WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocked Donald Trump’s tax returns from being turned over to House Democrats on Tuesday in an effort to give the Supreme Court time to consider the issues involved in the former President’s emergency appeal that his legal team filed on Monday.
Prior to the court’s intervention, Trump’s returns could have been turned over by the Treasury Department to the House Ways and Means Committee – which has been fighting to get their hands on Trump’s taxes since 2019 – as early as Thursday.
Roberts has given Committee members until November 10 to respond to his ruling.
Previously, lower courts had ruled that the Ways and Means Committee had the right to procure Trump’s returns, but the former Commander-in-Chief has maintained that House Democrats had been acting beyond their authority.
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With this development, there is now the possibility that Trump could delay the Supreme Court’s final decision until after the next session of Congress convenes in January; if Republicans manage to re-take control of the House after the November mid-term elections, they would most likely rescind the request for Trump’s taxes.
The House Ways and Means Committee originally asked for copies of Trump’s tax returns in 2019 while investigating the Internal Revenue Service’s audit program and the former President’s compliance with income tax laws; under federal law, federal lawmakers may request the tax returns of any citizen, within reason.
At the time of the original request, then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin chose to withhold Trump’s taxes from the Committee, defending his decision to do so by claiming that Democrats were requesting them for partisan reasons; the issue then progressed via a long-running lawsuit, with Trump arguing that he had broad immunity as President of the United States.