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Supreme Court temporarily halts house bid for Trump financial records

Greg Stohr, Bloomberg News on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocked a subpoena from a House panel for President Donald Trump's financial records while the Supreme Court considers a request for a longer delay.

The administrative stay, which gave no indication how Roberts or the court might ultimately rule, came hours after the House told the justices it would accept a delay until the end of the month. The order from Roberts applies until either he or the court acts again.

The case is one of two Trump filed last week as he tries to keep his financial information secret. Trump is separately asking the court to consider his bid to prevent his tax returns from being turned over to a New York prosecutor.

The court could say in the next several weeks how it will handle the two cases, which threaten to pull the court into a deeply political dispute. They come as House Democrats press an impeachment investigation of Trump.

In the House case, a federal appeals court in Washington said the House Oversight and Reform Committee could subpoena eight years of Trump's records from Mazars USA, his accounting firm. The subpoena doesn't explicitly ask for Trump's tax returns.

The committee says it wants the documents because it is considering revising the federal ethics-in-government laws. Trump's lawyers say the primary purpose is law enforcement, something they say is beyond Congress's legislative powers.

The oversight panel issued the subpoena before House Democrats began their impeachment inquiry, and the request at least for now isn't tied to that investigation.

Roberts, who handles emergency matters from the Washington appeals court, told the House to file a response by Thursday to the request for a longer delay. That would let the justices discuss the matter at their scheduled private conference the following day.

 

In a letter to the court earlier Monday, House General Counsel Douglas Letter said lawmakers wouldn't object to an administrative stay that would extend the appeals court's existing halt until Nov. 30.

In the New York case, Manhattan District Attorney General Cyrus Vance is investigating whether the Trump Organization falsified business records to disguise hush payments to two women who claimed they had sex with him before he took office. In an appeal filed Thursday, Trump contends the president has broad immunity from criminal investigations while in office.

As in the congressional case, the subpoena is directed at Mazars and doesn't demand that the president himself turn over any documents.

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