1 big thing: Trump case at Supreme Court tests sweeping view of presidential immunity
President Trump’s steadfast refusal to release his tax returns — a fight that will culminate in Supreme Court arguments on Tuesday — has mushroomed into a showdown with implications well beyond his administration, Sam Baker writes.
- If he loses, the public will eventually see the financial records Trump has fought so hard to keep secret.
- If he wins, the presidency could be shielded from most accusations of crimes — and it'd be much harder to investigate future presidents.
Driving the news: The court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in Trump’s effort to block two sets of subpoenas for his financial records — one batch filed by a trio of House committees, the other by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance.
- Those subpoenas demanded a host of financial records from Capital One, Deutsche Bank and the accounting firm Mazars, mostly pertaining to business they did with Trump before he was president.
- Trump's personal lawyers will argue that neither Congress nor a state prosecutor had the authority to issue the subpoenas.
The other side: All the relevant committees, Trump’s lawyers said in a brief, "have acknowledged that the purpose of the investigations is to determine whether the President engaged in wrongdoing" — which, they argue, is impermissible.
The intrigue: Trump’s lawyers take it a step further. They're arguing not only that Congress didn’t have a legislative purpose here, but that if it had a legislative purpose, like stronger disclosure requirements, that would be unconstitutional.
- Such laws "exercise dominion and control over the Office of the President," Trump says.
Where it stands: Lower courts in this litigation have all ruled against Trump. And the Supreme Court’s key precedents on presidential investigations — cases from the Teapot Dome scandal to Watergate and Bill Clinton’s affair with Paula Jones — seem to work against Trump.
- What’s next: The Supreme Court is expected to rule by June.
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