Supreme Court rules on Trump's financial records

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10:48 a.m. ET, July 9, 2020

How the nine Supreme Court Justices ruled on these cases

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled on two cases related to President Trump's financial records.

In one, the justices ruled President Trump is not immune from New York’s subpoena — but prosecutors will not get documents now.

They also blocked Congress from getting the President's records for now, sending a controversial case back down to the lower court for further review.

Each of the two opinions were 7-2, with Chief Justice John Roberts and both of Trump's appointees — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — joining the liberal justices.

Here are the seven justices on the majority opinion:

  • Stephen Breyer
  • John Roberts
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Neil Gorsuch
  • Sonia Sotomayor
  • Elena Kagan
  • Brett Kavanaugh

And these are the two justices who dissented:

  • Clarence Thomas
  • Samuel Alito

WATCH:

4:14 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

Supreme Court blocks Congress from getting Trump financial records

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue

House subpoenas for President Trump’s financial documents will remain blocked the Supreme Court said, sending a controversial case back down to the lower court for further review.

Chief Justice John Roberts also wrote this 7-2 opinion, and was joined again by Trump's two nominees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, both of whom penned concurring opinions. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito filed dissenting opinions.

uthe case: The case pitted the President's personal lawyers against House Democrats who say they need records from Trump's longtime accounting firm and two banks. The House argued that it was seeking the records from Mazars USA, Deutsche Bank and Capital One for the purpose of investigating whether Congress should amend federal conflict-of-interest and financial disclosure laws, as well as laws regulating banks.

Lawyers for the House stressed that the subpoenas are directed at third parties, not the President, and that the documents are unrelated to his official duties. Trump argued there is no valid legislative purpose for the documents, and instead the House is engaged in a fishing expedition to see if he broke the law.

Key moments from the oral arguments: In early May, Trump's attorneys argued that the House subpoenas were "unprecedented in every sense."

When a lawyer for the House argued in support of the subpoenas issued by three committees, several conservative justices zeroed in on whether the efforts by the Democratic-led house amounted to harassment of Trump.

For his part, Chief Justice John Roberts asked the lawyer about the limits of congressional powers and suggested that the House needed to take into consideration the fact that the subpoenas involved, not at an ordinary litigant, but the President.

The liberal justices, meanwhile, pounced on lawyers for Trump, suggesting that the court has long upheld Congress' power to investigate.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that every recent president has voluntarily turned over his tax returns. She pointed to past investigations concerning Watergate, Whitewater and Paula Jones.

"How do you distinguish all of those cases," she asked, adding that before Congress can legislate, it must investigate.

WATCH:

3:07 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

SCOTUS rules Trump not immune from New York's subpoena

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue

The Supreme Court on Thursday said President Trump is not immune from New York’s subpoena, but prosecutor will not get documents now.

Chief Justice John Roberts penned the 7-2 opinion, and was joined by Trump's two nominees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito filed dissenting opinions.

Roberts said, “we reaffirm that principle today and hold that the President is neither absolutely immune from state criminal subpoenas seeking his private papers nor entitled to a heightened standard of need.”

About the case: New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance had served a subpoena on Trump's long-time accounting firm, Mazars USA, for his tax returns as part of an investigation into hush money payments to two women with whom the President allegedly had extra-marital affairs pursuant to testimony of Michael Cohen. (Trump has denied the affairs.)

Key moments from the oral arguments: In early May, Trump's attorneys asked for "temporary presidential immunity" against the prosecutor's subpoena.

Several of the justices did not seem receptive to Trump's broad claims of immunity, pointing at times to court precedent concerning Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton that were relied upon by the lower courts that ruled against Trump.

Justice John Roberts asked a lawyer for Trump about the fact that in Clinton v. Jones, the court allowed a private citizen to bring civil suit against a sitting president.

"You focus on the distraction to the President" in this case, Roberts told a lawyer for Trump, but he said in the Clinton case, "we were not persuaded that the distraction in that case meant that discovery could not proceed."

Justice Sonia Sotomayor stressed that New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance was not targeting official acts by the President.

"You are asking for a broader immunity than anyone else gets," she told a Trump attorney.

