WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats vowed to keep up their fight to get access to President Donald Trump’s finances after the U.S. Supreme Court denied their request to see them as it ruled they must be shared with a New York criminal investigation.
The decision means voters almost certainly will not see Trump’s tax returns and other documents before the Nov. 3 election, when he will try to win a second four-year term.
Democratic leaders said the rulings showed that Trump is not above the law, while those investigating the president vowed that they would ultimately get what they were looking for.
“The vise is tightening. He may have avoided the political fallout in this election, but he doesn’t dodge the legal fix he is in,” Democratic Representative Peter Welch told Reuters.
Unlike other recent presidents, Trump has refused to disclose materials that would shed light on the scope of his wealth and his family-run real estate business.
The Supreme Court ruled that a New York prosecutor can get Trump’s financial records, but prevented, at least for now, the Democratic-led House of Representatives from obtaining similar documents. That case will continue in lower courts.
Trump said the cases were politically motivated. “It’s a pure witch hunt,” he told reporters.
His lawyers vowed to keep fighting. They had argued that U.S. presidents are immune from criminal proceedings while in office.
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told Reuters that courts routinely deny the type of objections that Trump’s lawyers would likely make. But Trump’s financial records would be subject to secrecy rules if it were presented to a grand jury, he said.
Trump still could face legal exposure if he is defeated in November and leaves office in January 2021. Opinion polls show Trump trailing his likely Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
House Democrats have been examining whether Trump’s business dealings involved money laundering or left him vulnerable to foreign influence. The court rejected the sweeping arguments made in favor of the House’s ability to investigate the president.
Several Democrats they were disappointed with the ruling but predicted they would succeed in the long run.
“I am confident our committee ultimately will prevail,” House Oversight Committee chair Carolyn Maloney said.
Trump’s Republican allies said both investigations are motivated by partisan politics.
“It seems much more political than anything else,” House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said at a news conference.
Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan, Karen Freifeld, Jeff Mason, David Morgan, Mark Hosenball and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell
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