Chief Justice Roberts Temporarily Delays Release of Trump’s Tax Records

Chief Justice Roberts Temporarily Delays Release of Trump’s Tax Records


Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on Tuesday temporarily halted the release of former President Donald Trump’s tax records to a congressional committee, and requested more briefings in the case.

Without the Supreme Court’s intervention, the records could have been turned over to the House Ways and Means Committee as early as Thursday.

Last week, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit declined to review previous decisions that find that legislators are the right to documents in the long legal battle. The court also said it would not put the release of the documents on hold while Trump’s lawyers seek Supreme Court review.

Roberts, the justice appointed to hear the emergency order by that court, put the release on hold and asked for a response from the committee at noon on November 10.

Trump’s lawyer Cameron Norris he told the court that if he didn’t put at least a temporary hold on the release of the documents, he wouldn’t have time to even consider Trump’s argument.

“The Committee does not urgently need the nominees’ information to be able to study generic legislation on the funding and regulation of future IRS audits of future presidents,” Norris wrote, saying the release of the records would cause to Trump “irreparable damage”.

The House deal for Trump records allows the accounting firm to decide what to release

In general, the Supreme Court has not been receptive to Trump’s claims that he should be allowed to keep private records and that he was immune from investigation while in office. The judges in 2020 upheld the right of Congress by subpoena that information with some limitations, and last year refused to block the release of Trump’s financial records for a New York state investigation.

Lawmakers have said they need Trump’s tax returns from his time in office to help assess the effectiveness of annual presidential audits. Trump has argued that Democratic lawmakers are on a fishing expedition designed to embarrass him politically.

“As a supposed attempt to study the presidential audit program, the request of the Committee was far from the goal,” his submission to the Supreme Court says. “President Trump was not subject to that program for half of the fiscal years in the initial request, and none of the business entities in the request have ever been. The request also plans to study a program that has covered every president and vice president since 1977, asking for information related to a single person.

But federal judges have consistently governed that legislators establish the “valid legislative purpose” required for disclosure.

The appeals court said Trump’s status as a former president figured into its decision; since all previous presidents for decades had voluntarily released their tax returns, the request was “minimally intrusive.” But even if Trump were still president, the court found that the request would not violate the separation of powers. The court was also unmoved by Trump’s argument that his tax returns could become public.

“Congressional investigations sometimes expose private information about the entities, organizations and individuals they investigate,” the panel wrote. “This does not make them unduly burdensome. That is the nature of investigative and legislative processes.”

Rachel Weiner contributed to this report.


An earlier version of this story misstated the deadline by which former President Donald Trump’s tax records could be given to Congress. It’s Thursday.

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