The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday said that two Supreme Court rulings that paved the way for investigators to obtain Donald Trump's financial records were actually wins for Trump.

"The justices did not rule against him," McEnany said, hours after the high court handed down two 7-2 rulings rejecting Trump's claim that he is immune from being investigated while he holds office.

In the first case, Trump v. Vance, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., who is seeking Trump's tax and business records as part of a criminal investigation into his business dealings and hush-money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign.

"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. 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," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, which was joined by the liberal justices. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, joined by Justice Neil Gorsuch, submitted a concurring opinion. Only Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito filed dissenting opinions.

In the second case, Trump v. Mazars, the Supreme Court considered whether Congress has a right to subpoena financial records from Trump, as it has been seeking to do for over a year.

While the court didn't immediately grant Congress the right to demand the documents, Roberts wrote for the majority that Trump's argument that he never had to turn over any documents to Congress did not hold.

"The standards proposed by the President and the Solicitor General — if applied outside the context of privileged information — would risk seriously impeding Congress in carrying out its responsibilities," Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.

Although Trump had hoped that the court would block any access to his financial records, both cases were returned to lower courts.

Vance, along with congressional Democrats, called the decisions a victory.

"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," Vance said in a statement.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also celebrated the decisions.

"A careful reading of the Supreme Court rulings related to the President's financial records is not good news for President Trump," Pelosi tweeted. "The Court has reaffirmed the Congress's authority to conduct oversight on behalf of the people, as it asks for further information from the Congress."

McEnany isn't the only Republican claiming Trump actually won the cases. Republican members of Congress, such as Rep. Jodey Arrington of Texas and Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, said the decisions were a loss for Democrats.

Trump himself reacted to the decisions with complaints.

Trump tweeted that he is the victim of a "political prosecution" and that it's "not fair" to him.

"Courts in the past have given 'broad deference.' BUT NOT ME!" he wrote.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Sen. Lindsey Graham

The Supreme Court today rejected an attempt by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to evade testifying before the Fulton County special grand jury investigating former president Donald Trump's efforts to reverse his election defeat in Georgia. The brief order handed down by court included no dissenting views.

Keep reading...Show less

Frank Luntz

There was a saying in Hollywood when I worked out there in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s: To make a motion picture, first you need the written word. It was true. None of the moving images you’ve seen in a movie theater on your television would have been possible unless some writer had sat down in a room, usually alone, and written the screenplay or teleplay that told the story and described the action that would eventually fill screens for you to marvel at.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ }}