Published: Fri, November 15, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump wants Supreme Court to block subpoena for his taxes

Trump wants Supreme Court to block subpoena for his taxes

In the appeal at the Supreme Court on Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that "presidential immunity" does not bar the enforcement of a state subpoena, "even when the subject matter under investigation pertains to the President".

President Donald Trump on Thursday asked the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to reverse a lower court ruling that directed his longtime accounting firm to hand over eight years of his tax returns to NY prosecutors.

"Politically motivated subpoenas like this one are a ideal illustration of why a sitting president should be categorically immune from state criminal process", Trump said in the appeal, filed by attorney Jay Sekulow.

He added, "We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will grant review in this significant constitutional case and reverse the unsafe and damaging decision of the appeals court".

NY officials had argued that the court in Washington did not have appropriate jurisdiction in the case but agreed to delay acting on any congressional request for Trump's tax returns until there was a ruling on the jurisdictional issue.

Sekulow vowed to go to the top court in the land after a federal appeals court ruled in early November to allow New York City prosecutors to proceed with a subpoena for records, including the president's tax returns. Trump has prevailed at the Supreme Court on major issues such as his travel ban on people entering the United States from several Muslim-majority countries, but some legal experts have predicted that he may not fare as well on cases focusing on his personal conduct.

Trump asked the Supreme Court to put the NY case on a fast track so it could be heard in the nine-month term that will end in late June.

The justices also could weigh in more broadly on Trump´s claim that sitting presidents can´t be prosecuted or investigated for crimes.

Trump sued New York's attorney general, tax commissioner and the House and Ways Means Committee in July, seeking an injunction to block the application of a NY state law known as the TRUST Act that could allow the Democratic-controlled House to obtain the tax returns.

A federal district court and an appeals court in Washington have both upheld the committee's authority to enforce the subpoena.

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Jay Sekulow, one of the president's attorneys, quickly signaled Trump would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. sought the records in a broader probe that includes payments made to buy the silence of two women, porn star Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal, who claim they had affairs with the president before the 2016 presidential election.

In the brief, Trump's lawyers wrote that the "Constitution's text, structure, and history all confirm that the District Attorney's grand-jury subpoena for the President's records violates Article II and the Supremacy Clause".

Trump could refile the lawsuit if the House committee makes a formal request for his tax returns or could file a similar lawsuit in another court.

A ruling against Trump would not require public release of the information.

When the accounting firm refused, Cummings issued a subpoena to Mazars in April seeking eight years of Trump's financial records and tax returns. Judges David S. Tatel and Patricia A. Millett rejected Trump's claim that the House subpoena should be blocked because it was allegedly aimed at law enforcement, not new legislation.

Vance spokesman Danny Frost declined to comment Thursday, saying the district attorney would be making its own Supreme Court filing next week.

Chief Circuit Judge Robert Katzmann said Trump hadn't shown that the subpoena would interfere with his ability to do his job as president.

A dissenting judge said in the October 11 ruling that Congress can't investigate whether the president broke the law unless it is invoking its impeachment power, something the committee hadn't done.

Trump's lawyer asked the 11-member appeals court to reconsider the decision, but that request was turned down.

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