The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Trump cannot keep his financial records from a New York prosecutor, but the tax documents will likely be kept from public scrutiny because of grand jury secrecy rules.
In a separate decision, the court said Congress can't see those records, at least for the time being. The vote in both cases was 7 to 2, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing both majority opinions.
"Two hundred years ago, a great jurist of our court established that no citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding," Roberts wrote.
"We reaffirm that principle today and hold that the president is neither absolutely immune from state criminal subpoenas seeking his private papers nor entitled to a heightened standard of need."
Trump, through his personal legal team, has refused to comply with subpoenas from New York City's Manhattan district attorney seeking information from his accountant and bankers.
The subpoenas from Cyrus Vance Jr. are part of a criminal probe of alleged hush-money payments that Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, said were made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
The women say they had affairs with Trump, which he has denied. Two lower courts upheld the subpoenas.
"This is a tremendous victory for our nation’s system of justice and its founding principle that no one, not even a president, is above the law," said Vance. "Our investigation, which was delayed for almost a year by this lawsuit, will resume, guided as always by the grand jury’s solemn obligation to follow the law and the facts, wherever they may lead.”
The president and his attorneys had rejected Vance's efforts to obtain his financial records, saying Trump had "absolute immunity" from state criminal proceedings while in office.
The high court rejected that claim.