The U.S. Justice Department has given its support to President Trump in his battle at the Supreme Court level to prevent his tax returns from being disclosed as requested by a N.Y. prosecutor.
In a brief filed Friday, the Supreme Court was called on to hear Trump’s appeal to block a subpoena from Manhattan prosecutors who are attempting to obtain his financial records.
The swift court filing by Solicitor General Noel Francisco came only a week after Trump filed an appeal to reverse a previous, lower court ruling that requested Mazars LLP, his long-time accounting firm, to provide copies of over eight years of his tax returns to Manhattan prosecutor Cyrus Vance.
The November 4 ruling by the N.Y. 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals indicated that prosecutors were allowed to enforce a subpoena that demanded Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns from the years 2011 to 2018 be shown to a grand jury.
Francisco wrote in a legal brief that allowing the prosecutor to view the president’s tax returns would set a precedent that “may subject the president to highly burdensome demands for information” and “raises the risk that prosecutors could use subpoenas to harass the president as a result of opposition to his policies.”
According to the brief, “The United States has a substantial interest in protecting the office of the president and the powers and duties vested in that office. The United States also has a substantial interest in protecting the autonomy of the federal government from potential interference by the states.”
The brief did not indicate that Trump was immune from criminal investigation while in office, however, it did say that courts should require prosecutors to meet a higher standard, according to the Times.
The real question is whether the requested subpoena violates the U.S. Constitution’s powers of the president.
Prosecutor Vance, a staunch Democrat, is seeking Trump’s income tax returns for use as part of a criminal investigation into the president, as well as the Trump Organization, which is the president’s family real estate business.
The president’s lawyers have indicated that according to their interpretation of presidential immunity, Trump cannot be subjected to any criminal process while is the president.
Should the justices decide not to hear Trump’s appeal, the lower court ruling would stand, meaning that Vance could obtain the requested tax returns.
In addition, there is a separate case that involves President Trump that he is also fighting where House Democrats are attempting to obtain his financial records from Mazars. In this case, his lawyers have filed an emergency application at the Supreme Court, which could act at any time.
The Supreme Court is expected to make a much-anticipated announcement in the coming weeks as to whether it will hear the Manhattan case and another case regarding a subpoena from a House committee.