SCOTUS to decide legality of subpoenas for Trump’s financial records

The U.S. Supreme Court signaled that it will hear arguments in three cases involving the question of whether President Donald Trump can keep his financial and tax records private, with a ruling expected in June — well before the 2020 election, according to Breitbart.

Trump has lost multiple appeals on whether Capital One, Deutsche Bank and longtime Trump accounting firm Mazars USA must comply with subpoenas from Congress and from the Manhattan district attorney ordering the release of financial records that the president insists should remain private.

Enforcement of the subpoenas would not necessarily make the tax records public, but it would increase the likelihood of them being leaked, given the number of politicians — many of them strongly opposed to Trump’s leadership — who would have access to them.

Serious concerns

While none of the lower court decisions have yet gone Trump’s way, at least one appeals court judge agreed with the president that the subpoenas are “troubling” because they don’t make distinctions between personal records and those related to businesses.

Judge Debra Ann Livingston also said that the president’s attorneys raised legitimate issues about whether a president should be dogged with constant investigations while trying to lead the country.

It is far from certain that the Supreme Court will rule in Trump’s favor on the matter. The issues are complicated, which is why Trump has continued to fight all of the subpoenas up to this point.

Public perception

There has been speculation that huge business losses in the past have resulted in the billionaire having no tax liability for a number of years and that voters might view that tax status as unfair, ultimately taking it out on Trump at the polls.

Democrats would undoubtedly use a scenario such as this to try to gain political advantage by waging class warfare against Trump for the offense of being wealthy.

While Trump could certainly be damaged politically if it turns out that he has exploited legal loopholes to avoid high taxation, some Democrats have already accused him of doing just that without any proof.

It may well be the case that enough of the president’s supporters would find that savvy application of the tax code by then-businessman Trump was a perfectly justifiable strategy and would readily acknowledge that business losses are routinely utilized in this way to reduce tax liability.

However, Trump likely doesn’t want to take the chance of being branded a billionaire who doesn’t pay taxes or of using his wealth to gain unfair advantages. He also doesn’t want to expose his children and others to scrutiny just because of their association with his business endeavors.

The implications of this case for future presidents are significant indeed, and court watchers and political pundits alike are eagerly anticipating final resolution of the matter.

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