team.
Justice Department attorneys, who filed a brief in support of the president’s position, said the sweeping request amounted to a “dragnet” and noted that the committee already has obtained an enormous amount of information about the president’s finances without a subpoena.
After the high court’s ruling, House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) issued a lengthy memo expanding on Congress’s justification for the subpoena and why lawmakers believe that it satisfies the Supreme Court’s new standard.
House lawyers described Trump’s finances as complex and opaque, and said in court filings that the president’s “unwillingness to disclose important financial information voluntarily” has “exposed vulnerabilities in current law intended to protect against Presidential conflicts of interest.”
In response, Trump’s lawyers urged the court not to consider the new committee memo as part of its review. The president’s lawyers warned that enforcing the subpoena would allow Congress to access “virtually any private records from any president,” including medical records and school transcripts, and thus would discourage people from running for public office.
This panel will split 2-1 again, because Judge Rao is a Trump toady. Trump will then appeal to the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, or to the U.S. Supreme Court.
By the time a decision occurs, Trump may no longer be president (after January 20), and will no longer be able to abuse the Department of Justice as his personal defense firm.
The Manhattan D.A.’s office is going to get Trump’s financial records, and I fully expect that the grand-jury is going to issue an indictment for financial crimes under New York state law early next year.
The good news is, Trump cannot be pardoned for state law violations. By this time next year, he could be wearing an orange jump suit.