By Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch
The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the Manhattan district attorney may access President Donald Trump’s financial and tax records, but the court turned back a similar effort by House Democrats.
The ruling in the case involving Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance was a blow to Trump, who has long sought to keep his records private, but it does not mean that those records will be released soon, since they are being demanded as part of a confidential grand-jury investigation.
The Supreme Court considered two sets of cases: a subpoena from Vance and subpoenas from three House of Representatives committees to Trump’s banks and his accounting firm. Vance’s subpoena sought eight years’ worth of Trump’s business and personal tax records.
In the Vance case, Trump’s lawyers have said he is immune from criminal investigation while in office. His lawyers have called the subpoenas from House Democrats “unprecedented,” though justices have disputed that, invoking prior Supreme Court losses by Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton when they sought to withhold information.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinions in both cases, which were each 7-2.
“In our judicial system, ‘the public has a right to every man’s evidence.’ Since the earliest days of the Republic, ‘every man’ has included the President of the United States,” wrote Roberts in the Vance case .
In sending the congressional case back to the lower courts, Roberts wrote, “the courts below did not take adequate account of the significant separation of powers concerns implicated by congressional subpoenas for the President’s information.”
Trump’s two high court appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, joined the majority in both cases along with Roberts and the four liberal justices.
Trump has refused to release his tax returns ever since he was a presidential candidate. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, meanwhile, has released his.
Reacting to the decisions on Twitter, Trump said, “this is all a political prosecution.”
House committees have sought records from Deutsche Bank /zigman2/quotes/203042512/composite DB +1.57% and Capital One /zigman2/quotes/204480509/composite COF -2.13% , as well as the Mazars USA accounting firm. Mazars also is the recipient of a subpoena from Vance. The committees subpoenaed the bank documents as part of their investigations into Trump and his businesses.
Vance and the House Oversight and Reform Committee sought records from Mazars concerning Trump and his businesses based on payments that Trump’s then–personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, arranged during the 2016 presidential race to keep two women from airing their claims of extramarital affairs with Trump.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.