U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared divided over President Donald Trump’s bid to prevent congressional Democrats from obtaining his financial records, however appeared open towards a New York prosecutor’s attempt to secure similar records.
The majority signaled concern about improper “harassment” of Trump, by three Democratic-led House of Representatives committees seeking his records. In the New York case, the conservative justices joined the court’s liberals in indicating skepticism toward broad arguments by Trump’s lawyer for complete immunity from criminal investigation for a sitting president.
The subpoenas during the teleconference arguments lasted about three hours and 20 minutes were issued to third parties – an accounting firm and two banks – and not to the President himself, though he sued to block them. There is a possibility the court will not simply allow or disallow enforcement of the subpoenas but rather impose tighter standards for issuing subpoenas for the personal records of a sitting president and send the matter back to lower courts to reconsider. This course of action could delay an ultimate decision on releasing the records until after the election.
The court’s 5-4 majority includes two justices appointed by Trump.