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US Supreme Court to rule on release of Trump financial records

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Via Financial Times

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a trio of appeals involving demands for Donald Trump’s financial records, setting up a potentially blockbuster ruling on whether a sitting US president is shielded from investigation.

The court said on Friday it would hear oral arguments in the cases in March, meaning that a ruling would likely come by the end of June — while the 2020 presidential campaigning is in full swing.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court granted review of the President’s three pending cases,” Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Mr Trump, said in a statement. “These cases raise significant constitutional issues. We look forward to presenting our written and oral arguments.”

Mr Trump has argued that he is protected from legal scrutiny by broad immunity from federal indictment afforded to the president — a long-held US Department of Justice policy. But lower courts have largely dismissed that argument.

In October, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled that eight years of Mr Trump’s financial records must be handed over to the House oversight committee, which had sought the records from Mazars, Mr Trump’s accounting firm.

A month later, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said Mr Trump could not invoke presidential immunity to shield his tax returns from Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, who is investigating alleged hush-money payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with Mr Trump. 

And on December 3, in a separate ruling, the 2nd Circuit ruled against Mr Trump’s attempt to block subpoenas for financial records from two banks, Deutsche Bank and Capital One. 

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The Supreme Court will be Mr Trump’s last hope for stopping the requests. The high court currently has a slender 5-4 majority, including two justices who were appointed by Mr Trump earlier in his term, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

The cases set up yet another high-profile fight against a separate branch of the government for the president, who is about to face a vote on articles of impeachment in the House of Representatives. If the articles are approved, as they are widely expected to be, the impeachment case will then go to trial in the Senate — where John Roberts, the Supreme Court’s chief justice, will preside.

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