And when he emphasized that the president is different than an ordinary litigant, Justice Elena Kagan shot back, saying: "The President isn't above the law."

12:30 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

SCOTUS has ruled on NY prosecutor's request for Trump's financial records

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue

The Supreme Court has ruled on whether a New York prosecutor can obtain the President's financial documents and tax records from his accounting firm and banks.

Here's what you need to know about the case:

  • Case: Donald J. Trump v. Cyrus Vance
  • The basics: New York seeks Trump's tax returns
  • What it's about: The case concerns Trump's broad claims of immunity, in a dispute arising from a New York prosecutor's subpoena to Trump's accounting firm for his tax returns and other financial documents. The subpoena seeks records dating from 2011 to the present day concerning transactions unrelated to any official acts of the President. One issue raised was related to alleged "hush money" paid on behalf of Trump to two women with whom he was allegedly having affairs. Trump has denied having affairs with the women. Trump's personal lawyers sued in federal court to block the subpoenas, claiming he has immunity from such criminal proceedings while in office. The Justice Department sides with Trump, but on more narrow grounds. A federal appeals court ruled against the President, sidestepping some of his more expansive claims.

WATCH:

10:15 a.m. ET, July 9, 2020

SOON: Supreme Court rules on Trump tax records and financial documents

Any moment now, the Supreme Court is expected to issue opinions on two cases this morning concerning access to President Trump's financial records.

The cases tackle whether Trump can stop the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives from getting his financial and banking records from his accounting firm and banks and whether the President can block a subpoena from a New York prosecutor seeking his tax returns.

At oral arguments, the justices focused on Trump's effort to shield his documents but they also prodded the lawyers to look into the future and gauge how an eventual decision will impact the separation of powers and the White House's broad claims of immunity.

WATCH:

9:43 a.m. ET, July 9, 2020

The Supreme Court may finally unlock Trump's financial records

Analysis from CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

It's the court decision that probably strikes more fear in President Trump's heart than any other.

The Supreme Court is set to decide whether Trump's accountants must turn his financial records and tax returns over to House Democrats and New York prosecutors investigating hush money payments.

Is he worth as much as he says he is? Where is he getting money from? What are his international business deals? Does he pay taxes at all? Or does he manipulate the tax code, as he's bragged of doing, to get out of it?

All of these questions could be answered by viewing the tax returns he's gone to such lengths to keep from public view.

The Department of Justice said during oral arguments there should be a different standard for the President than for everyone else. So this will also be a key legal test of Trump's attempt to wrap himself in a bubble of total immunity while in office.

Note: Trump is the only modern President to hide his tax returns. You can read Joe Biden's here.

Read more:

9:29 a.m. ET, July 9, 2020

Supreme Court is expected to issue opinions on Trump's financial records this morning

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue and Jamie Ehrlich

The Supreme Court is expected to issue opinions on two cases this morning concerning access to President Trump's financial records. The court announced on Wednesday that today is the final day of the term.

The release of any Trump financial documents before the election could be another bombshell for the President in an already dramatic year.

Here's what you need to know:

What the cases are about: The cases tackle whether Trump can stop the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives from getting his financial and banking records from his accounting firm and banks and whether the President can block a subpoena from a New York prosecutor seeking his tax returns.

Takeaways from the oral arguments: The justices in May focused on Trump's effort to shield his documents but they also prodded the lawyers to look into the future and gauge how an eventual decision will impact the separation of powers and the White House's broad claims of immunity.

Trump's attorneys argued that that the House subpoenas were "unprecedented in every sense" and they asked for "temporary presidential immunity" against a subpoena from a New York prosecutor for Trump's tax records.

"We're asking for temporary presidential immunity," Trump attorney Jay Sekulow told the court, defending against a subpoena from New York for the President's tax records.

Delays due to Covid-19: The Supreme Court has taken an unusually long time to complete its term this year, with decisions in three cases still under wraps more than a week after the justices would have typically cleared out its docket for the season.

The coronavirus pandemic can be partly blamed for the delay. Already, the justices broke tradition in May by holding oral arguments over the phone and broadcasting them live as much of the country was under lockdown.