Split decisions on Trump financial records
by Seth Johnson
Posted 7/09/20, 12:50 pm
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled for and against President Donald Trump in separate decisions about the release of his financial records. A 7-2 vote decided each case, with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissenting and Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinions.
What happens now? In Trump v. Vance, a prosecutor in New York City may obtain financial information from the president’s accounting firm, meaning a higher standard isn’t required to subpoena a sitting president in a criminal case. Prosecutor Cyrus Vance’s inquiry into payments from the president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to women who claimed to have had extra-marital affairs with Trump will continue under the oversight of a grand jury. Because grand jury proceedings are secret, the president’s financial records likely won’t become public anytime soon.
The justices also blocked three congressional committees from issuing four subpoenas for financial records in Trump v. Mazars USA, LLC, sending the case back to the lower courts for continued litigation. They told those courts to give careful consideration to the case’s potential to affect the separation of powers in the federal government.
Dig deeper: Read Harvest Prude’s report on the cases’ oral arguments.
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Seth is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute student course.