Washington — Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday temporarily suspended the release of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns to a congressional committee.
Roberts’ order gives the high court time to assess the legal issues surrounding Trump’s urgent appeal to the court on Monday.
Had Roberts not intervened, Trump’s tax returns could have been released by the Treasury Department to the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday.RELATED
Roberts gave the commission until November 10 to respond. The magistrate is in charge of urgent appeals in the national capital, where Trump’s tax dispute has been raging since 2019.
Lower courts have ruled that the commission does have the power to obtain the documents, and have rejected Trump’s claims that they are exceeding their authority.
If Trump can persuade the court to intervene in this case, he could secure a postponement of the final decision until the start of the next legislative period in January. And if the Republicans take control of the lower house in the November elections, they could abandon the request for documents.
The temporary extension granted by Roberts is the third order of its kind in recent days in cases linked to Trump.
The Supreme Court is also considering an urgent appeal from Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is asking to be excused from having to testify before a special jury in Georgia investigating allegations of illegal interference in the 2020 election by Trump and his allies.
The court is also considering the appeal of the president of the Republican Party in Arizona, Kelli Ward, who asks to be exempted from turning over phone records to the House of Representatives commission investigating the assault on the Capitol that occurred on January 6, 2021.
The Ways and Means Commission and its chairman, Democrat Richard Neal, initially requested the documents in 2019 as part of an investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) audit of the taxes delivered. by Trump.
Under federal law, the IRS can release a citizen’s tax returns to a small group of prominent legislators.
During the Trump administration, the Justice Department defended then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s decision not to release the documents to Congress. Mnuchin argued that he was entitled to withhold the documents because, he said, Democrats wanted them for political reasons. As a result, a lawsuit was filed.
Once Joe Biden was sworn in, the commission reviewed the request, requesting Trump’s tax returns and other data from 2015-2020. The White House took the position that this was a valid request and that the Treasury Department had no choice but to comply. Trump then went to court to try to stop the delivery.
Then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. obtained copies of Trump’s documents as part of a criminal investigation. That case also ended up in the Supreme Court, which rejected Trump’s arguments that he had immunity.