The United States Supreme Court on Thursday inflicted a major setback on Donald Trump. It held that a New York prosecutor was entitled to claim a variety of financial documents from the President, including his tax returns.
However, it has blocked, for the time being, the transfer of these documents to Congress. These two decisions, taken each time by a majority of seven judges out of nine, should not allow American citizens to know more about the finances of the republican billionaire, before the presidential election of November 3 in which he stands.
The Supreme Court first reaffirmed that the president did not enjoy “absolute immunity” and that a New York prosecutor could ask him for evidence, in this case a whole series of financial documents, bearing on his business between 2010 and 2018, held by his former accounting firm Mazars.
No absolute immunity
“No citizen, not even the president, can avoid having to produce documents in the event of a criminal investigation.” “The president does not enjoy absolute immunity from orders from state justice prosecutors,” she added. But the investigation is overseen by a grand jury, a collective of citizens drawn by lot who operate in the utmost secrecy and, in theory, nothing should be made public.
In a second judgment, however, the High Court immediately blocked the transmission of comparable documents requested by Congress. She referred this request to the courts, asking the judges to take into account a whole series of criteria when assessing whether parliamentary orders were justified.
Unlike all his predecessors since the 1970s, Donald Trump, who made his fortune a campaign argument, refuses to publish his tax returns. Its lack of transparency feeds speculations on the extent of its wealth or on potential conflicts of interest.
The American president said he was the victim of “political lawsuits” following these decisions. “The Supreme Court refers the file to a lower court, the proceedings are continuing. These are only political proceedings,” he tweeted.
“I must continue to fight in a politically corrupt New York city,” he added, referring to the New York prosecutor who demanded a whole series of financial documents. “Unfair for this presidency and this government!”.