KEY POINTS

  • U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether Trump's financial documents can be released
  • If they rule against Trump, it may give Democrats new ammo to seek impeachment
  • Democrats likely wouldn't seek impeachment again until after November

Even if President Donald Trump manages to come out from his impeachment trial with an acquittal, he’s not out of the woods just yet. This year, Trump could find himself with an even greater legal headache and a new push for impeachment.

On Tuesday, the Senate will begin its impeachment trial, which may well conclude in a matter of weeks. The general expectation is that the Republican-dominated Senate will vote against convicting Trump.

Even in this likely outcome, Trump is still facing inquiries over his financial records – which may prove to be a bigger problem for the president.

Last year, prosecutors in New York opened an investigation into hush money allegedly paid from the Trump Organization to women Trump had affairs with; as such, the company’s banking documents were subpoenaed. In a similar but separate investigation, the House of Representatives are hoping to determine whether or not the president and his family have benefited financially from Trump being in the Oval Office. Part of this probe has included subpoenas being issued to two banks, Capitol One and Deutsche Bank.

In both cases, Trump’s legal team has sued to prevent compliance with the subpoenas. While this tact has so far failed, last month the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear both cases later this year. Until the cases are most likely heard in March, the court has granted a temporary nullification on the subpoenas.

The importance of the Supreme Court’s decisions are difficult to overstate. If they rule to allow the release of Trump’s financial records, it could well reveal legally questionable banking activities – this, at least, is the hope of Hill Democrats.

If this does turn out to be the outcome, it could very well give House Democrats cause to pursue drafting new articles of impeachment for Trump. It’s not likely this would happen this year, as it’s unknown how long it will take for the Supreme Court to release its opinion – and seeking impeachment again so close to November would be extremely risky for Democrats.

In all likelihood, if the Supreme Court rules against Trump and Democrats believe the subpoenaed documents are incriminating, any move on impeachment would be predicated on how the Senate is configured following this year’s elections. If Democrats flip even just one or two Senate seats, a new push to remove Trump from the White House might actually look attainable – but not until 2021 at the earliest.

At a rally in the swing state of Michigan Trump said the economy would be his shield against any assault from the eventual Democratic challenger in 2020 At a rally in the swing state of Michigan Trump said the economy would be his shield against any assault from the eventual Democratic challenger in 2020 Photo: AFP / Brendan Smialowski