US president Donald Trump petitioned the Supreme Court on Nov. 14 to hear a case about New York state’s request to see his financials and taxes, which he wants blocked. If the court agrees to review the issue, the justices will have some precedents to reference.
This is not the first time a president’s records or testimony have been subpoenaed when he’s in office. In United States v. Nixon in 1974, Richard Nixon’s recordings were sought in a federal criminal investigation of his aides. In Clinton v. Jones in 1997, Bill Clinton was subpoenaed for a federal civil suit. In both of those cases, the high court ruled that presidents were not immune to these requests, prompting Nixon to quit the presidency and forcing Clinton to face suit.
But Trump’s latest case is a little different and he’s making much of the distinctions. The subpoena arises from a state criminal investigation by New York county prosecutor Cyrus Vance, not a federal court, and the records have been requested from a third party—his accounting firm, Mazars USA—in relation to an investigation of alleged hush money payments made by former Trump fixer, Michael Cohen, to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal in the run-up to the 2016 elections.
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