US Supreme Court says prosecutors can see Trump’s financial records

US Supreme Court says prosecutors can see Trump's financial records
Trump said Supreme Court ruling about his financial records a 'witch hunt' and 'hoax'. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: The US Supreme Court has ruled that President Donald Trump’s financial records can be examined by prosecutors in New York. The court ruled in a related case that this information did not have to be shared with Congress.

Mr Trump has been denying his tax returns to the public and come under fire for not making it public like his predecessors.

The President’s lawyers had argued that he enjoyed total immunity while in office and that Congress had no valid justification to seek the records.

Two House of Representatives committees and New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance are demanding the release of his tax returns and other information. The House is democrat controlled and Mr Cyrus is also a Democrat.

Mr Trump denies wrongdoing and has called the investigation into his tax affairs a “witch hunt”.

Following the court rulings, he wrote a series of tweets. “The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue. This is all a political prosecution,” he tweets.

What do the rulings mean?

In the case regarding the request from the New York prosecutors, the Supreme Court ruled by a majority of seven to two that the president did not have absolute immunity from criminal investigation.

The court said: “Two hundred years ago, a great jurist of our Court established that no citizen, not even the President, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding.”

But the two cases regarding Congressional committees were closely watched, as the cases could have had implications on how far the lawmakers could scrutinise the activities of a sitting president.

The court ruled that Congress had significant, but not limitless, power to request the president’s personal information. In this case, the supreme court returned the case to the lower courts.

Why do Trump’s tax returns matter?

Two of the cases centred on the ability of the House intelligence, oversight and financial services committees to compel Mazars USA and Deutsche Bank, Mr Trump’s long-time accounting firm, to turn over his tax and financial documents.

The committees argued that they needed these documents to determine whether current conflict-of-interest laws on a US president were sufficiently rigorous.

The case of Trump v Vance was based on Attorney Cyrus Vance’s criminal subpoena – an order to hand over evidence.

Mr Vance argued that the president’s financial records were needed to determine if financial records had been doctored to cover up hush-money payments to two women in 2016 who say they had affairs with Mr Trump.