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Supreme Court sets arguments on Trump taxes, financial records in cases that could yield major rulings

Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a visit to auto-manufacturing supplier Dana Incorporated, on Jan. 30, 2020 in Warren, Mich. Copyright Brittany Greeson Getty Images
Copyright Brittany Greeson Getty Images
By Pete Williams with NBC News Politics
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The justices could issue important decisions on the power of the House of Representatives and the president.


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday that it has scheduled oral argument on March 31 for three cases involving access to President Donald Trump's financial documents.

His lawyers are challenging lower court orders, now on hold, that require his banks and accountants to turn over financial records to U.S. House committees and a local prosecutor in New York.

The cases could yield major rulings on the power of the House to demand records for its investigations and, on the other hand, the authority of a president to resist such demands. A decision will be announced by the end of June, just as the general election campaign heats up.

The court will decide whether Trump's accounting firm must respond to a grand jury subpoena obtained by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance. It seeks nearly a decade's worth of tax returns and other financial documents for an investigation of hush money payments made to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump, allegations the president has consistently denied.

The justices will also hear Trump's appeal of lower court rulings upholding subpoenas issued by the House Oversight Committee for documents from his accounting firm covering 2011 through 2018. The committee said it acted after former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen testified that "Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes."

Trump's lawyers contended that the House had no authority to subpoena records unless it seeks information for the purpose of writing laws. In this case, they said, the House was improperly acting as an investigative body in an action that implicates the president.

In the third case, Trump appeals lower court rulings involving subpoenas issued by two other House committees for financial documents from President Trump's accounting firms and two banks. The Financial Services Committee seeks a broad range of records from two banks that have done business with Donald Trump and members of his family — Deutsche Bank and Capital One.

The Intelligence Committee wants records from Deutsche Bank, explaining that it was investigating "potential leverage that foreign actors may have over President Trump, his family, and his businesses."

The president's lawyers said the subpoenas were extraordinarily broad, because they seek more than a decade's worth of documents and covering members of his family who have never held public office and ask for "virtually every financial detail that the institutions might have" about their private affairs.

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