Roberts delays delivering Trump’s tax returns to House panel

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday suspended the submission of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns to a congressional committee.

Roberts’ order gives the Supreme Court time to weigh the legal issues in Trump’s emergency appeal to the High Court, filed on Monday.

Without court intervention, the tax returns could have been provided as early as Thursday by the Treasury Department to the Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee.

Roberts gave the committee until November 10 to respond. The chief justice handles emergency calls from the nation’s capital, where Trump’s tax fight has continued since 2019.

Lower courts ruled the committee had broad power to obtain tax returns and rejected Trump’s claims that it was overstepping.

If Trump can persuade the nation’s highest court to intervene in the case, he could potentially delay a final decision until the start of the next Congress in January. If Republicans regain control of the House in the fall election, they could drop the request for documents.

The temporary delay imposed by Roberts is the third such order issued by judges in recent days in cases related to Trump.

The court is separately weighing Sen. Lindsey Graham’s emergency appeal to avoid having to testify before a Georgia grand jury investigating potential unlawful interference by Trump and his allies in the state‘s 2020 election.

The court is also hearing an emergency appeal from Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward to stop the release of phone records to the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection. at the United States Capitol.

The House Ways and Means panel and its chair, Democrat Richard Neal of Massachusetts, first requested Trump’s 2019 tax returns as part of an investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s audit program and compliance with tax laws by the former president. A federal law states that the Internal Revenue Service “provides” any taxpayer’s returns to a handful of high-level lawmakers.

The Justice Department under the Trump administration had defended a decision by then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to withhold congressional tax returns. Mnuchin argued he could withhold the documents because he concluded they were wanted by Democrats for partisan reasons. A trial ensued.

After President Joe Biden took office, the committee renewed the request, requesting Trump’s tax returns and additional information from 2015 to 2020. The White House found the request to be valid and that the Treasury Department had no choice but to comply. Trump then tried to stop the transfer in court.

Then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. obtained copies of Trump’s personal and business tax records as part of a criminal investigation. That case also went to the Supreme Court, which rejected Trump’s argument that he had broad immunity as president.

Trump had recently sought the intervention of judges in a legal dispute stemming from the search of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in August. The court dismissed this appeal.

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