Politics Justice Dept. Urges Supreme Court to Back Trump in Tax Records Case
South Bay students rally for ‘Dreamers’ as Supreme Court takes up landmark case
Dozens of high school and college students rallied at Hillview Park in San Jose on Tuesday as the Supreme Court took up a landmark case that will determine the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The high court heard oral arguments Tuesday morning and will determine whether President Trump had the authority to end DACA in September 2017. The program gave more than 700,000 young undocumented immigrants deportation relief and work permits, allowing them to pursue higher education and professional careers.
The Justice Department filedon Friday urging the Supreme Court to hear President Trump’s appeal seeking to keep his financial records private. Mr. Trump is trying to block a subpoena from Manhattan prosecutors that would require his accounting firm to turn over eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns.
The brief did not adopt the broad position taken by Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers in— that he is immune from criminal investigation while he remains in office. Rather, the department’s brief said that courts should require prosecutors to meet a more demanding standard before they are allowed to obtain the information.
Read: William Taylor's opening statement at impeachment hearing
Read: William Taylor's opening statement at impeachment hearing(Pictured) Donald Trump, accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaks on Oct. 23 in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.
The brief took pains to say that there was nothing unusual about the department’s participation in the case, noting that it had previously filed friend-of-the-court briefs in cases in which Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton had claimed immunity in civil suits.
“The United States has a substantial interest in protecting the office of the president and the powers and duties vested in that office,” the brief said. “The United States also has a substantial interest in protecting the autonomy of the federal government from potential interference by the states.”
The subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Democrat, threatened both interests, the brief said. “This case involves the first attempt in our nation’s history by a local prosecutor to subpoena personal records of the sitting president of the United States,” the brief said.
New testimony ties Trump more directly to Ukraine pressure campaign
The acting ambassador to Ukraine described a phone call in which the president checked on the status of “the investigations.”William B. Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine, told lawmakers that the phone conversation between the president and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in Kyiv was overheard by one of his aides. Afterward, Sondland told the aide that Trump cared more about investigations of former vice president Joe Biden than other issues in Ukraine, Taylor said.
The subpoena sought information concerning the reimbursements made to the president’s former lawyer,, for payments to Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump. The president has denied the relationship.
A unanimous three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan,. The court, in a , said state prosecutors may require third parties to turn over a sitting president’s financial records for use in a grand jury investigation.
The Justice Department’s brief said that ruling was novel. “The United States is unaware of any precedent for the issuance of a state criminal subpoena for a sitting president’s personal records, and the district attorney and the courts below have never identified one,” the brief said.
“Leaving local prosecutors with unfettered authority to issue such subpoenas creates a serious risk that those prosecutors — prioritizing local concerns and disregarding significant federal interests — may subject the president to highly burdensome demands for information,” the brief said.
The solution, according to the Justice Department, is to insist that the prosecutors show that the information sought is essential to a pending criminal case and that it cannot be obtained elsewhere. To date, the brief said, Mr. Vance has made neither showing.
The Supreme Court is expected to announce in the coming weeks whether it will hear the case from Manhattan as well as a second one arising from a subpoena from a House committee.
“This court — not a lower federal court — should decide,” the Justice Department said, “whether the type of intrusion on the presidency at issue in this case is permissible.”
Trump Keeps Losing in Court. But His Legal Strategy Is Winning Anyway. .
Critics of President Trump cheered on Monday when a federal judge ruled that the former White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II must testify to Congress — and scathingly labeled “fiction” the administration’s arguments that top White House aides are immune from congressional subpoenas. Indeed, the outcome was the latest in a string of lower-court losses for Mr. Trump as he defends his stonewalling of lawmakers’ oversight and the impeachment investigation. Other fights are playing out in the courts over Mr. Trump’s financial records and grand-jury evidence in the Russia investigation.
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