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The Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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Supreme Court says Congress can’t get Donald Trump’s financial records, for now

The 7-2 ruling returns the case to lower courts

The Supreme Court on Thursday kept a hold on President Donald Trump’s financial records that Congress has been seeking for more than a year.

The ruling returns the case to lower courts, with no clear prospect for when the case might ultimately be resolved.

The 7-2 outcome is at least a short-term victory for Trump, who has strenuously sought to keep his financial records private.

The decision came after the court upheld a prosecutor’s demand for Trump’s tax returns as part of a criminal investigation that includes hush-money payments to women who claim they had affairs with Trump.

The court ruled 7-2 in a case in which it heard arguments by telephone in May because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The records are held by Trump’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, which has said it would comply with a court order.

It probably will be at least several weeks before the court issues a formal judgment that would trigger the turnover of the records.

The court rejected arguments by Trump’s lawyers and the Justice Department that the president is immune from investigation while he holds office or that a prosecutor must show a greater need than normal to obtain the records.

Trump’s two high court appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, joined the majority.

The case was argued by telephone in May because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The fight over the congressional subpoenas has significant implications regarding a president’s power to refuse a formal request from Congress. In a separate fight at the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., over a congressional demand for the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn, the administration is making broad arguments that the president’s close advisers are “absolutely immune” from having to appear.

In two earlier cases over presidential power, the Supreme Court acted unanimously in requiring President Richard Nixon to turn over White House tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor and in allowing a sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton to go forward.

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Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

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