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Thread: Will SCOTUS block Trump's tax returns?

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    Will SCOTUS block Trump's tax returns?

    Trump's lawyer says he is ''himself a branch of government'' and ''not to be treated as an ordinary citizen'' in blockbuster Supreme Court case over Trump's financial records

    Associated Press

    "The president is not to be treated as an ordinary citizen," Sekulow said. "He has responsibilities - he is himself a branch of government. He is the only individual who is a branch of government in the federal system."

    Multiple justices on both the liberal and conservative sides of the court pushed back on Sekulow's argument.

    "You are asking for broader immunity than anyone else gets," Justice Sonia Sotomayor said at one point.

    "He's the president of the United States. He is a branch of the federal government," Sekulow replied.

    "The president isn't above the law," Justice Elena Kagan said later.

    Sekulow: Constitution grants Trump 'temporary presidential immunity' from any investigation or prosecution.

    Justice Elena Kagan: 'These subpoenas are for personal records, where the president is just a man. They're not for official records, where the president might have executive privilege'.

    Reuters

    Last year, the president sued the Manhattan district attorney's office in New York to stop investigators from obtaining his tax returns as part of an investigation into his business activities. In arguing the case, Trump's attorneys claimed he has "absolute immunity" not just from criminal prosecution but from any investigation while in office.

    The House oversight, financial services, and intelligence committees also subpoenaed Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, and two of his banks, Deutsche Bank and Capital One, as part of an investigation into the president's potential conflicts of interest and foreign business ties.

    Trump then sued the oversight committee in federal court in Washington, DC, to block the Mazars subpoena, and he sued the financial services and intelligence committees in New York to block the subpoenas to Deutsche and Capital One. In these congressional cases, Trump's lawyers argued that Congress does not have a legitimate legislative purpose in examining his records and is going on a "sweeping" and "extraordinary" fishing expedition.

    In all three cases, lower courts rejected Trump's arguments and said the president has to turn over his records to congressional and New York state investigators.

    Now, the Supreme Court is Trump's last hope to stop the public from gaining access to his closely held financial records.
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    Re: Will SCOTUS block Trump's tax returns?

    I suspect what the Court will do is state that Congress has a right to this information under certain conditions and then outlines a methodology by which Trump can keep his taxes secret thru Election Day. In other words, they split the baby and protect their boy Trump in the process while pretending to back up the power of Congress.
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    Re: Will SCOTUS block Trump's tax returns?

    The Court will most likely rule that subpoenas and investigations can't be allowed willy nilly on the basis that it would distract the Executive Branch from it's duties, but that will just end up having the investigation sent back down to a lower court.

    Roberts is almost certain to be the deciding vote on this, and given his past record I doubt he's eager for a landmark declaration with a split court. He'll send it back and hope it's not brought up again before the election.
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    Re: Will SCOTUS block Trump's tax returns?

    Quote Originally Posted by haymarket View Post
    I suspect what the Court will do is state that Congress has a right to this information under certain conditions and then outlines a methodology by which Trump can keep his taxes secret thru Election Day. In other words, they split the baby and protect their boy Trump in the process while pretending to back up the power of Congress.
    That's why all the justices are using tough talk. Because it looks like they're about to side with NY State investigators. But it's a finger-wagging party to save gov face.
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    Re: Will SCOTUS block Trump's tax returns?

    They will rule that the House does not have presidential harassment power but they will also rule that some other authorities do have the power under certain circumstances, not blanket authority for witch hunts. The problem with the left is they can't get over the fact that there is no requirement for the president or candidates to turn over tax returns. The president is required though to turn over financial statements and Trump has done that. If people want to require that presidents release their tax returns then they have to pass a law on it and it can't be retroactive. You can't expect a court to allow something that isn't required by the law and you can't expect the court to authorize political authorities to be able to abuse their power for political purposes such as what the House wants to do.

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    Re: Will SCOTUS block Trump's tax returns?

