The Supreme Court could hand down politically explosive rulings related to Donald Trump’s tax returns when it finishes out its term on Thursday – with decisions that could affect Trump’s reelection as well as any potential criminal prosecution.
After issuing two rulings on Wednesday, the court announced that its final rulings would come out tomorrow, which means the long-litigated issue of Trump’s taxes could get a measure of certainty if the court rules.
Among the major cases left, just three remain, including two cases dealing with Trump’s taxes and related issues of balancing executive power and the legislative function, as well as the force of grand jury subpoenas.
The Supreme Court is set to release its final cases for the term Thursday
One of the cases Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP, involves the accounting firm that three House committees slapped with subpoenas soon after Democrats took control. The court must decide whether the subpoenas fall under the broadly defined powers of Congress to legislate.
The other cases are Trump v. Deutsch Bank, AG and Trump v. Vance, named for New York District Attorney Cy Vance, who also hit the institutions with subpoenas for Trump tax information.
In the Mazars case, Trump faces the political risk of having detailed information about his business dealings and personal wealth revealed. In the Vance case, ‘there is at least some risk that the information sought might support a criminal indictment,’ according to a Brookings Institution analysis of the litigation.
Under Justice Department guidelines Trump is protected from prosecution while in office – but a defeat in November could expose him once he leaves the White House.
The court delivered victories to Trump on Wednesday, but has also gone against the administration on gay rights and immigration
Chief Justice John Roberts is preparing to cap off the court’s session
Manhattan DA Cy Vance is investigating ‘hush’ payments to porn star Stormy Daniels
Only a single Trump tax return – from 1995 – has been revealed, through a leak
Trump’s lawyers asserted ‘absolute immunity’ and refused to hand over tax return information and sought to block third parties from doing so.
Vance is exploring, among other things, whether Trump personally directed ‘hush’ payments totaling $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels after she claimed they had an affair. Longtime former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is serving a prison term on campaign finance charges related to the transaction, which he says was directed by Trump.
Trump said repeatedly during the campaign that he would release his taxes, then said he would so when they were no longer under audit.
There is no law requiring president’s to release their returns, although every president prior to Trump going back four decades did so.
Only a single year of Trump’s taxes has been made available following a leak to the New York Times.
Three Committees, including the House Intelligence Committee chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff, and Ways & Means chaired by Rep. Richard Neal, sought Trump tax return information
Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, describes in her new book how she decided to leak a trove of information to the paper for its in-depth look at how Trump and his siblings inherited wealth from their father, Fred Trump.
The Times concluded he engaged in ‘dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents.’
She writes that she gave the documents to the paper in 2017. ‘It wasn’t enough for me to volunteer at an organization helping Syrian refugees. I had to take Donald down,’ she wrote.