With the recent ruling by the Supreme Court letting Manhattan prosecutor pursue Donald Trump’s financial records, it rejected President Trump’s bold claims of immunity from local law enforcement and congressional investigators, delivering a nuanced and likely landmark lesson on the separation of powers and limits of presidential authority.
In one of two lopsided 7-to-2 rulings, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. rejected Trump’s argument that he did not have to comply with a subpoena from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., and said Vance had authority to pursue the president’s personal and business financial records.
The court put a hold on the congressional subpoenas, suggesting overreach on the part of the lawmakers. The court sent the cases back to lower courts, where, the justices said, Trump also could challenge the specifics of Vance’s inquiry.
Under a 1924 federal tax law, § 6103 of title 26 of the United States Code, Congress may request copies of anyone’s tax returns. The treasury secretary is legally obliged to provide the tax returns, and there is no apparent legal mechanism to deny Congress’s request.
If a subpoena was issued by Congress for financial records, under what authority does the Executive Branch and treasury have to defy these requests? What are ramifications for defying congressional requests as the law is very clear yet what can be done? Normal citizens would be arrested for defying a subpoena. A law is meaningless if it has no teeth.
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