    Quote Originally Posted by Moderate Right View Post
    They will rule that the House does not have presidential harassment power but they will also rule that some other authorities do have the power under certain circumstances, not blanket authority for witch hunts. The problem with the left is they can't get over the fact that there is no requirement for the president or candidates to turn over tax returns. The president is required though to turn over financial statements and Trump has done that. If people want to require that presidents release their tax returns then they have to pass a law on it and it can't be retroactive. You can't expect a court to allow something that isn't required by the law and you can't expect the court to authorize political authorities to be able to abuse their power for political purposes such as what the House wants to do.
    They want more than just tax returns, they want financial and bank records that they think will prove that Trump was using shell companies to laundry all-cash real estate deals for Russian Ogliarch's. The suspicion is that Trump sets up layers and layers of corporate structure to obfuscate his connections to dummy companies washing illegal money. It's also very hard to prove because of the staggering paper trail and the use of other names as primary participants.
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    Re: Will SCOTUS block Trump's tax returns?

    Trump's tax records are private. The Congress CAN subpoena under Article II sec.4 (impeachment) protocol, but they need a valid reason.

    Fishing expedition is not a valid reason.

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    Re: Will SCOTUS block Trump's tax returns?

    Quote Originally Posted by SkyChief View Post
    Trump's tax records are private. The Congress CAN subpoena under Article II sec.4 (impeachment) protocol, but they need a valid reason.

    Fishing expedition is not a valid reason.
    'Fishing expedition' is very subjective here, since there are plenty of suspicious transactions.

    However chose other, since the question is will SCOTUS allow congress to see the returns: not can or should. On that 'm leaning towards 'no' because often lately the conservative majority court has sided with Republican interests as much as any constitutional precedent. Could go either way. Depends if they suspect him of hiding anything. If they do, they won't.
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    Re: Will SCOTUS block Trump's tax returns?

    Quote Originally Posted by uptower View Post
    'Fishing expedition' is very subjective here, since there are plenty of suspicious transactions.

    However chose other, since the question is will SCOTUS allow congress to see the returns: not can or should. On that 'm leaning towards 'no' because often lately the conservative majority court has sided with Republican interests as much as any constitutional precedent.
    agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by uptower View Post
    Could go either way. Depends if they suspect him of hiding anything. If they do, they won't.
    If they "suspect" something without any supporting evidence, then it's just a fishing expedition.

    Thought experiment:

    My lawnmower is missing. I suspect my neighbor took it because he doesn't like being awaken by my barking dog at 3 AM, and has asked me several times to control my dog.

    Am I justified in calling the police dept. to search my neighbors house/garage for my missing lawnmower?

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    Re: Will SCOTUS block Trump's tax returns?

    Quote Originally Posted by SkyChief View Post
    agreed.

    If they "suspect" something without any supporting evidence, then it's just a fishing expedition.
    OK fair enough, 'suspect' on its own is not strong enough a word - it doesn't require a 'thought experiment' so much as a vocabulary review.

    To make it clearer: I believe when presented with evidence that makes the conservatives on SCOTUS suspect the president is hiding something, they'll rule in his favor, because lately they err on the side of Republican interests over the constitution.

    And since the whole countersuit to avoid releasing the returns pretty much means he's hiding something - emoluments violations, tax dodges, laundering for oligarchs; it's easy lose track depending on which branch of govt is doing the suit - there's a strong chance they'll let him off on this one, which of course sets the precedent for the other challenges of a similar nature.

    If there was no evidence to support it, it wouldn't have gotten this far, and the president wouldn't be fighting it so hard. Cases do not go straight to the supreme court do they?

    NB: Slight OT, but perhaps one day if the conservatives no longer have a SCOTUS majority a Democratic president will use that same precedent to his advantage and the show will be on the other foot. If the GOP still holds it, I imagine they'll simply ignore their own precedent and rule against a Democratic president because there is no need for consistency it serves conservative interests.
    Last edited by uptower; 05-14-20 at 05:09 PM.
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