Taxes

Supreme Court Puts Hold On Release of Trump’s Tax Returns—For Now

Topline: The Supreme Court on Monday gave President Trump a temporary reprieve from handing his tax returns over to the House oversight committee, as the nation’s highest court decides how to proceed with that case⁠—plus a second⁠—seeking Trump’s financial records, after months of efforts made by lawmakers to obtain them. 

  • Roberts gave the House committee until Thursday to oppose whether a longer stay should be granted.
  • The House committee case is one of two being considered by the Supreme Court, with the second being a suit from Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance.
  • Both the House and Vance are seeking eight years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns from accounting firm Mazars USA, in order to gain insight on hush money payments made before the 2016 election.
  • The Supreme Court is expected to announce in the coming weeks whether it will take up either case; if it denies the appeals, Mazars said it provide Trump’s returns, but if the cases move forward, arguments would be heard early next year and the records would not be handed over.
  • Both cases were expected to reach the Supreme Court because Trump’s lawyers have appealed every lower court’s decision ordering the release of his financial records, which has kept them secret.
  • The justices are not required to hear Trump’s appeals, but are set to meet in private Friday to discuss the House committee’s case.

Crucial quote: The previous six presidents⁠—dating back to Jimmy Carter⁠—all released their tax returns, according to a federal district court appeals panel for the Vance case. This fact, said the court, “reinforces our conclusion” that releasing Trump’s tax returns is “unlikely to impair the president in performing the duties of his office.”

Key background: There are at least seven separate, ongoing efforts to surface Trump’s financial records. Two weeks ago, a three-judge panel ruled that Trump must hand his returns over to Vance. And the House committee case was tossed by another federal judge Monday, sending both cases to the Supreme Court. Trump’s lawyers have argued that sitting presidents are immune from all investigations, and accused the House committee of engaging in an improper criminal inquiry. Trump has repeatedly promised to release his returns, and has incorrectly claimed tax audits prevented him from doing so, among other reasons.

Tangent: The order was signed only by Roberts, but according to CNBC, such decisions are either made by five justices voting in favor, or by one justice⁠—pending a review by the full court.

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