A pair of SCOTUS rulings handed down Thursday tell us that yes, President Trump has no immunity from valid orders to release his tax information, and no, Congress hasn’t justified requests from three House committees for a decade of Trump financial records.
The whole thing has been tossed back to the lower courts. So yes, a grand jury might end up forcing Trump to cough up the tax returns, and no, we probably won’t see them leaked from the House of Representatives.
The biggest rebuke of Trump’s “BUT NOT ME!” attitude came from Chief Justice John Roberts. From the LA Times:
“In our judicial system, the public has a right to every man’s evidence. Since the earliest days of the republic, ‘every man’ has included the president of the United States,” he said in the opening words of the ruling in Trump vs. Vance . “Beginning with Jefferson and carrying on through Clinton, presidents have uniformly testified or produced documents in criminal proceedings when called upon by federal courts.”
Roberts recalled the story of Aaron Burr’s 1807 treason trial in which President Jefferson was subpoenaed by Chief Justice John Marshal to turn over private letters Jefferson had received that implicated Burr.
“Two hundred years ago, a great jurist of our court established that no citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding,” Roberts wrote. “We reaffirm that principle today and hold that the president is neither absolutely immune from state criminal subpoenas seeking his private papers nor entitled to a heightened standard of need.”
Both decisions were handed down 7-2. My bet is we won’t be seeing Trump’s returns while he’s in office. The man is just too good at playing this game.