KEY POINTS

  • President Trump asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to block lower court rulings that would give the Manhattan District Attorney’s office access to his tax returns
  • Trump’s lawyers filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court asking the court to issue a stay, or suspension, of a grand jury subpoena demanding those tax returns and other financial records
  • The Supreme Court rejected Trump’s argument that his tax returns should be protected from the probe because of his status as president

President Trump on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to block lower-court rulings that would give the Manhattan District Attorney’s office access to his tax returns.

Trump’s lawyers filed a 38-page "emergency" application with the Supreme Court asking the court to issue a stay, or suspension, of a grand jury subpoena demanding those tax returns and other financial records.

A Federal District Court judge ruled that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office had a legal right to subpoena the tax materials and on Wednesday the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld the ruling. In September, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office suggested in a filing that it had grounds to investigate Trump and his businesses for tax fraud.

Trump’s lawyers in their filing Tuesday said “there is a reasonable probability that” the Supreme Court will take the appeal.

"Allowing this deeply flawed ruling to stand, especially given the prominence of this case, will needlessly sow confusion where none presently exists," wrote Trump's legal team. "The decision is indisputably wrong."

In the meantime, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has agreed to hold off on enforcing the subpoena pending the outcome from the Supreme Court. Vance had issued the subpoena in August 2019. 

In July, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s argument that his tax returns should be protected from the probe because of his status as president. A judge in that lower court ruled against Trump after his legal team had argued the subpoena was overbroad and issued in bad faith. 

Along with tax fraud, prosecutors in Vance’s office might be investigating bank and insurance fraud.

Trump has refused to publicly release his tax returns, even though more than four decades of former presidents and candidates released their taxes when running for office. 

Trump said he would not release his returns while under audit. However, there is no bar on disclosing returns while under audit.

The New York Times recently reported that Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and no federal income taxes in other years spanning back a decade or more.

The Times report also said that over the next four years, Trump faces debt repayments, that he has personally guaranteed, totaling more than $400 million.