Supreme Court rules on Trump's financial records

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3:30 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

If you're just tuning in, here's what you need to know about today's SCOTUS rulings

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Supreme Court issued rulings in two cases related to President Trump's financial records this morning.

If you're just tuning in now, here's what you need to know about the rulings:

  • The case about House subpoenas: The Supreme Court blocked House Democrats from accessing Trump's financial records for now, sending the case back down to the lower court for further review.
  • The case about the New York subpoena: Justices ruled that the President is not immune from a subpoena for his financial documents from a New York prosecutor. This case was also sent to a lower court for further review.
  • What this means for Trump's financial records: Since the cases will be handled at lower courts, it all but ensures that Trump's financial documents — which he has long sought to protect — will not be handed over before the November presidential election.
  • How Trump is reacting: Trump sent multiple tweets after the rulings were released. He claimed the court gave him a "delayed ruling" that they "never would have given" to another president. Later on in the day, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called the ruling “a win” for Trump. She said that in his tweets, Trump “was making a general point about deference on the principal of absolute immunity." She added that the President believes "there should have been more deference there.” Remember: In both cases, both of Trump's appointees — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — joined the liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts on the 7-2 majorities.
  • What House Democrats are saying: California Rep. Adam Schiff said the decision over House subpoenas will “only serve to delay” the committee’s probe, and called a delay “dangerous." Asked if she was disappointed Democrats won’t see the documents before November, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said what was at stake was whether the President is above the law. If the court had ruled in that direction, she said, “that would have just been devastating, to tell you the honest truth.” Pelosi added, “The victory is for the Constitution of the United States. The process will take longer, but that’s not what was truly important here."

2:57 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

White House says Trump still believes he's entitled to "absolute immunity"

From CNN's Kevin Liptak and Katelyn Polantz

President Trump still "stands beside the posture" he made on absolute immunity that was rejected by the Supreme Court on Thursday, his press secretary said.

"Where the President stands is he still maintains his initial position and he agrees with Justice Thomas in his dissent," Kayleigh McEnany said when asked by CNN's Kaitlan Collins whether Trump still believes he is entitled to absolute immunity.

After reading from Thomas' dissent, McEnany said the President "takes issue with the point that the majority made on absolute immunity."

Later, asked whether that meant Trump felt he was above the law, McEnany took offense.

"It's almost as if folks don't understand it's a legal term of art," she said, referring to "absolutely immunity."

What this is about: Supreme Court justices ruled today that the President is not immune from a subpoena for his financial documents from a New York prosecutor. This case was sent to a lower court for further review.

The 7-2 opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito filed dissenting opinions. The President’s two nominees voted in the majority.

Roberts noted that court was unanimous that there is no absolute immunity.

Roberts said, “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.”

In oral arguments early May, Trump's attorneys asked for "temporary presidential immunity" against the prosecutor's subpoena.

"Temporary presidential immunity," in the way the President's lawyers describe it, would mean that Trump (or whomever is president at the time) couldn't be investigated or prosecuted while holding the office of President. No subpoenas, no testimony, no indictments, if investigators sought those.

2:37 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

White House on SCOTUS ruling: "This was a win for the President"

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal 

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling “a win” for President Trump.

At a Thursday press briefing, McEnany was asked how the President feels about the justices he appointed and their votes that the President is not immune from a subpoena for his financial documents from a New York prosecutor.

“The justices are entitled to their opinion this is an independent branch of government,” McEnany said. “President Trump underscored to me, I was just in the Oval Office with him, that it was Justice Kavanaugh who pointed out in the New York state court case that there is unanimous agreement that this should be remanded to DC, excuse me to the district court, where the President may raise constitutional and legal arguments.”

“Also there was a note in the Roberts opinion that in the New York state case basically the grand jury said that they were prohibited from arbitrary fishing expeditions and initiating investigations out of malice or intent to harass,” she continued. “So that language made it very clear this was a win for the President.”

McEnany later said that the justices “essentially laid out a road map. His justices did not vote against him.”

Asked about the President’s morning tweets where he appeared to be unhappy with the decision, McEnany said Trump, “was making a general point about deference on the principal of absolute immunity.”

“He believes there should have been more deference there,” she said.

 

 

2:57 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

SCOTUS ruling on New York prosecutor's subpoena set to reignite investigation into Trump

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue, Devan Cole and Erica Orden

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

The Supreme Court's decision today in the case about the New York subpoena promises to reignite a criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney's office that started more than a year ago.

How SCOTUS ruled: The court ruled that President Trump is not immune from a subpoena for his financial documents from a New York prosecutor — but prosecutors will not get the records for now. The cases were sent back to lower courts for further review.

Latest on the investigation: Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's office has been examining whether Trump or the Trump Organization violated state laws in connection with hush money payments made to women alleging affairs with Trump.

The investigation has also looked into whether business records filed with the state were falsified and if any tax laws were violated, CNN has reported.

