Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks House From Receiving Trump’s Financial Records

November 26, 2019 Updated: November 26, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court granted President Donald Trump’s request on Nov. 25, to temporarily block House access to his financial records.

The country’s high court announced (pdf) that it had granted Trump’s emergency stay to block a subpoena issued by the House Oversight Committee to require his accountants, Mazars USA, to turn over the records. There was no noted dissent from the court’s unsigned order. The president now has until Dec. 5 to formally file a full appeal of the lower court’s ruling.

Congressional Democrats had subpoenaed the New York accounting firm to produce the records in April. In October, a lower court ruled that the committee had the authority to subpoena the records from Mazars, while the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected Trump’s request earlier this month to reconsider the lower court’s decision.

The House Oversight Committee has argued that Trump’s case was too weak to earn a delay from the court.

The delay allows the justices to decide on the House subpoena and a similar demand from the Manhattan district attorney at the same time.

In the separate New York case, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., a Democrat, issued a subpoena to Mazars requesting Trump’s financial records in relation to a criminal case. Vance Jr. is investigating hush money paid to two women during the 2016 presidential campaign—adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Trump has denied the affairs and any other wrongdoing.

In a court filing to the Supreme Court, Justice Department Solicitor General Noel Francisco said in the 28-page Nov. 22 filing (pdf) that the justices should block Vance Jr. from getting the documents.

Francisco argues that courts haven’t even required Vance to show he needs the documents for his investigation and that “state grand jury subpoenas seeking the president’s personal records raise serious constitutional concerns.”

“Leaving local prosecutors with unfettered authority to issue such subpoenas creates a serious risk that those prosecutors—prioritizing local concerns and disregarding significant federal interests—may subject the President to highly burdensome demands for information. Leaving local prosecutors with such unfettered authority also raises the risk that prosecutors could use subpoenas to harass the President as a result of opposition to his policies,” Francisco argued.

The Supreme Court’s decision about whether to take up the appeal cases is expected by mid-January, which means the financial records might not play a role in the House’s impeachment inquiry proceedings against the president. House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) announced on Monday that his committee had begun preparing a report summarizing the evidence from the impeachment probe hearings and will pass control of the probe to the House Judiciary Committee.

If the high court decides to reject Trump’s appeals, the House and Vance would be able to enforce their subpoenas immediately, according to the order. If the court decides to take up the appeals, it is likely to be argued this term, and a decision could be issued by late June, at the end of the term.

Mazars previously told The Epoch Times that it would “respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Janita on Twitter: @janitakan
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