In a major setback for President Donald Trump, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday authorized the New York City District Attorney’s Office to access his personal and corporate tax returns after a lengthy court battle that has dragged on for years. The ruling means that the president will not enjoy immunity from judicial investigations, even if he is in office.
Trump fought to the end to be the only president in decades who does not make his tax returns public. His true fortune is a mystery to this day. The ruling was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative justice, who said that “no citizen, not even the president, is above the common duty of presenting evidence to a court when it is required of him by criminal process”.
This particular case is part of a larger case that began with the investigation of allegedly paying black money to porn actresses and models with whom the president had extramarital affairs. Trump is being investigated by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. This Thursday he said the Supreme Court ruling assumes that “no one, not even a president, can be above the law”. For all practical purposes, that tax data will go only to that same New York City prosecutor’s office, whose inquiries are theoretically confidential.
In a separate decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday denied the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives access to those tax returns, which were central to other separate investigations launched on Capitol Hill for political reasons. The tax documents that the Democrats in the House had requested are those relating to income tax returns of Trump and other members of his family, in addition to his businesses. Those data would undoubtedly have had a direct effect on the election campaign leading up to the presidential election on November 3. The House requested these documents from Deutsche Bank and Capital One, and from the company that has been keeping accounts for the current president since 2009, Mazars USA. The latter is also cited in the case of the New York prosecutor’s office.