The fate of President Donald Trump’s tax returns is finally in the hands of the top court in the land.
On Friday, December 13, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review three cases where the president’s tax returns and personal financial records have been shielded from the public, as well as Congress and prosecutors in New York Court. The Court announced that it will hear arguments in March and an outcome is expected in June. That would fall in the midst of Trump’s 2020 campaign for re-election to the presidency.
The Supreme Court’s decision to conduct the reviews also comes while politically-charged impeachment hearings are taking place in our nation’s capital.
The appeal to the Supreme Court is the final bid in Trump’s long-standing crusade to shelter his tax returns from prying eyes. The lower courts have consistently ruled against the president in prior proceedings.
The three cases involved in the reviews are as follows:
- The Manhattan district attorney issued subpoenas to the Trump administration as part of a criminal investigation of alleged “hush money” payments to two women claiming to have had affairs with Trump, which he has repeatedly denied. In addition, the D.A. subpoenaed Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, for eight years of his tax returns. Two lower courts upheld the subpoenas.
- The House Committee on Oversight and Reform also issued a subpoena to Mazars USA for various records relating to several of Trump’s family businesses and trusts. According to testimony by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, the business mogul repeatedly misstated his financial worth. As with the first investigation, two lower courts ruled against Trump.
- Finally, the House Financial Services Committee and Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas to banks, including Deutsche Bank and Capital One Financial Corp., pertaining to other records involving the Trump family. The committee is investigating reported efforts of Russia to influence U.S. elections. Trump continued his losing streak in the two prior court cases.
To further complicate matters, federal appeals courts in the D.C. and Richmond, VA recently heard claims that Trump violated the U.S. Constitution by profiting from official government visits to his hotels and other properties.
Now that the top court’s deck is stacked on the conservative side, including recent Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, the president is believed to have an edge in the penultimate legal battle. But there are no assurances as to what the justices will do, especially if they want to shy away from accusations of political favoritism. Stay tuned.