SUPREME COURT — TRUMP NOT ABOVE THE LAW — ON HIS TAXES
By John P. Flannery
TRUMP A LOSER IN THE SUPREME COURT — not above the law, not this time, but the DA gets the bigger win.
1. THE NY DA CASE. The Supreme Court decided in a bi-partisan vote of 7–2, that the President is not “absolutely immune” from a criminal investigation. No categorical immunity for Trump. Big loss for Trump. Watch Donald’s thumbs go on his twitter feed. The Supreme Court is not concerned about harassment directed at Trump from other DAs across the country. A 2nd argument by Trump found bogus by the Court Trump can argue to the trial court to narrow the production to the grand jury. He can argue about overbreadth or intrusive. The tax records, once narrowed, by the lower court decision, will be turned over to the Grand Jury in Manhattan. They will only become public if an indictment or other proceeding follows.
2. THE CONGRESSIONAL CASE. Actually there were four House committees, and the Court said that the President can’t say no, but there is separation of powers, and the request must be tethered to four factors including a legislative purpose and that is forwarded to a lower court to conduct that inquiry. This is an opinion disfavoring the Congress. The lower courts had not taken adequate concern when considering production by the President. So, again, this will not result in public production unless and until the lower court reaches that decision, so sometime after the election.
Since the 2016 campaign, Trump has promised to release his taxes when the audit is concluded.
Yes, that was in 2016.
This has raised all manner of suspicious rumors about what they might show, why he is withholding those returns, and prompted much public curiosity but also, more importantly, official inquiries. And it’s those official inquiries that ended up in the Supreme Court after lower courts reached decision unfavorable to Trump.
But no one is asking Trump directly for his taxes.
They are asking instead that the accounting firms and banks that work with Trump on his returns, and have the Trump tax returns, that Trump has refused to produce despite his campaign protestations, be surrendered.
There are two lines of attack, two public efforts seeking to obtain these returns.
First, the House oversight committee wants to investigate hush money payments to a porn film actress and whether Trump inflated his assets and obtain loans and reduce his taxes. The House wants it to consider legislation.
There were actually 3 House Committees making separate and similar requests.
Trump says the Congress has no legit need. The Supreme Court was concerned that the House may have made an overbroad request, and, unlike the DA’s request, the inquiry was not a criminal investigation.
The NYC DA Vance wants the information, 8 years of business and person tax returns, for a criminal investigation, looking into hush money payments made in the run up to the 2016 election when Trump was a citizen. Mr. Trump reimbursed Michael Cohen for the payments he made to quiet Stormy Daniels who admitted to an affair with Mr. Trump.
Trump says he is absolutely immune from criminal investigations while he’s President but the Courts questioned how could that be if there is no authority in the constitution for such a position.
The Bronx DA cited how Nixon was forced to surrender tapes of oval office conversations, in US v. Nixon, in 1974.
It appeared before the decision today that the NY DA had the stronger hand, and so the Supreme Court has confirmed that was the case.