AP EXPLAINS: Public won’t see Trump’s tax documents for now

Political News
Bill Christeson

Bill Christeson holds up a sign that reads “Follow the Money” outside the Supreme Court, Thursday, July 9, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday in two cases involving access to President Donald Trump’s financial records. The cases were the last to be released of the high court’s term, which dragged into July because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s a look at the decisions in the Trump cases:

WHAT HAPPENED?

One case had to do with whether Congress could get access to Trump’s financial records. The other case had to do with whether prosecutors in New York could get them.

The records requests were nearly identical, except the request from the Manhattan district attorney specifically included Trump’s taxes.

In the case involving Congress, the Supreme Court’s 7-2 ruling ruling returns the case to lower courts, and it’s unclear how quickly the case might be resolved. The outcome is at least a short-term victory for Trump, who has strenuously sought to keep his financial records private.

In the New York case, also a 7-2 ruling, the court rejected broad arguments by Trump’s lawyers and the Justice Department that the president is immune from investigation while he holds office. The Manhattan district attorney is conducting a criminal investigation that includes hush money payments to women who claim they had affairs with Trump.

DOES THIS MEAN THE RECORDS WILL BE RELEASED PUBLICLY SOON?

No. The decisions will keep Trump’s tax returns, banking records and other financial documents out of the public eye for the time being. Congress’ fight goes back to a lower court so there is likely no chance the records will be handed over before the November election.

The New York case also goes back to a lower court, but the justices upheld the Manhattan district attorney’s demand for Trump’s tax returns. However, the returns are being sought as part of a grand-jury investigation. Because the grand jury process is confidential, Trump’s taxes normally would not be made public.

WHAT DID TRUMP HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE OUTCOMES?

Trump didn’t seem too happy. The Republican president quickly took his frustration with the outcomes to Twitter. He wrote: “The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue. This is all a political prosecution … now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!”

He continued: “Courts in the past have given ‘broad deference’. BUT NOT ME!”

And he suggested the court was treating him differently: “Now the Supreme Court gives a delay ruling that they would never have given…for another President.”

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