Washington, Nov 22 (EFE).- The US Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the motion filed by former President Donald Trump to keep his tax returns secret and not to be required to turn them over to a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives committee.
The high court said in a brief ruling, and with no further comment, that the Republican former president’s motion had been denied.
Chief Justice John Roberts on Nov. 1 had temporarily blocked the House Ways and Means Committee’s demand that Trump turn over six years of his tax returns.
Roberts said at the time that the case would remain on hold until the high court could review Trump’s Oct. 31 request and on that day he also asked the House committee to respond to Trump’s filing.
The committee responded on Nov. 10, saying that a ruling in favor of Trump would be prejudicial to Congress and would prevent it from conducting its ongoing investigations of the ex-president.
The court’s emergency docket decision came after in October it issued a ruling against Trump in another emergency case regarding documents seized by US authorities last summer at his Mar-a-Lago club and residence.
Trump, who was defeated for reelection in November 2020, had asked the high court to allow a special master, that is an independent arbiter, to review about 100 classified documents to determine whether or not he would be required to return them to US custody.
Trump’s battle over his taxes dates back to 2019, when the Ways and Means Committee issued a legal citation requiring him to give them access to that information within the framework of its probe of his possible tax violations.
The committee had based its request on a 1924 law permitting the chairmen of certain congressional committees to get access to any taxpayer’s – including a former president’s – tax returns.
Trump was the first US president since Gerald Ford not to publicly release his tax return each year, a tradition that his predecessors considered to be part of their duty to observe transparency and provide to the US public an accounting of their financial affairs prior to and while in office.
Meanwhile, Trump on Tuesday asked a federal court in Florida to unseal the search warrant affidavit with which the FBI justified the search it carried out last August at Mar-a-Lago and during which it seized classified material that the president evidently had removed from the White House upon leaving office in January 2021.
The ex-president’s legal team filed the motion with Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon shortly before a federal appeals court heard his argument to dismiss the FBI case demanding access to items that federal agents seized at Mar-a-Lago.
A redacted version of the affidavit was released in late August but the Department of Justice has taken the stance that releasing any more information in the matter, including the original unredacted document, could jeopardize their ongoing criminal investigation of the ex-president, as well as the safety of witnesses.
“If disclosed, the affidavit would serve as a roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation, providing specific details about its direction and likely course, in a manner that is highly likely to compromise future investigative steps,” prosecutors said in August.
Trump’s attorneys claimed that they want the original unredacted document released to determine whether the granting of the affidavit and the search may have violated the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution, which protects the public against “unreasonable searches and seizures” by government law enforcement authorities.
Last Friday, US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the appointment of a special counsel to oversee the investigations of Trump for his potential implication in the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the US Capitol by his supporters as well as the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.
The 76-year-old Trump announced his 2024 presidential campaign last week, and in the Nov. 8 midterm elections Republicans managed to gain a narrow majority in the House, although they were unable to take control of the Senate.