The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday urged the Supreme Court to side with President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was ‘tipping point’ for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: ‘Everybody needs to chill out’ about differences between 2020 candidates MORE in his ongoing legal battle over the release of his tax returns.
The DOJ in a brief filed Friday called on the Supreme Court to hear Trump’s appeal to block a subpoena from Manhattan prosecutors who are demanding that his accounting firm release eight years of his financial records, The New York Times reported.
The brief, filed by Solicitor General Noel Francisco, says allowing Manhattan prosecutor Cyrus Vance to obtain the tax returns would create a precedent that “may subject the president to highly burdensome demands for information” and “raises the risk that prosecutors could use subpoenas to harass the president as a result of opposition to his policies,” Reuters reports.
“The United States has a substantial interest in protecting the office of the president and the powers and duties vested in that office,” the brief reportedly reads. “The United States also has a substantial interest in protecting the autonomy of the federal government from potential interference by the states.”
The brief did not say Trump is immune from criminal investigation while in office, but did say that courts should require prosecutors to meet a higher standard, the Times notes.
The filing comes a week after Trump appealed to the high court asking it to reverse a court order requiring his accountants to hand over his tax returns, marking a drastic escalation of his ongoing fight to keep his financial records private.
A week before that, a federal appeals court in New York said Manhattan prosecutors could enforce a subpoena against the president’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, for his personal and corporate financial records between 2011 and 2018.
The Supreme Court is set to announce in the coming weeks whether it will hear the Manhattan case and a second case regarding a subpoena from a House committee, the Times reports.