What comes next: On Thursday, Vance's office said its investigation had been delayed for nearly a year by Trump's lawsuit seeking to block grand jury access to his financial records, and said it would now resume, "guided as always by the grand jury's solemn obligation to follow the law and the facts, wherever they may lead."

Though the district attorney's investigation was hampered by lack of access to Trump's financial records, it has advanced in other ways in recent months.

Investigators have interviewed former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen as well as David Pecker, a longtime Trump confidante and the CEO of National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc., which admitted in federal court to having made payments during the 2016 election cycle to quiet a woman who alleged an affair with Trump.

1:21 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

Trump's attorney says they will now "raise additional" legal issues in the lower courts

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Jeremy Diamond

Jay Sekulow, counsel to President Trump, said in a statement that they "are pleased" that the Supreme Court has "temporarily blocked" Congress and New York prosecutors from obtaining Trump's financial records.

He noted that they will now proceed to "raise additional" Constitutional and legal issues in the lower courts where the cases have been sent back for further review.

The Supreme Court today blocked House Democrats from accessing Trump's financial records, but ruled that the President is not immune from a subpoena for his financial documents from a New York prosecutor.

Sekulow represented Trump before the Supreme Court during oral arguments held in May. Sekulow told Justices that they were asking for "temporary presidential immunity" to prevent the President from having to release his financial documents following subpoenas.

Read Sekulow's statement:

"We are pleased that in the decisions issued today, the Supreme Court has temporarily blocked both Congress and New York prosecutors from obtaining the President’s financial records. We will now proceed to raise additional Constitutional and legal issues in the lower courts.”

2:41 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

What House Democrats are saying about the SCOTUS rulings

From CNN's Ali Zaslav, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats are reacting to the Supreme Court's rulings on President Trump's finances. In one of the cases, the court ruled that House subpoenas of Trump’s financial records will remain blocked, sending the controversial case back down to the lower court for further review.

In the case about the New York subpoena, the court ruled that the President is not immune from a subpoena for his financial documents from a New York prosecutor. This case was also sent to a lower court for further review.

Here's what some Democratic lawmakers are saying:

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Asked if she was disappointed Democrats won’t see the documents before November, she said what was at stake was whether the President is above the law. If the court had ruled in that direction, she said, “that would have just been devastating, to tell you the honest truth.” Pelosi added, “The victory is for the Constitution of the United States. The process will take longer, but that’s not what was truly important here."
  • California Rep. Adam Schiff: He said the decision over House subpoenas will “only serve to delay” the committee’s probe, and called a delay “dangerous." Schiff also said the "specific documents the committee has requested from Deutsche Bank are critical to its investigation of whether foreign actors, particularly Russia, have leverage over President Trump, his family, and his businesses, and whether legislation is needed to guard against such dangerous conflicts of interest and foreign influence."
  • California Rep. Eric Swalwell: He said "the walls are closing in" on Trump and while "he may have gotten a lease on this financial life for a short period of time ... it's pretty clear that the grand jury is going to see his taxes."
  • Pennsylvania Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon: On whether voters could see Trump's tax returns before election day, she said it's yet to be seen, but "the President's tactic has always been to delay ... he's shown no interest in being forthright with the American people, so I don't expect that to change."

3:56 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

Supreme Court rulings buy Trump time, CNN legal analyst says

CNN legal analyst Joan Biskupic said the Supreme Court decisions today were a win for President Trump in terms of "the time he buys."

Since the cases will be sent to lower courts for further review, it all but ensures that the President will be able to shield his financial documents from the public ahead of the November presidential election.

Biskupic added, however, that in the decision about the New York subpoena, there’s a “very strong” chance that Trump will eventually have to turn over the tax records to a grand jury. 

Watch her full analysis:

11:56 a.m. ET, July 9, 2020

Schumer on Supreme Court rulings: "Trump is not king"

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reacted to the Supreme Court's rulings, saying the court today "upheld a fundamental tenet of our democracy that no one is above the law."

Here's the full statement:

“No matter how much he wishes it to be true, President Trump is not king. In a devastating blow to President Trump and his enablers in the Republican party, the Supreme Court today upheld a fundamental tenet of our democracy that no one is above the law.
Sadly, today’s rulings are a stark reminder that while President Trump is actively undermining our democracy, Senate Republicans and Attorney General Barr are not lifting a finger to stop him—something that is not lost on the American people.”

12:36 p.m. ET, July 9, 2020

The Supreme Court also ruled on a case about Native land in Oklahoma today

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue

Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images
Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

As the Supreme Court handed down ruling on cases related to President Trump's financial records, the justices also issued an opinion on a case about Native American land in Oklahoma.

The Supreme Court said the large swath of eastern Oklahoma — which including Tulsa — is Native American land for purposes of federal criminal law.

Justice Neil Gorsuch penned the 5-4 opinion joined by the liberals on the bench.

"Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of federal criminal law," said Gorsuch, who was appointed by President Donald Trump. "Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word," he said.

Under the law, crimes involving Native Americans on a reservation are under federal, not state, jurisdiction.