Donald Trump could finally be forced to release his tax returns after a dramatic Supreme Court ruling against him.
The United States’ highest court is today issuing the final rulings of its current term, which began last October.
They included three key decisions on whether legal bids to force the President to hand over key financial documents could be enforced.
The court ruled by a 7-2 vote that the President is not immune from being forced to hand such documents over to a grand jury as part of a criminal investigation.
But the court sidestepped a major ruling on whether three House committees could also obtain Trump financial documents under subpoena as part of a lawsuit, in what is a short-term win for Trump.
Team Trump will now be able to challenge two such subpoenas in lower courts.
As news of the ruling broke, Joe Biden, his rival in the 2020 election, reposed a video in which he urged the President to "release your tax returns or shut up."
In a tweet following the ruling, a clearly furious President Trump said: "The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue. This is all a political prosecution.
"I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!"
He added: "Courts in the past have given “broad deference”. BUT NOT ME!"
By "broad deference", the President was referring to the tendency of the courts to lean in favour a sitting executive branch.
He went on: "We have a totally corrupt previous Administration, including a President and Vice President who spied on my campaign, AND GOT CAIGHT (sic) ...and nothing happens to them. This crime was taking place even before my election, everyone knows it, and yet all are frozen stiff with fear.
"Won all against the Federal Government and the Democrats send everything to politically corrupt New York, which is falling apart with everyone leaving, to give it a second, third and fourth try.
"Now the Supreme Court gives a delay ruling that they would never have given for another President.
"This is about PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT. We catch the other side SPYING on my campaign, the biggest political crime and scandal in U.S. history, and NOTHING HAPPENS.
"But despite this, I have done more than any President in history in first 3 1/2 years!"
Unlike other recent presidents, Trump has refused to release his tax returns and other documents that could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.
Two of the cases involve subpoenas issued by House of Representatives committees seeking Trump's financial records from his longtime accounting firm Mazars LLP and two banks, Deutsche Bank and Capital One.
The third involves subpoenas issued to Mazars for financial records including nearly a decade of Trump's tax returns to be turned over to a grand jury in New York City as part of a criminal investigation by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.
A spokesperson for Deutsche Bank said: "Deutsche Bank has demonstrated full respect for the US legal process and remained neutral throughout these proceedings.
"We will of course abide by a final decision by the courts.”
The investigation launched by Vance's office in 2018 into Trump and the Trump Organization was spurred by disclosures of ‘hush money’ payments to two women who said they had past sexual relationships with him, porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
Trump and his aides have denied the relationships.
In the litigation over the House subpoenas, Trump argued that Congress lacked a valid purpose for seeking his records and that disclosure of the material would compromise his and his family's privacy and distract him from his duties.
In the New York case, Trump's lawyers argued that under the Constitution he is immune from any criminal proceeding while serving as president.
They also cited Justice Department guidance that a sitting president cannot be indicted or prosecuted.
In a lower court hearing, Trump's lawyers went so far as to argue that law enforcement officials would not have the power to investigate Trump even if he shot someone on New York's Fifth Avenue.
The House Oversight Committee in April 2019 issued a subpoena to Mazars seeking eight years of accounting and other financial information in response to the congressional testimony of Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer.
Cohen said Trump had inflated and deflated certain assets on financial statements between 2011 and 2013 in part to reduce his real estate taxes.
The House Financial Services Committee has been examining possible money laundering in U.S. property deals involving Trump.
In a separate investigation, the House Intelligence Committee is investigating whether Trump's dealings left him vulnerable to the influence of foreign individuals or governments.