Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in Trump financial records case

In the three cases being argued on Tuesday, Trump has sought to prevent enforcement of subpoenas issued to his long-time accounting firm Mazars LLP and two banks, Deutsche Bank and Capital One, for financial records including tax returns.

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan told Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow, who also represented Trump in the impeachment hearings in January, that a "fundamental precept of our constitutional order is that the president is not above the law".

Justice Stephen Breyer pushed back on this argument, stating that it would take "time and effort" for the president to deal with subpoenas, even if they are for third parties, if he wants to "monitor" what documents are involved so he could determine if any privileges apply or figure out how to answer any questions. The ruling would make clear that a president, at least when it comes to information held by third parties, can not block House subpoenas.

Strawbridge said it was "difficult to imagine" a situation where that would be justified.

Faced with a tough hypothetical posed by Justice Kavanaugh, Letter wouldn't completely close the door on the possibility that the Congress could seek a President's medical records for a legislative goal.

Other House committees led by the Democratic majority have also issued subpoenas for Mr.

"Should a court be probing the mental processes of legislators?"

Abrams credited Trump lawyer Patrick Strawbridge and Principal Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall for good lawyering in a tricky spot.

"This has become a pitched battle", Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg observed, recognizing Trump's refusal to publicly release his tax records, as recent presidents have done.

But Roberts also said a House lawyer was proposing a "limitless test" that "doesn't seem in any way to take account of the fact that we're talking about a coordinate branch of government, the executive branch".

The subpoenas seek years of Trump's personal financial records, as well as those of the Trump Organization and his other businesses. The content of these records remains an enduring mystery of his presidency.

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Multiple legal experts, including former Justice Department officials, have written to the Supreme Court to highlight that a sitting president can not be charged in the performance of his duties, but that does not preclude investigations. Trump's lawyers have said the probes are meant to investigate the president for wrongdoing while the House said it was in pursuit of potential anti-corruption legislation.

"In your view, there's no protection for the objective of preventing harassment of a president", Samuel Alito said to congressional lawyer Douglas Letter.

Roberts also seemed sceptical of arguments by a House lawyer, Doug Letter, that legislators have broad authority to investigate a president for the objective of writing laws.

Trump's Supreme Court arguments draw on law review articles that will be very familiar to one member of the court.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor questioned the validity of using the president as a "case study" for potential future legislation.

"These are critical cases that are going to decide whether or not a president, in office, has presidential immunity for the duration of the time that he is sitting in office", Claire Finkelstein, the director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, told ABC News.

"Such a ruling would leave Congress with no mechanism for enforcing its subpoenas beyond its own coercive powers", Vladeck said.

Last year, the president sued the Manhattan district attorney's office in NY to stop investigators from obtaining his tax returns as part of an investigation into his business activities. But lower courts in Washington and NY ruled against the president in all cases, but those decisions have been put on hold pending a final court ruling. Trump has won key victories at the high court including over his hardline immigration policies but lost a big case a year ago regarding the USA census when Roberts joined the court's four liberals.

Rulings are likely within weeks, with Trump seeking re-election on November 3 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

What is the format for Supreme Court hearings conducted via teleconference ? Trump against congressional Democrats' attempts to obtain his business records and tax returns, which he refused to make public during the 2016 campaign.

In the grand jury case, Trump contends the president has complete immunity from criminal subpoenas while in office.

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