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In one of those cases, the court tossed the president’s risible claim that he enjoys “absolute immunity” from state criminal subpoenas while in office — potentially clearing the way for a Manhattan grand jury to obtain his tax returns from his longtime accountants.
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The Court also ruled that congressional subpoena power to investigate the president should be limited — but not eliminated out of hand, as Trump hoped.
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After the 2018 midterms, Democrats in the House sought to subpoena financial institutions for Trump’s records, and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance sought Trump’s financial records for a grand-jury investigation into whether Trump broke the law when he concealed hush-money payments to hide past affairs during the 2016 election.
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Most immediately, the order issued Thursday blocks more than a dozen subpoenas aimed at learning more about Trump's closely held private business transactions and which foreign and state governments have paid the Trump Organization.
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He has also claimed to have the “absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department” and, in the event the judiciary branch disagreed, “the absolute right to PARDON myself.” His attorney general, William Barr, and his own lawyers have made clear that this is the administration’s position as they have rejected both congressional and criminal subpoenas for information during the past few years.
The New York Times
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A 7-to-2 majority rejected the president’s claim of immunity from compliance with a state criminal subpoena, and the court also turned down his argument that state prosecutors and Congress should have to meet demanding standards to obtain a president’s personal financial information.
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Both cases address whether subpoenas seeking financial information about President Donald Trump’s business dealings, including his personal tax returns, can be enforced.
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“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.
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All nine justices agreed with the basic proposition that a sitting president can be criminally investigated and subpoenaed while still in office.
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The two jurisdictions sent subpoenas to various government agencies in late 2018, but those were put on hold while Trump’s appeal was pending before the 4th Circuit.