The Supreme Court rules that New York prosecutors can review Donald Trump’s financial records.
The Court stopped short of allowing House legislators to see the records. It returned the case to lower courts to consider if Congress should narrow the scope of the information being sought.
Both decisions were 7-2. Conservative justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, both Trump appointees, joined Chief Justice John Roberts and the bench’s four moderate judges.
Roberts wrote for the majority, “No citizen, not even the President, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding.”
Trump’s lawyers could still object to the scope and relevance of the subpoena seeking the records.
Roberts rejected the argument that the President is immune from legal oversight: “200 years of precedent establish that Presidents, and their official communications, are subject to judicial process, even when the President is under investigation”.
Kavanaugh added, “In our system of government, as this court has often stated, no one is above the law. That principle applies, of course, to a President.”
New York prosecutors have subpoenaed Trump’s accounting firm Mazars USA for eight years of business and personal tax records. They are investigated the role of Trump and the Trump Organization in hush-money payments, in the run-up to the 2016 election, to cover up Trump’s affairs.
Trump’s long-time lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen paid $130,000 to the porn star Stormy Daniels in October 2016. Trump had sex with Daniels in 2006, about 18 months after he married his third wife Melania and soon after the birth of their son Barron.
Through Cohen, Former Playboy model Karen McDougal was paid $150,000 by David Pecker, the CEO of the tabloid National Enquirer and a Trump friend. The hush money sought to bury the story of her 10-month affair with Trump in 2006-2007.
Mazars USA has said it will comply with court rulings.
Trump’s Twitter Screams
Trump screamed at the judges in a series of tweets, linking the decision to the Mueller Report’s finding that his campaign cooperated with Russian officials in 2016.
The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue. This is all a political prosecution. I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2020
He added all-caps shouts: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”, “PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT!”, and “POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”. He declared the Obama Administration “totally corrupt”, falsely accusing it of spying on his 2016 campaign. He complained that he was being victimized: “Courts in the past have given ‘broad deference’. BUT NOT ME!”
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said after the ruling:
This is a tremendous victory for our nation’s system of justice and its founding principle that no one — not even a president — is above the law. Our investigation, which was delayed for almost a year by this lawsuit, will resume, guided as always by the grand jury’s solemn obligation to follow the law and the facts, wherever they may lead.