Trump must turn over tax returns, federal court rules

Chris Riotta
·3-min read
Donald Trump's fight to keep his tax records private appears set to head to the Supreme Court once again (REUTERS)
Donald Trump's fight to keep his tax records private appears set to head to the Supreme Court once again (REUTERS)

The battle over Donald Trump’s tax returns appears set to head to the US Supreme Court after a federal judge ordered the president to turn his financial documents over to state prosecutors in New York.

The president’s attempts to invalidate a subpoena for his tax records was rejected yet again on Wednesday when a district court judge in Manhattan ruled that a lower-court’s stay will remain in effect.

The ruling by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals allows Mr Trump’s team of attorneys to appeal to the nation’s highest court.

Mr Trump’s lawyers announced they intend to do just that in a statement shortly after the ruling was made on Wednesday, with attorney Jay Sekulow saying the president’s team would file for a stay at the Supreme Court.

It would mark the second time the president was forced to take his fight to keep his tax records private all the way to the Supreme Court for a second time in one year.

In July, the court ruled against the president in a 7-2 decision.

Mr Trump’s ongoing battle with the state of New York may not find a resolution ahead of the November election, despite today’s ruling effectively allowing the Manhattan district attorney to enforce the subpoena against him.

The Manhattan court said in its ruling this week it was rejecting the president’s claims that the subpoena was issued in bad faith.

“We hold that none of the President’s allegations, taken together or separately, are sufficient to raise a plausible inference that the subpoena was issued ‘out of malice or an intent to harass,’” the ruling stated.

Mr Trump’s lawyers attempted to argue that the request for his financial records were based in part on harassment. They pointed to the language in the subpoena mirroring that of congressional subpoenas issued by the Democratic-led House of Representatives.

The battle at the Supreme Court will almost certainly face renewed controversy following the death of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The liberal stalwart requested in a dying wish not to be replaced until a new president could be installed.

Mr Trump moved forward almost immediately with announcing a replacement for the late justice, however, marking his third opportunity to install a justice on the nation’s highest court. He has since officially nominated judge Amy Coney Barrett, seen as a conservative nominee. The Republican-led Senate has meanwhile all but vowed to confirm any nominee he put forth to the bench.