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Next week two important cases will be decided by the U. S. Supreme Court which will have a major impact on whether Trump’s Presidency will survive: Trump v Mazars, USA and Trump v Vance. The issue: Can a House committee and/or a New York grand jury require Trump’s accountants and bankers to turn over records revealing his personal tax returns, and his financial transactions with the Russians and others?

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Trump’s lawyers argue that his status as President provides him with “absolute immunity” from such subpoenas and requests. The House Democrats maintain that Congress has a nearly limitless right to demand such confidential information in order to carry out their constitutionally-mandated oversight of the President and in order to conduct their investigations.

New York’s prosecutors are looking into Trump’s alleged hush-hush payments to Stormy Daniels and others, and maintain that the New York grand juries have extremely broad authority to subpoena such records.

New York’s prosecutors are looking into Trump’s alleged hush-hush payments to Stormy Daniels and others, and maintain that the New York grand juries have extremely broad authority to subpoena such records.

In past decisions, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against Presidents who claimed immunity when they resisted such requests: In 1974, President Nixon was forced to turn over the Watergate tapes to Congressional investigators, and in 1997, President Clinton lost when he claimed temporary immunity while President from responding to a sexual harassment lawsuit by Paula Jones.

Although not required by any law, all recent Presidents have provided their tax returns to show that they were committed to be the President for all Americans and not just to line their own pockets with wealth derived from their power as President. But Trump is different: he has refused to turn over such financial information for public scrutiny, despite having promised repeatedly to do so during the 2016 election and thereafter.

Why? I, and others, maintain that if his financial records are disclosed publicly, it will show conclusively that he is completely indebted financially to Russian oligarchs closely tied to Putin. If these oligarchs pull the plug, Trump’s business empire will collapse, and he will be financially ruined. As a result, Trump is a “useful idiot” to Putin, and in being beholden to the Russian dictator is a traitor to the America he swore under oath to protect as President.

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The fallacy of Trump’s position is that the subpoenas are not to Trump or the Trump Organization, but to his accountant and bank. There is no burden or impact on his businesses or Presidency.

As the Vance lawyers seeking the Mazars documents argue, Trump “contends that, during his term of office, Article II and the Supremacy Clause provide complete and categorical immunity from any criminal process that implicates his conduct…He is incorrect. Both provisions protect a President only against interference with official conduct. Neither provides broad immunity from scrutiny of private acts.”

In the May, 2020 oral arguments in the two cases seeking Trump’s financial documents, the justices did not sound like they will issue a unanimous decision. Their comments and questions revealed that the Court might issue a mixed decision or an opinion that was not a clear victory for either Trump or his enemies.

That would be unfortunate. A total victory for Trump would be a disaster for the country, and would render the Supreme Court as an unequal branch of government, subservient to the President. A hollow victory for Trump’s opponents would also reveal that the GOP appointments to the Court, especially Trump’s, have abandoned the rule of law and are only interested in rewarding the man and party that put them on the bench, as also happened in 2000 in Bush v Gore.

Supremes, grow some courage, like your predecessors in the Nixon and Clinton cases (and some of you were on the Court for the Clinton case), and rule against this unworthy President. Do the right thing…


Ted Vaill

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