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On Tuesday, the Supreme Court appeared likely to reject President Donald Trump’s broad claim that he is immune to criminal investigation during his presidency, reportsThe Associated Press.

The Supreme Court, however, remained ambiguous about exactly how to handle subpoenas from Congress and the Manhattan district attorney for the president’s tax and financial records.

The justices were concerned about the congressional subpoenas potentially giving way to harassment of future presidents, if a ruling validated such subpoenas.

Justice Samuel Alito said to Douglas Letter, lawyer for the House of Representatives:

In your view, there is really no protection against the use of congressional subpoenas for the purpose of preventing the harassment of a president.

Justice Stephen Breyer voiced concern about a “future Sen. McCarthy,” referring to the Wisconsin senator in the 1950s who accused many of being communists without proper evidence.

However, the justices also rejected the broad claim made by Trump’s personal attorney about the president’s immunity to criminal claims while in office.

  • “President Trump is the first one to refuse to do that,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, noting that Trump refused to make his tax returns public.
  • Precedents were not in Trump’s favor. In 1974, the justices unanimously required President Richard Nixon to turn over the Watergate tapes. In 1997, an unanimous Supreme Court allowed a sexual harassment lawsuit to proceed against then incumbent President Bill Clinton.
  • The two justices appointed by Trump, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, showed more interest in balancing the competing interests of the House and the presidency, and did not lean towards Trump in the arguments.

Kavanaugh asked:

And the question then boils down to, how can we both protect the House’s interest in obtaining information it needs to legislate but also protect the presidency?

No apparent consensus was reached about whether the subpoenas for Trump’s bank records are valid and should be enforced.

  • Before the end of the week, the justices will take a preliminary vote by phone and decisions will be expected by early summer.
  • The decision of the court could have a significant impact on the November presidential election results, especially if the court ruling leads to the president releasing personal financial records before Election Day.

See the full report here.